Thought provoking story of memory, love and war

The Buried Giant: A novel - Kazuo Ishiguro

This is a very unique, beautifully crafted book. When I first started reading the book, I thought I was going to end up as other reviewers who felt it was plodding and boring but it actually didn’t take me long to become entranced.  It’s a simple story, a story of an elderly husband and wife, Axl and Beatrice, who are not being treated well by their village and decide to journey to find their son.  They only vaguely remember their son and are puzzled as to why they don’t live in the same village.  Their loss of memory could be partly due to age; however, there’s a mist that is robbing all of the people, young and old, of their memories.  Axl and Beatrice set out on their journey and join up with Wistan, a Saxon warrior and an orphan boy Edwin.  This story takes place shortly after King Arthur’s time.  The Saxons and the Britons had been at war but there was a truce now and they live side by side in relative peace.  There is also a Knight, Sir Gawain, who is the nephew of King Arthur.  And of course a book during that time period wouldn’t be complete without a magical dragon and plenty of ogres.


The book is written in a very dreamlike manner and while parts could have been written in an exciting way in order to thrill the reader, those parts are also written in a fog, as though the whole story is affected by the memory-stealing mist. But the author gets his message across loud and clear.  We may have things that we would rather forget but we have a duty to remember.  What are we without our memories?  Our past memories tell us what our lives have been and who we are.


I’ve read that the end of the book is open to interpretation. But I thought the ending was very clear and could only be interpreted in one way and it was truly an exquisite ending.  This is a book that will stay in your mind long after the last page and I believe it to be a classic that will be debated in classrooms in years to come.