Originally published: March 2015
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Set in: Sub-Roman Britain
Page count: 352
Reading dates: 16-23 January 2018
The novel is set after the reign of King Arthur where Britons live alongside Saxons. The story centres around Axl and Beatrice, an elderly Briton married couple who decide to visit their son in a nearby village, but strangely they can’t remember why he’s gone there in the first place. Everyone’s memory seems to be effected and we later learn a dragon called Querig is causing the forgetfulness with its breath. On their journey, the couple meet Wistan, a visiting Saxon warrior, who rescues a boy called Edwin who was kidnapped by Ogres. They travel together to a monastery to seek advice and on route meet Sir Gawain who reveals it is his duty to slay the dragon.
This fantasy novel is beautifully written – I loved the language and the fairy tale nature of the book. But for me it didn’t hit the mark. I wanted to love it but I just found it a little slow going and was glad to finish it. But I love the fact the Axl addresses Beatrice as “Princess” all the way through. How romantic!
This is my first book by Ishiguro – others by him include Never Let me Go and Remains of the Day. The Buried Giant took ten years to write. Speaking at the Cheltenham Book Festival in 2014, he said his wife, Lorna MacDougall, had rejected an early draft of the book. It was six years before Ishiguro returned to The Buried Giant, and, following his wife’s advice, he proceeded to “start from scratch and rebuild it from the beginning”.