Review: The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An unusual and meandering tale discovering the truths buried in a long marriage and the history of a nation. The story is about an old couple Axl and Beatrice who live in the times in Britain after King Arthur’s death in the dark ages. The land is covered in a mist that makes people forget even short term memories – a metaphor for forgetting difficult truths (the buried giants).

Axl and Beatrice believe they have forgotten something important and try as the might, the memory remains elusive. They notice the strange forgetful behaviour of their fellow villagers and know something isn’t right. They believe they might have a son and so they go on a journey by foot to visit him in a village far away. On this journey they are joined by a Saxon boy who would one day be a formidable warrior, a Saxon warrior who sees the boy’s potential and makes him his protégé, and one of King Arthur’s old nights Sir Gawain. Gawain is tasked with slaying a dragon that breathes the mists that make the people forget.

All is not as it seems in this book. The dragon’s breath mist serves to protect the nation and its people from divisive hatreds between communities and on an individual level, the problems in the marriage of Axl and Beatrice that they have forgotten. The dragon and its mist created by Merlin has kept the peace many years. Along Axl and Beatrice’s journey, the book reveals its secrets. The twists and turns are so gentle that you don’t even realise they have happened as you read along and wonder where the book is leading you to. The last chapter reveals all.
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