I read The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and really enjoyed it, and I had seen lots of posters advertising the paperback release of The Buried Giant so I decided to give it a try.
Ostensibly, it’s about an elderly couple who head out on a journey to visit their son in a neighbouring village. But they encounter various dangers along the journey.
A long walk for a woman of your years to make to a son’s village, mistress. Wouldn’t you rather be living there with him where he can see to your comforts each day, instead of having you walk like this, unsheltered from the road’s dangers?
Set in England sometime after King Arthur (so sometime around C6th), the couple must navigate through remnants of the Saxon/Briton conflict. They’re also pre-occupied with a mist’ that seems to cloud their memories.
…fragments began to piece themselves together in his mind, of the missing Marta, of the danger, of how not long ago everyone had been searching for her. But already these recollections were growing confused…
Also there’s ogres and dragons.
For much of this book I found myself thinking that I preferred the internal monologue style of The Remains of the Day. The Buried Giant starts as if it’s the story being retold.
In one such area on the edge of a vast bog, in the shadow of some jagged hills, lived an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice.
But this device disappears after the first few chapters and it becomes a more standard third person perspective, it felt a bit strange that the story teller never reappeared. But this was a surprisingly emotional tale in the end, a story about growing old, and a story about growing old together.
I finished the book just before bed, big mistake as I was far too upset to sleep afterwards. I recommend.