The Buried Giant immediately draws the reader into Ishiguro’s dreamlike world set within post-Roman Britain, where ogres and other creatures are common terrors for those who dwell there. The novel follows the narrative of an elderly couple, focusing on the strength of their marital bond throughout as they journey through surreal surroundings.
Ishiguro’s writing style is certainly unlike any I’ve read before. Clearly he is quite drawn to the chivalrous, charming nature of knights, accentuating this fairy tale style by contrasting it directly with the somewhat brutish nature of men. A strict level of politeness is likewise maintained within all interactions between the varied characters, respect clearly being a powerful part of Ishiguro’s post Roman, sword-wielding world. The simplest movements are considered as though coordinated moves in an elaborate dance, with great detail given to swordsmanship and stature. In this way Ishiguro created not just characters but truly heroic figures, an appropriate part for his fairy tale atmosphere.
However, as any good piece of literature should be, this work is certainly layered far beyond such an innocent portrayal. Indeed, beneath the polite interactions and rigid honour lies a much more disturbing reality. Ishiguro considers the fragile nature of human relations, exploring the frightening affects that those in power can have upon the masses. However, as the veil is lifted and clarity restored, a terrifying truth is revealed. In the vein of genesis, as the apple is bitten and clarity restored, Ishiguro leaves the reader with one important message: Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.
Length: 362 (Faber and Faber)
Overall Rating: 5 stars
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