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A Pale View of the Hills

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,322 Ratings  ·  826 Reviews
The highly acclaimed debut by the author of The Remains of the Day, this is the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. Retreating into the past, she finds herself reliving one particular hot summer in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war. But then as she rec ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 244 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by Thorndike Press (first published February 1982)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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William1
Jan 31, 2015 William1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, uk
This is a beautiful novel that calls for patient and careful reading. I admire the way it's constructed. The cares and concerns of three pairs of mothers and daughters are refracted off one another. The first two pair live near a resurgent Nagasaki sometime toward the end of the American Occupation of Japan, about 1951-52. Here the pregnant Etsuko, who narrates, lives with her husband Jiro, in a new concrete residential building along the river. From her window, across a stretch of wasteland, Et ...more
Michele
Aug 17, 2008 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while, a book surprises you on the way to its ending. After the first few pages of this book, I figured I knew what to expect - a well written realist novel about a displaced Japanese woman in England who reminisces about her youth while contemplating the choices her children have made. And for most of the book, that impression is borne out. It nicely describes the two countries, how people act and react, and what life has been like for this character throughout her time in both ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 17, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
I have a friend here on Goodreads who reads the books of the authors he fancies chronologically. I admire his tenacity and discipline. Even if I have all the author's works in my bookshelves, I still always pick first his most famous work. My reason is that if I die soon, at least, I've already read the author's masterpiece.

I think I liked Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day (4 stars) and Never Let Me Go (4 stars) that almost all of his other works seem to be mediocre. It's like that I've fallen i
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Barry Pierce
My first Ishiguro. This is such a quaint and quiet novel. Inane to the point of enjoyability. I look forward to more monotony.
Anne
Sep 19, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aubrey
4.5/5
The English are fond of their idea that our race has an instinct for suicide, as if further explanations are unnecessary; for that was all they reported, that she was Japanese and that she had hung herself in her room.
I had forgotten what an Ishiguro novel is like. Of course, it is customary to treat first works as trial runs in the vein of Icarus, so I wasn't expecting another The Remains of the Day or Never Let Me Go. While my star rating for this doesn't match up to the other two, it i
...more
Brinda
Nov 27, 2010 Brinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my third Ishiguro and at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think I'm beginning to detect a pattern. His works so far have been mysteries and thrillers, but not in the traditional who dunnit sense. As a reader, the mystery lies in trying to figure out the true motivation of the narrator, since one is never really certain whether to trust them or not because they appear to make such odd choices. The mystery also lies in figuring out what the "it" is, ie, the nugget, the game-changer, th ...more
Kornela
Dec 13, 2009 Kornela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, if you haven't read Kazuo Ishiguro, go and do it. Right now. One of the best writers working right now, I can't recommend him highly enough. Start with The Remains of the Day, a quiet, haunting novel that packs a punch and will have you thinking about it long after you've finished its pages.
Second, A Pale View of Hills confused me. What the hell happened? Don't get me wrong, Ishiguro is a master storyteller and has an eloquent way with words. This novel was lovely, absorbing, and immensel
...more
Erik
Jun 06, 2012 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detailed-review
Pale View of the Hills is a short, easy read that is spooky in a way that I could never quite put my finger on. Much is suggested, little is told.

It is this trait that is both a positive and a negative for the book. It begins with the suicide of a Japanese woman's eldest daughter, which occured in her current place of residence in England. Much of the novel, however, deals with the woman's recollections of her life in Japan, near Hiroshima Nagasaki, shortly after being devastated by the atomic b
...more
AC
What an utterly tender, moving, lovely book...! Even more astonishing is that Ishiguro was so young when he wrote it... Such emotional depth and confidence as a writer....
Sue
Jun 17, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: Lobstergirl, Ruth
I've been thinking for 24 hours now about what to say about this book. I'm still not sure. Not sure how I feel, not sure exactly what Ishiguro was saying or intending with his characters, what the point of the entire narrative was.

Well my decision is: displacement. The novel introduces us to a Japanese woman who has lost her older daughter to suicide and is being visited by her younger, very independent daughter. She lives in a bucolic setting in England but flashes back throughout the novel to
...more
Teresa
Sep 17, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uma leitura absorvente e uma escrita muito bonita num romance que nos deixa, muito tempo, a pensar no que o autor não nos conta.

A Guerra. A explosão da bomba em Nagasaki; a incapacidade psicológica de sobreviver a tanto horror; os destroços que flagelam os que resistem...
A Mãe. A explosão de uma bomba de desespero no coração de três mães: a que mata o seu bebé; a que negligencia; a que tem de enterrar a filha suicida.
....são os fios soltos que o leitor tem de ligar para encontrar as respostas q
...more
Nikki
I don't trust Kazuo Ishiguro's narrators an inch, so reading this I just settled in and waited for her to reveal herself. I'm not entirely sure what exactly happened in this novel -- I've got multiple interpretations turning over in my head -- but I loved it. The slowly building sense of something not being quite right, the odd moments of disquiet -- the fact that everything is implication works perfectly, for me.

It's not particularly surprising for Ishiguro's work, in that sense: it's very much
...more
Gloria Mundi
This was a really strange book. It is a story of a Japanese woman now living in England, whose eldest daughter has recently committed suicide, recollecting her days in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb and the end of WWII, although surprisingly little is said about the latter and almost nothing about the former.

I love love love Ishiguro. He is a fantastic writer and he does his usual unreliable narrator whose recollections gradually reveal something dark and hidden. However, this is the second of
...more
Monique

This is the third Kazuo Ishiguro book that I've had the pleasure of reading. Last year, Never Let Me Go made it to my personal list of best reads, and The Remains of the Day , another one of Ishiguro's more popular novels, also with a film adaptation (like Never Let Me Go ) to prove it, left its mark on me, albeit not in the way that Never Let Me Go did. Both novels propelled their author into favorite-dom in my book, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on another Ishiguro novel.

A
...more
Samadrita
Ishiguro's A Pale View of the Hills, despite being his debut, is no less an emotional tale than his other better known works. It is a delicately woven tapestry of several themes, stitched together by the gift of Ishiguro's masterful but tender story-telling.

Through the eyes of Etsuko, the protagonist, we witness a war-ravaged Japan trying to rise from its ashes - torn between the difficult choice of shunning past ideologies which lured it down the path of ruin or holding on to the frail sentime
...more
Miss Ravi
Nov 12, 2015 Miss Ravi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
این کتاب در واقع تصویری محو است از گذشته. گذشتهی یک زن. که حالا انگار با تداعی به سوی او برمیگردند. راوی/زن گاهی در اتفاق افتادن بعضی خاطرهها تردید دارد و میگوید حافظه چندان هم قابل اعتماد نیست. همین است که خواننده همواره در میان ماجرایی که رخ میدهد احساسی نامطمئن دارد.

با وجودی که این کتاب از آثار اولیهی ایشیگورو به شمار میرود ولی روایتی یکدست و قوی دارد و دیالوگهایش در موارد زیادی شاهکارند و من را مبهوت و متحیر میکردند. تنها نقطه ضعف کتاب که خودِ ایشیگورو هم به آن اذعان داشته معمایی است که در ا
...more
Josh
Jul 13, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fiction
With simple, yet solid writing and being finished within a few hours, 'A Pale View of Hills' surprised me by its feel throughout; it left me with an eerie and suspenseful feeling for the majority of the book, leaving me expecting more to happen. More does happen, but slightly under your nose. I went back a couple times to a point where I felt a bit confounded and I'm glad I did. Ishiguro pulled the wool over my eyes and made me smirk in acceptance and satisfaction. As I wasn't the biggest fan of ...more
Christi
May 11, 2015 Christi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deceptively simple book. I think it's important to pay attention to the narrator when she reminds you repeatedly that her memory may be faulty. Perhaps it can't be trusted...My daughter read this one first and wanted me to read it to compare our thoughts and theories. I was surprised on reading the reviews that there were so many people who took this book at face value and thus missed the full effect. I personally believe there are a few different ways it can be interpreted and all of them are ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
As part of our "Summertime in Japan" project in The World's Literature group, this book was on the list for Ishiguro. I had only read Never Let Me Go by this author, and while the stories don't have much in common, both are told in a non linear fashion and contain a lot to think about.

In fact, I'm still thinking about it. So much of what I will say is a spoiler, so I'll go ahead and stick it behind a spoiler tag. (view spoiler)
...more
Elizabeth
Jun 26, 2014 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Set in Japan after World War II, this novel is dark and the subject matter can be difficult to sort through. Past and present confuse, connections between events are tenuous, and the climax is almost too startling (there seems to be more to tell). Also, it is rife with symbolism: the water imagery throughout the story seems to speak to death and suffering, danger, and even escape.

That said, I think Ishiguro wrote with intent and wanted to leave room for speculation. Plus, he was able to write t
...more
Ailsa
Feb 01, 2016 Ailsa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who liked Never Let Me Go
Shelves: favourites
"Don't you remember? Just when I thought it was all settled at last, and you were finally to become my daughter-in-law... you told me you wouldn't live in a house without azaleas in the gateway."

An introspective and eerie novel. This is actually my favourite by Kazuo Ishiguro, same sort of 'something weird is going on' vibe as Never Let Me Go.

Not much happens within the plot. Etsuko, a Japanese widow (now living in England) who has recently lost her daughter to suicide, recalls one summer in po
...more
Emily
Mar 06, 2011 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caroline
May 21, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I really hesitated before doing a review of this book - it left me out of my depth in so many ways - but then I thought 'heck - I really want to do reviews of the books I've read.' So I am going to crack on.

This is a story about Etsuko, a Japanese woman who experienced the horrors of Nagasaki when the bomb was dropped, and who is now living in England. The daughter of her second marriage (to an Englishman) comes back to stay with her mother for a few days. This is her daughter Niki. Her older da
...more
Pierce
Mar 25, 2008 Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Ishiguro it's always kind of the same deal. It's like 'what new social context can I apply my repressed, childlike characters onto and then reveal a deeper, disturbing story through their relating of seemingly innocuous anecdotes? I know: English butlers! I know: Old Japanese ladies!'

This might sound like a criticism but it totally is not. I am in love with this trick. I think I have read everything now (the only reason I put this one off is because the blurb on the back of the book made it
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
274. A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
منظر پریده رنگ تپهها - کازوئو ایشی گورو ، ادبیات ژاپن (انتشارات نیلا)ا
منظر پریده رنگ تپه ها، گویا نخستین اثر كازوئو ايشیگورو باشد. داستان پیرزنی که یکی از دو دخترانش خودش را کشته، آن دیگری از لندن به دیدن مادر آمده، مادر به مرور خاطراتش میپردازد. خیالش به زبان نمیآید، از ذهنش میگذرند. به ظاهر بین خاطرات پیرزن و حوادثی که در زمان حال میگذرد رابطه ای نیست. دختر با مادر مشکل دارد، همان مشکلی که نسل جدید و قدیم باهم دارند
...more
Caro M.
What a cute little Japanese mindfuck of a book this was. Still not sure, what the heck just happened there?
J.
Poignant, at times heart-rending. A novella's sensibility within a novel's scope, Ishiguro's first published book is a small gem, a beautiful set of moments.

Really just a conglomeration of impression and memory, the narrative in A Pale View Of Hills slips inobtrusively between Japan in the aftermath of nuclear war, and placid, green postwar England. But gently, and without capital-D Drama.

Ishiguro had made it the business of his telling to obscure or imply major narrative developments, and kee
...more
Asma Fedosia
Jun 16, 2012 Asma Fedosia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Asma Fedosia by: Niledaughter
Since the author left Japan at about six years old to move to England, I wondered whether his views truly represented Japan. The novel's topic had a Japanese emigré to England. Her life had then been affected by the atomic-bomb on Nagasaki and now by the more recent suicide of her older daughter. The setting swings between those two locations, a memory of summer in Nagasaki during its rebuilding and a present time in her English country home during her younger daughter's visit. There are many ot ...more
Conrad
Nov 07, 2007 Conrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have this huge man-crush on Kazuo Ishiguro, so I expected to love this, and I was not disappointed. Ishiguro's narrators are all the same in that they lie to themselves and to others; it can seem at first glance like all his novels really do is place the same liar into different historical periods. That wouldn't be fair, though - I think each of his books has its own unique tenor. The narrator of A Pale View of Hills, Etsuko, is a bit more of a cipher than the narrators of Never Let Me Go or e ...more
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Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄) is a British novelist of Japanese origin. His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master's from the University of East Anglia's creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.

His first novel, A Pale View of Hills won the 1982 Winifred Holtby
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“As with a wound on one's own body, it is possible to develop an intimacy with the most disturbing of things” 51 likes
“Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here. ” 13 likes
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