The Buried Giant: A Novel by Kazuo IshiguroThe Buried Giant: A Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant: A Novel

byKazuo Ishiguro

Hardcover | March 3, 2015

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The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize­–winning The Remains of the Day
 
The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant
begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards—some strange and other-worldly—but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

KAZUO ISHIGURO was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of 5. He is the author of 6 novels: A Pale View of Hills (1982, Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize), An Artist of the Floating World (1986, Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Premio Scanno, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Remains of the Day (1989, win...
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Title:The Buried Giant: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.53 × 6.34 × 1.22 inPublished:March 3, 2015Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345809408

ISBN - 13:9780345809407

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book Wasn't my Favorite, but wasn't terrible. Alright story, but the writing wasnt the best #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Picked up a copy at Value Village for $5. Having read it I would say that this novel is worth the full cover price. a welcome addition to my library
Date published: 2017-02-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Perplexed While beautifully written, I did not connect with the story and felt a sad emptiness at the end. A missed potential
Date published: 2015-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Buried Giant Excellent, beautifully written. It takes you into another world from the first words and holds you ther spellbound until the end. I'll never look at the Arthurian legends in the same way aain
Date published: 2015-08-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Plodding and repetitive dialogue Loved "Never Let Me Go", so this is a major disappointment. Read two-thirds so far and even if it improves, this is too much. Maybe the basic idea is good, but the dialogue, and there is a lot of it, is plodding, and annoyingly repetitive.
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Character flaw Mist and dragons... Honour and valour.. Knights and images...Timeless love... but not a great read or a sense of time well spent.
Date published: 2015-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Meditation on Knowledge Really enjoyed The Buried Giant. It seems that most interpret the 'Buried Giant' to be the history that has been forgotten, but I prefer to think of it as 'The Truth' generally, as everyone is more or less deceitful to everyone else continually. If you don't really know what is going on, what difference would remembering what you think of 'history' be? I really enjoyed the devotion between Axl and Beatrice.
Date published: 2015-04-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Extraordinary! Weird, pale shade of Murakami. Oh, I have to write a minimum of 100 characters. Time Magazine's review made me read it.
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bland and boring. I was very disappointed in this book. I lost interest quickly, but read on in hopes that it would improve. Although I made it halfway, I decided not to waste my time any further.
Date published: 2015-04-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Literary Giant Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 literary masterpiece Never Let Me Go is my favourite book of all-time. It pains me so, then, to rate "The Buried Giant" much lower than I thought possible. Believe me when I say I am still torn over how to review this properly, but I've slept on it and decided to go with what has nagged at me while reading it. If "The Buried Giant" was to be measured on the strength of its latter half, it would have been a different discussion. Honestly, I found it slow-going for a good chunk of the narrative. It's not flashy in any way which works well as intuition will tell you, but dreariness sometimes sets in. It was in wanting to know where the story would lead to that held my interest. Don't get me wrong, Ishiguro's writing is still in top form - words gliding on in beautifully structured sentences with much provocativeness to its emotional and logical weight. Yet, this fantastical fable feels jarring from what I've conditioned myself to think of Ishiguro's works based on "Never Let Me Go" with its science fiction slant. Yes, it is the one book I've read of his but its hold on me is forever strong (perhaps I too will find myself thinking it a discordant departure when I read Ishiguro's earlier novels). The point is, I found little illuminating parables and while it all somewhat came together in the end, it was in the tepid repetition of Axl and Beatrice that was lost on me. At the same time, this constant alliteration speaks much to the story's theme of memories, old and new, and leaves much of an echo to the fragments that have been buried and lost, waiting to be relived once more in a cycle of life and death. I see "The Buried Giant" to be Ishiguro's version of David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Besides the cross-cultural author-novel link, both play heavily on an imaginative fabled setting with a historical context to give life to its characters. In my review of Mitchell's 2010 novel, I mention the atmospheric bubble that I find myself still encapsulated in even after the end of his books. This applies to Ishiguro, especially with the unresolved but so perfect conclusions he crafts for each of his novels, endings that reverberates on beyond the pages. That last paragraph in "Never Let Me Go" left me in a teary shamble, and the ending of "The Buried Giant" had me pondering through the night. That is sometimes all you can ask for in a read. "The Buried Giant" does that well enough, but not to the extent to what I had hoped for from Ishiguro. This fable will definitely affect readers in different ways; for me, it won't be "The Buried Giant" I'll think of down the road.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Buried Giant Very disappointing, I really enjoyed the other books of his that I read. Not much of a story. I kept expecting something important or insightful. But did not find anything.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great literary fairy tale Murakami meets Arthurian Britain. I really enjoyed this book, especially the light-fantasy elements and earnest characters. It begins with a core mystery, why can't the characters remember their pasts, and spirals into mad monks, elusive dragons and noble warriors, yet at the heart of it is an old couple just trying to travel to another village. A great and easy read!
Date published: 2015-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Is it better to remember? Or to forget? Kazuo Ishiguro writes a spellbinding fable of one elderly couple's quest for memory. Their journey takes us deep into a nostalgically rendered Dark Age. A post-Arthurian Britain inhabited by the myths and heroes of those isles, and a few more mythic traditions as well. Yet it is a fragile Britain where everything balances on the knife edge: social mores, the civilizational veneer, lifelong marital love, peace itself. Memory plays a double-role here. It holds everything together, pulling back from the edge, while also supplying that gentle, lethal nudge off the cliff. The memory of an infidelity. Of wartime barbarities. Of a lost son. Would we want to remember these things for the sake of contentment but while remaining aware of the veil that separates us from an authentic past? Shades of Orpheus. In Ishiguro's Edenic world, his characters desire a god-like knowledge of the past but at what personal cost? Will they survive? Or will they tip their world into the abyss?
Date published: 2014-11-25

Bookclub Guide

1. Discuss the idea of the hero’s quest as perpetuated in pop culture. How does Ishiguro’s story conform to the standards of this literary trope? How does it defy it?2. The mist that permeates Axl and Beatrice’s world creates societies wherein historical and personal memory is limited. Discuss the significance of the mist throughout the novel. How does it invite fear? When is it comforting? What allegories can you draw from it? 3. In Chapter Two, Axl and Beatrice have an uncomfortable encounter with a boatman and an old woman. Discuss the significance of this interaction. How did you interpret the woman’s odd—and brutal—behavior? How does this meeting with the boatman echo throughout the novel?4. When Beatrice and Axl visit the Saxon village, Ivor apologizes for the fact that his community set on them like “crazed wolves” (59). At what other points in the novel is human behavior described as animalistic?  5. How does Edwin’s memory of his mother change throughout the novel? Discuss the incident in which he is stuck in the barn in Chapter Four. How does his mother’s voice act as a protective force? How much of his recollection of his mother do you think is accurate, and how much is fabricated?6. Discuss the themes of trust and deception throughout The Buried Giant. How does the mist cause distrust between people? At what points do we see doubt creep into Axl and Beatrice’s relationship? Their relationships with other characters? 7. Discuss Edwin’s relationship with Wistan. Why do you think Wistan took Edwin under his wing? 8. Several characters are described as “warriors” in The Buried Giant. What values or traits are intrinsic to this label? How does honor factor into a warrior’s conduct?9. In Chapter Seven, Gawain leads Beatrice, Axl, and Edwin through an underground tunnel from the monastery that they had believed to be a place of refuge. Why do you think each character see different things—bats, dead infants—during their trek? Do you think the brutality described in this scene is imagined? 10. On page 86, Edwin is described as a “mule.” Discuss the significance of this characterization, and how it echoes throughout the novel. 11. In Chapter Eleven, Beatrice and Axl have a horrifying experience while trying to ford a river. Discuss this scene, and the grotesque descriptions within it. What is the significance of Axl’s interaction with the woman on the boat? Why do you think Beatrice’s memory is so greatly affected during this scene? What does this part of their journey reveal about their relationship?12. Part III of the novel opens with Gawain’s First Reverie. Describe the contents of this section. Why do you think Ishiguro chose to write this section in such an intimate perspective?13. Discuss the duel between Wistan and Gawain in Chapter Fifteen. Do you believe they respect each other, despite their opposing loyalties? How did you interpret Wistan’s emotional state after slaying both Gawain and Querig?14. Axl and Beatrice’s relationship is marked by tenderness and mutual affection throughout the novel. Were you surprised, then, by the revelation of Beatrice’s unfaithfulness? How did you interpret their final interactions in the last chapter of the novel?15. Why do you think Ishiguro chose to have the final chapter of the book come from the perspective of the boatman?

Editorial Reviews

Longlisted for the 2017 International Dublin Literary AwardLonglisted for the 2017 Yasnaya Polyana Literary AwardFinalist for the 2016 World Fantasy Award—Novels Shortlisted for the 2016 British Book Industry Award for Fiction Longlisted for the 2015 Kirkus Prize“It’s highly satisfying to read re-imaginings of myths you’ve encountered from childhood through university. I was completely charmed and lost in the mixed genre world of The Buried Giant.” —Emily Bossé, author of Last Animal Standing on Gentleman’s Farm“[Ishiguro is] perhaps not as prolific as his peers, but always on top of his game. . . . [The Buried Giant] gives us one of his most stirring stories yet. . . . The story takes place about a thousand years ago, but the reflections on ‘lost memories, love, revenge and war’ are all too touchingly familiar.” —Carli Whitwell, HELLO! Canada“It’s striking to find a novel that makes us feel ambivalent about the removal of a dictator, and about the very process of uncovering information about its characters—something all novels do. And where The Buried Giant truly moves Ishiguro into new territory isn’t so much in its fantasy elements—which are downplayed—but in a wider sweep . . . [to] explore the role of shared memories.” —Mike Doherty, Maclean’s“The Buried Giant is remarkably different from anything he’s written before, a ‘western-cum-samurai-cum-fantasy novel,’ as he puts it, that is at once an exploration of memory and the way it deceives, a comment on religion and the way it divides, and a study of how personal and societal resentment is passed down from one generation to the next—a topic with modern-day resonance.” —Mark Medley, The Globe and Mail“The highly inventive novelist has returned with a wondrous tale set in the sixth century. . . . [T]his new novel transcends its genre to ask larger questions that deal with the frailty of humankind, and the strength of emotional bonds that tie us. . . . [T]hrough his strong cast of characters, he offers deep insight.” —Safa Jinje, National Post“This is a sad, complex, haunting novel. . . . [F]rightening and disturbing at many levels. . . . Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the novel is the way it reflects ourselves back at us. . . . I’ve never quite encountered such a well-written fictional account of cognitive bias. . . . This alone makes this a precious book indeed. The spike in anti-migrant and anti-Muslim hate crime in a post-Brexit Britain, not to mention the rise of Donald Trump in the US or the far right in Europe, has been a salutary reminder of the need to always avoid ‘othering’ human beings; this book is full of such compassion for humanity it must surely be a worthy antidote.” —The Guardian “Set just after the time of King Arthur’s reign, The Buried Giant explores myth and legend in an innovative way. Ishiguro succeeds in making readers feel like they are part of this magical era. There are surprises galore in this book and a very sobering ending.” —Newsday“The Buried Giant . . . resonates long after the final pages. . . . This elegantly fantastical tale featuring knights, ogres and fairy-tale castles, is a profound exploration of memory, guilt and trauma.” —The National “I would venture to say that it’s one of [Ishiguro's] most complex and heartbreaking portraits of how memory and trauma are intertwined with forgetfulness. . . . Get the tissues for this one.” —Bustle“It’s a book that people will read in the decades and centuries to come and will, eventually, be recognised for the masterpiece it is.” —Alex Preston, The Observer“I was mesmerized. I have been in some measure spellbound by everything Ishiguro has written, but this new book was like a doorway into a magical world, half strange and half familiar. . . . The magical and the real coexist disconcertingly. The achievement is remarkable.” —Niall Ferguson, The Guardian“Months later I’m still thinking about The Buried Giant: its unsettling set pieces, its looping narrative, its eerie and beautiful images, how remarkably and totally it enchants and discomfits.” —Hanya Yanagihara, The Guardian“No novelist around today beats Ishiguro when it comes to writing about loss; and, almost every time he tackles his signature subject, he does so in a different genre: His breakthrough book, The Remains of the Day, is a ‘straight’ literary novel in diary form; When We Were Orphans is a detective tale and Never Let Me Go is a sci-fi story. Here, Ishiguro serves up a masterful blend of fantasy, and Arthurian romance and postmodern absurdity. In The Buried Giant, an exhausted group of medieval travelers cross a blasted landscape straight out of the plays and novels of Samuel Beckett. They ‘can’t go on,” but they “go on” and so, too, do Ishiguro’s readers, through scenes infused with menace and magical beauty.” —NPR “One book published early this year continues to haunt me: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. A sidelong and compelling engagement with Arthur­ian legend, it hooks itself to myth and yet is completely original, its clean language full of depth, full of hope and sorrow.” —Erica Wagner, author of Ariel’s Gift and Seizure “An astonishing masterpiece.” —Le Monde (France)“[A] modern masterpiece that I am certain people will be reading for decades to come.” —Jamie Byng, The Independent“Ishiguro, adept with his pen, takes up the sword of fantasy. . . . What is most impressive about The Buried Giant is Ishiguro’s ability to use the setting of a familiar genre to create an original world that feels authentic and with relevancy to the contemporary world. . . . [L]ike Ishiguro’s other novels, [The Buried Giant] is a memorable tale that speaks to the complexity within each of us.” —Yung-Hsiang Kao, The Japan News“Kazuo Ishiguro has once again blown critics away with his beautiful, imaginative writing in his new novel, The Buried Giant. We loved it so much we chose it as our March First Editions Club pick!” —Parnassus Book Store, Tennessee“It’s a sad, elegiac story . . . A dreamy journey . . . Easy to read but difficult to forget.” —Lydia Millet, Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Ishiguro works this fantastical material with the tools of a master realist. . . . [He] makes us feel its sheer grotesque monstrosity with a force and freshness that have been leached away by legions of computer-generated orcs. . . . He keeps a straight face, but Ishiguro has fun with the swords and sorcery: he’s a lifelong fan of samurai manga and westerns, and some of the action has the feel of a classic showdown scored by Ennio Morricone.” —Lev Grossman, TIME “If forced at knife-point to choose my favourite Ishiguro novel, I’d opt for The Buried Giant.” —David Mitchell“Kazuo Ishiguro is a remarkable novelist, both for the quality of his work—because his novels share a careful, precise approach to language and to character—and because he does not ever write the same novel, or even the same type of novel, twice. . . . Fantasy and historical fiction and myth here run together with the Matter of Britain, in a novel that’s easy to admire, to respect and to enjoy. . . . The Buried Giant does what important books do: It remains in the mind long after it has been read, refusing to leave, forcing one to turn it over and over. On a second reading, and on a third, its characters and events and motives are easier to understand, but even so, it guards its secrets and its world close. Ishiguro is not afraid to tackle huge, personal themes, nor to use myths, history and the fantastic as the tools to do it. The Buried Giant is an exceptional novel.” —Neil Gaiman, The New York Times Book Review “A lyrical, allusive (and elusive) voyage into the mists of British folklore by renowned novelist Ishiguro. . . . Lovely: a fairly tale for grown-ups, both partaking in and departing from a rich literary tradition.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)