A good book is like an old friend, as in the case of ‘The Buried Giant’ where a Narrator offers a personality that accompanies the reader through the lives of the characters within. This book reads like an opera played in the Acropolis.
The Narrator in this story is our mediator and guide, the voice of connection in the reader’s mind. This voice grounds us through a journey of old Briton in the time of King Arthur, entwined with Knights and Dragon, trolls, monks and witches to a stunning fait accompli.
The details and descriptions that Kazuo Ishiguro uses in his book, ‘The Buried Giant’ create images that are colourful and imaginative, magical and shocking. The life of Beatice and Axl, the elderly couple who journey us through the land of ancient Briton in the time of King Arthur, describe the scenery, adventure and experiences in full colour and sensation.
Our Narrator takes us through the twisted journey of how Axl’s history collides with that of a noble Knight of King Arthur (ever present in complete armor), a boy bitten by a dragon, and a variety of fantastical creatures introduced to us in ways that are new and imaginative for the genre of this book. The true nature of the sweet and elderly Beatrice becomes clearer just as the purpose of a peculiar mist that covers the land becomes foggier. Axl is strong, fearless and true, with an underlying story both dark and mysterious. We feel the poverty and simplicity of villagers, animalistic nature of gangs and the vicious revenge of a young woman during gruesome clashes between the Saxons and Britons.
Bigotry is tossed back and forth like a baseball as the truth about what and who our antagonists and protagonists really are is revealed. We follow the heart and shredded soul of an old, Arthurian knight whose intent is both obvious and shrouded. Then, in a fantastic twist the outcome of the old Knight’s fate is entwined with the salvation and demise of the land, and the hopes and dreams of both Beatrice and Axl.
This story is woven together in a tapestry of fantasy, bloody war and volatile emotions. We find ourselves questioning the truth of love, trust, intrigue, suspicion and betrayal, wrapped within religion, rituals and magic. The ending was happy, sobering and surprising, offering up a reality check that felt like a welcoming embrace for this Reader. I offer Kazuo Ishiguro Two Thumbs Up for his brilliant work in ‘The Buried Giant,’ with a nod to Robert Browning’s quote, “Good to forgive, best to forget.”
Yours in Review,
Christianne L. Klaudt.