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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, March 2015 - Kazuo Ishiguro is probably my favorite living author, so I was thrilled to discover he was publishing a new novel after nearly 10 years. In high school, The Remains of the Day solidified my love of modern literary fiction, and years later, Never Let Me Go won me over as a speculative fiction fan. At first, I was taken aback by how starkly different The Buried Giant is to his previous novels. It's a fantasy novel set in medieval England, full of magic, knights, and mythical creatures. But within, you'll find all the wonderfully familiar signs of a classic Ishiguro tale: mesmerizing prose, deeply sympathetic characters, and the universal themes of love, loss, and remembrance. I absolutely loved this book, and I know – like his others – I will return to it again and again over the years. —Sam, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

An extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.

"You've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it's time now to think on it anew. There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay..."

The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.

©2015 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2014 Random House Audio

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The beauty of the reveal

What made the experience of listening to The Buried Giant the most enjoyable?

Ishiguro's "The Buried Giant" is similar in style to his other novels. This is not to say that is more of the same, but an extremely engaging and interesting novel. The aspect most enjoyable is the process of discovery that is present in the other Ishiguro's novels I have listened to (Never Let Me Go, The Remains of the Day). The reveal is slow and paced, but appropriately so. The language is delicious and engaging. The story is many things all at once, which makes it all the more interesting. For the first third of the novel it was a bit difficult to figure out what the story actually was, but having read other works by this author I was prepared to be patient. Doing so is well worth the effort as the interplay of the different characters results in a weave of such intricacy that it's hard to stop listening.

What other book might you compare The Buried Giant to and why?

Other works by Ishiguro are similar. In particular the slow, steady reveal of plot seems to be a hallmark of this author. The weaving together of a very tight story makes it similar to other great stories.

Which scene was your favorite?

No one particular scene, but one device that I particularly appreciated about this story is the use of reminisces to fill in what has happened up to this point of the story. It seems that every character in the story experiences such reminisces at some point of the story and they are well used to skip ahead in time, but keep the listeners informed and engaged.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Clearly endings are something this author does well. The ending is tender, heartfelt, and moving. It is the perfect bookend to the story that both finalizes the reveal, but allow for the reader's imagination to come into play in the concluding of the story.

Any additional comments?

There are few authors who I read without any knowledge of what the story is about. I purposely avoided reading other reviews of this story since storytelling is what Ishiguro does so well. Listen to this book at the pace it was intended; give it the attention it deserves. You won't be disappointed.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

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mysterious, hypnotic, gorgeous book and read.

Where does The Buried Giant rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have never had a prose style and a reading style be so wonderfully matched...
Ishiguro's interweaving of past and present, and points of view are perfectly articulated by Horovitch's use of accent and emphasis -- but without trying to be a different person each time.
This is the kind of book I would usually read in print. But due to eye surgery I downloaded this book -- and I was mesmerized, comforted and coaxed on like a good story told by your favorite uncle at Christmas...
but with the gentle and precise prose of Ishiguro.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 06-02-15

Quest This

The book is called: "The Buried Giant" and has a chalice on it. So you know you are getting an old English quest book. And sure enough, there is a knight, an ogre, even a dragon, a warrior, and a young man. The monks may be good and they may be evil. There is even someone who knew King Author.

But there is also a boatman, and an old couple. And a river. And ye goode olde Brittany is covered in fog. Actually, the people have foggy minds. They can't remember, so they are living in harmony.

Is that a good thing? What is it that the old couple can't remember? And, why is an old couple in the quest story to begin with? Is the boatman going to harm them or do them good? What, exactly, is the buried giant? And what is the longed for chalice?

A very different offering, that raises more questions than it answers, enfolded in an entertaining quest. Well Done.

(I listened and read).

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Engrossing fantasy with real depth

Great tale, interesting characters and real drama set in the dark ages where ogres, dragons and Merlin still shape a war torn landscape.
An unlikely backdrop for an analysis of love, will and forgetting.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Moe
  • Oakland, CA, United States
  • 03-10-15

Heartfelt and enchanting.

The narrator was on point. The tale met my expectations as an Ishiguro classic. A world of good old fashioned ogres, dragons, pixies and the like. A world filled with chivalry and hostility. Wonderfully setting off the characters. I feel like was the haunting ending. Very much recommended. A world I will be happy to return to many times.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Only if you're in the mood for a deeper book. Not light reading, definitely good if you are able to appreciate the poetic meaning behind the story line.

Was The Buried Giant worth the listening time?

Yes, a beautiful story that doesn't drag on un-neededly. Almost have to listen a second time to pick up on all of the underlying themes.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fiercely sublime

Would you listen to The Buried Giant again? Why?

Definitely. Partly to revisit the characters and get some of the nuance of the story that I'm sure I missed the first go around - mostly for Horovitch.

What did you like best about this story?

It's constant pace. It's doesn't have to hit you in the face. Axl and Beatrice are on a journey, the subtext of the journey is delivered subtly and on the way. It's not flight butressed by essays, but a nice walk; a full and satisfying walk.

What about David Horovitch’s performance did you like?

He's a master. If you want to learn about yourself if you're the kind of person who'd like audiobooks, start with this; If you don't, you won't. It doesn't get better than this. The character changes are effortless and real. I've started to search for books to try not by author, but by clicking on this narrator.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Every ounce of dialog from Axl. Start to finish.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Superb reading of a superb novel

At times disturbing, even nightmarish, yet also rich in redemptive kindness and acutely-observed human love, The Buried Giant is an allegory for a generation that is dealing with the intensely personal pain of Alzheimers while also struggling with loud, public arguments about ignoring history. From Australians' denial of their genocidal history, to Japan's school curriculum on WW2, to the southern USA's refusal to mark the locations of white lynchings of African Americans: this novel is as timely as it is deeply touching.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Fairy tale + Legend + Romance

I was hooked from the first paragraph. This is one that I am sure to revisit. A masterful piece of work.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 03-19-15

No rave review from me on this one.

I really looked forward to this book by Ishiguro. Though I really can't expect anything to come up to the level of "The Remains of the Day," I really expected it to come close. For me, it wasn't even in the same league. But looking at all the raves, I am definitely in the minority.

It's not that I didn't love it - I didn't even like it. I thought it was boring. I'm not crazy about fantasy as a genre, but gave it a shot because it was Ishiguro. It didn't work work for me. Nothing about it that made me eager to pick up the iPod and listen at every chance. I didn't care about any of it. I thought it was dull.

I still like Ishiguro. A lot, actually. I just didn't like this book or anything about it. My best suggestion is to really read the summary by the publisher and understand what you're getting into. If the fantasy - allegory - myth book is your thing, you may just love this one.

36 of 50 people found this review helpful