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 Post subject: "The Buried Giant" - Kazuo Ishiguro
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:55 am 
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Location: Wisconsin
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I received so many books for my birthday and then Christmas that I had no idea where to start.
It was going to be "Path to Rome" by Belloc, but I want those illustrations before I start that book.

I read Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day" and enjoyed it very much so I asked for "The Buried Giant".

Still torn as to what to read I just read the first page of a few books. It didn't take more than the first paragraph of "The Buried Giant" for that contest to be concluded.
I just love the guy's prose:

Quote:
You would have searched a long time for the sort of winding lane or tranquil meadow for which England later became celebrated. There were instead miles of desolate, uncultivated land; here and there rough-hewn paths over craggy hills or bleak moorland. Most of the roads left by the Romans would by then have become broken or overgrown, often fading into wilderness. Icy fogs hung over rivers and marshes, serving all too well the ogres that were then still native to this land. The people who lived nearby—one wonders what desperation led them to settle in such gloomy spots— might well have feared these creatures, whose panting breaths could be heard long before their deformed figures emerged from the mist. But such monsters were not cause for astonishment. People then would have regarded them as everyday hazards, and in those days there was so much else to worry about. How to get food out of the hard ground; how not to run out of firewood; how to stop the sickness that could kill a dozen pigs in a single day and produce green rashes on the cheeks of children.

In any case, ogres were not so bad provided one did not provoke them. One had to accept that every so often, perhaps following some obscure dispute in their ranks, a creature would come blundering into a village in a terrible rage, and despite shouts and brandishings of weapons, rampage about injuring anyone slow to move out of its path. Or that every so often, an ogre might carry off a child into the mist. The people of the day had to be philosophical about such outrages.

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Buried Giant" - Kazuo Ishiguro
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2022 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:13 am
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Location: Wisconsin
Religion: Roman Catholic
So far it's very good. It's set in a time when the Britons and Saxons are living near each other. It follows a married couple (Axl and Beatrice). They are elderly and, because of being elderly, are on the outskirts of their community. The community consists of a bunch of people who have burrowed their community into the side of a hill. Axl and Beatrice have an "apartment" towards the exterior of this hill. They also were disallowed to have any candles in their apartment. So at night it's very dark for them.

As the post above makes clear there are ogres in the area. There is also a mist that comes and goes quite regularly. Axl and Beatrice (as well as the rest of the community) appear to be unable to hold on to any memory from their past. Not the immediate or quotidian past... but important things about their lives. Do they have children? When did they meet? The memories come and go (much like the mist) as if memories of a dream.

Axl and Beatrice eventually go on a journey to find their son whom they believe lives in the area... but in a different community, separated by a lengthy walk.

One very touching thing about the book (so far) is the love between Axl and Beatrice. They are elderly and seem very concerned about each other's welfare. The talk to each other in a way that shows their love... but not in a overly sugary way.

Not too far into it yet...

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Buried Giant" - Kazuo Ishiguro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:13 am
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Location: Wisconsin
Religion: Roman Catholic
This book is set in the Arthurian context.
Sir Gawain is in the book as an elderly knight who, with his horse Horace, wanders the countryside in hopes of finding a she-dragon named Querig in hopes of slaying her. This is a mission King Arthur, prior to dying, gave to Gawain many years ago. His character isn't so much comic relief but in the narrative there is a comedic element of his pursuit of this task - very few taking it serious than this old man, with his old bent-back horse, can actually accomplish the task.

Another character name Wistan is introduced. He is a Saxon warrior who is quiet friendly to all who meet him. He is in these Briton lands on a mission from his King. That mission to slay the dragon Querig for the Saxons.

Wistan is journeying with the elderly couple mentioned above... along with a Saxon boy named Edwin who was bitten by some creature of the night (some believe it to be an ogre). The Saxon village he's in, being a pagan community, believe that the boy will turn into an ogre himself. A wise elder from that village, not taken with these tales, asks the elderly couple (and Wistan) to take the boy with them.

The elderly couple (Axl and Beatrice) is trying to make their way to a monastery where a wise monk (Jonus) will help identify and cure a pain Beatrice has. While on their journey they come across Gawain who is taken aback that a Saxon (Wistan) dare to slay the dragon that Gawain was assigned by King Arthur.


Just a brief synopsis.

The story moves quickly. It's a definite change of pace from Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day"

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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