The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro *****
Buried No More
I am filled to the brim with awe and admiration for this man. The diversity of his style and imagination leaves me breathless. I hesitate to use the word genius because it is bandied around indiscriminately sometimes and yet I feel that if any contemporary writer comes close to that epithet it would be Ishiguro.
I loved The Unconsoled because it reminded me of Franz Kafka with its unsettling dream narrative. and I’m getting a comparable buzz with this beautifully moving story, both surreal and ethereal within the paradox of its gentleness and sometime ferocity.
Again the situations and landscapes are Kafkaesque. Axl and Beatrice travel through this post Roman dystopian landscape encountering the stuff of fairy tales and Arthurian legend. If Kafka was master of the parable and allegorical fiction then Ishiguro has been an exemplary student of those arts and treads purposefully in Kafka’s wake. For this is so much more than a mere act of story telling.
Guardian reviewer Alex Preston called this book ‘Game of Thrones with a conscience, The Sword in the Stone for the age of the trauma industry’ - a very perceptive description of the book.
It raises fascinating questions about memory and it’s purpose. And it’s one of those fictions that remains in your consciousness long after you finished the act of reading it. It raises questions and asks that you seek the answers from within yourself. It doesn’t attempt to explain itself, it demands commitment from its readers if anything is to be gained from the experience of reading it.
And where does it stand within the body of Ishiguro’s work? For me Never Let Me Go can’t be beaten. That continues to haunt me in a way that this probably won’t. Its as quirky as The Unconsoled and less ‘commercial’ than When We Orphans and The Remains of the Day. But a curious thought has popped into my head. If this were a debut novel from an up and coming writer how would it be received?
Ishiguro is a giant. A giant among novelists and I doubt he will ever be buried!!!