Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Buried Giant

While I have seen the movie Remains of the Day, I had never read a book by Kazuo Ishiguro until I picked up The Buried Giant on audiobook. With no idea of what to expect, I plunged into the post-Arthurian world of an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, who live on the outer perimeter of an underground warren. Their intimate conversations reveal a mental confusion that at first seems age-related, but it turns out their whole village forgets events that happened in the recent past. 

Axl and Beatrice grasp at memories as though through a fog, and faintly remember that they have a son who lives far away. They begin a journey to find him, and are joined by Wistan, a Saxon warrior, and Edwin, a boy rescued from ogres. Wistan is on a quest to slay Querig, the dragon whose breath fills the land with a mist of forgetfulness. When they meet the ancient Sir Gawain, the only remaining knight from King Arthur’s realm, a sense of foreboding seeps into the narrative.

The Buried Giant can be enjoyed for the poetry of its language, for its mythological elements, and for its allegorical presentation of the value and danger of memory. Are forgotten wrongs best left in the past, or should they be remembered and avenged? 

The audiobook is narrated by David Horovitch, a British actor whose sonorous and steady cadence lends a tone of gravitas to the tale.


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