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Publisher's Summary

The story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a story where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II.

©1982 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)1999 Random House Audio

What listeners say about A Pale View of Hills

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narration vs performance

I am only part way through listening to this novel--and I have to say that I find the narrator's performance of the voices of the difference characters extremely distracting to the point of being annoying, and I may have to resort to reading the book. The voice is OK when the narration is in the first person, but the voices she uses for the father and for Sachiko are overdone. I have had this experience to a certain extent in other audio books, in fact by calling the narration a "performance" it implies that the listener wants an audio performance as if it were a play, rather than having someone simply read the words. I like to be able to form my own interpretation of the characters based on the words of the author, and narrations like this one make that very hard to do.

Perhaps audio version of books could be differentiated between having them "read" and having them "performed."

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Moments of shocking possibilities in tedious read

I wanted to love this early novel of our latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I can see that the writing is extraordinary. The various interpretations seem brilliant. Unfortunately, however, I struggled with boredom during long sequences, particularly those having to do with Agata-San. It's possible that the unpleasant voice used by the narrator for this one character was a factor. Otherwise, I thought her performance was excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Delicate prose - intense book

Any additional comments?

This is not the type of book that can generate a juicy recommendation.

The prose in this book is very delicate, never mentioning the tragedie in Nagasaki directly.
The protagonist in this story (who is also the narrator) doesn't relate to her own experience directly, but only as a listener to her family at the time, and by watching a close friends attempt to move to 'America'.
Layer by Layer, it creats an intense picture.
The author (through this story) carefully tells a story about the old Japanese way, which trigered a lot of emotions in me. (as a non Japenese reader) and another emotional stroy about parental choices.

The narrator did a very good job.


6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It's not suitable for an audiobook

I often listen to audiobooks for a little before bed and I actually couldn't quite made sense of this book. Only after I checked out some literature reviews that I realized the meaning and the depth of the story. I think it would be a book I'll find time to read on the paper. Also the performance per se feels somehow awkward.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A somber yet gripping tale

I will read or listen to everything Kazuo Ishiguro has put out. His understanding of the human condition is so uplifting and crushing all at once. Poetry weaved and spanned over such a enjoyable time.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting

Very interesting story. Author seems to be playing with Japanese ghost story genre. Unlike western literature where the story lines are usually linear, this story line is circular.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Rich Tapestry....

Ishiguro delicately weaves a story with present tense narrative and flashbacks, bringing the grief of a suicide alongside the ravages of WWII. A great addition to Japanese literature.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Confusing storyline

Much detail but plot too obscure..confusing ending...I enjoy subtlety but this is overly opaque

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Great narrator but boring plot

I loved the performance / voice of the woman who narrates this, however I found the plot altogether boring compared to Ishiguro’s other works