Our favorite books of the year.
A sometimes quiet, sometimes tense quest novel, The Buried Giant weaves the pastoral with the magical. An elderly couple start a journey to visit the son they haven't seen in years. Anticipating an easy trip, they soon become entangled with a warrior, a knight, and a sleeping dragon, not to mention pixies and slightly sinister boatmen. Not just a fantasy story, Ishiguro's novel has much to say about marriage, trust, memory, and love. With a nod to Charlie Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ishiguro asks whether or not, if possible, we would choose to keep our painful memories. Do they make us who we are? Do they change us into other people? Before they know it, the elderly couple realizes the choice they make about memory will affect their entire world. Sweet, and bittersweet as well, The Buried Giant is an unexpected story from a literary giant. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go
and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.
"You've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it's time now to think on it anew. There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay . . ."
The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.
Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.
"If forced at knife-point to choose my favourite Ishiguro novel, I'd opt for The Buried Giant. It uses the tropes of fantasy to set up a smoke-screen which the book then, by twists and turns, dispels. This reveal gives the book a shadow-plot, and layers of mystery....An ideas-enabler, a metaphor-animator."
David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks
"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....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
"Ishiguro is a brilliant novelist, a born novelist....Inside his work, you feel it, that thrilling thing: a writer doing something actually different, something actually new....[The Buried Giant] creates an entire field of unspoken meaning, illuminating the kind of elusive truths about love, time, death and memory that other novelists have to strain even to brush....That's the magic of true art....When one day we send some unmanned capsule into the nameless depths of space to give and account of ourselves, it's [Ishiguro's] books I would include on our behalf."
Charles Finch, Chicago Tribune
"The weirdest, riskiest and most ambitious thing he's published in his celebrated 33-year career."
Alexandra Alter, The New York Times
"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 magazine
"Ishiguro is a master of the uncanny....Few write about the mysteries of the human experience with such grace as Ishiguro, and his prodigious gifts are evident throughout the novel....The Buried Giant transcends the boundaries of a conventional fantasy novel. At its core, it is a tender story about marriage, memory and forgiveness, the tale of an elderly couple who set off to find a half-remembered son. And the questions that emerge in the course of their journey — as they contend with pixies and Saxon warriors, devious boatmen and duplicitous monks, as they begin to recall a past they might be better off forgetting — cut to the heart of the life's mystery."
Michael David Lukas, San Francisco Chronicle
"A spectacular, rousing departure from anything Ishiguro has ever written, and yet a classic Ishiguro story....The Buried Giant has the clear ring of legend, as graceful, original and humane as anything Ishiguro has written....All the same, I'll wager you won't soon forget this book after turning its last pages. The close, in particular, will haunt."
Marie Arana, The Washington Post
"The prose, as in many of Ishiguro's novels, is lapidary and beguiling, suggestive of secrets to be disclosed....For Ishiguro, our poet laureate of loss, the mercies of forgetfulness hold the greater fascination....The Buried Giant is ultimately a story about long love and making terms with oblivion. It is an eerie hybrid: a children's fable about old age. In Ishiguro's novel, as in life, love conquers all — all, that is, but death."
Nathaniel Rich, The Atlantic
About the Author
Kazuo Ishiguro's seven previous books have won him wide renown and numerous honors. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. Both The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have more than 1,000,000 copies in print across platforms, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films.