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A Pale View of Hills
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A Pale View of Hills

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  7,230 ratings  ·  635 reviews
In his, highly acclaimed debut, A PALE VIEW OF HILLS, Kazuo Ishiguro tells 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 reca ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published March 3rd 2005 by Faber and Faber (first published 1982)
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Most Poetic Book Titles
70th out of 900 books — 508 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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William
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
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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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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 is
...more
Brinda
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
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
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
Sue
Jun 17, 2012 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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....
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.

And s
...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
Elizabeth
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
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
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
Pierce
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
Anne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caroline
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
Marieke
I feel confused by the ending. So I need to think and talk to some friends about it before I really make up my mind what my reaction is. However, this was my first Ishiguro book and I really enjoyed the writing, even if Sachiko used the word "amusing" twelve too many times at the beginning. I thought the writing was simple but poetic and definitely created a particular atmosphere. Also, characters and events were somewhat mysterious. Reading it made me feel disconcerted. I enjoyed that and it k ...more
Asma Fedosia
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
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
Giovanna
I knew I loved Kazuo Ishiguro since I first picked up An Artist of the Floating World on a whim in a tiny bookstore in Argentina (why I picked the only English book in a mostly Spanish bookstore I have no idea). Since then, reading his other books has only deepened my love for him. He is the master of the revisionist 1st person narrator. His main characters always tell us their story as they see it and remember it but the reader always gets the sense that things aren’t quite exactly as they pain ...more
Matthew Snyder
This book did nothing for me. There was no pathos, no intense reaction like I had to Never Let Me Go, and frankly I'm not even entirely sure I figured out what was going on in the book. I guess currently I'm leaning towards the idea that the whole memories-of-the-weird-girl-and-her-psycho-mom part of the book was actually a sort of repressed memory-of-self bubbling to the surface, an invented character made up of the protagonist's own actions she's now denied. Which is a nice device, but I'm not ...more
David
Jul 18, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: William
This is a spookier, less homoerotic Thirst for Love, and it's the best Ishiguro I've read so far.

Mishima's Etsuko is all about the men in her life, and there's a criticism that ... women don't always live their lives like this.

In Ishiguro's Etsuko's life the men are almost incidental. It must have taken balls of steel to write his first book with a focus on women and mother/daughter relationships. I'm really impressed.
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
Emily
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laila Haerian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Philip Sinatra
Kazuo Ishiguro is clearly a talented wordsmith and stylist with a sure command of the English language, but in this novel the style was much too subtle for the reader to get a feel for what he was trying to convey and to establish a connection with the main characters. I welcome novels that force the reader to work for meanings, but the reader also has to feel that there is enough meat on the bones of the novel to bite into to make the search for the meaning worthwhile. Reading this novel was c ...more
Hollis
Another exquisite novel from Ishiguro. This one is definitely a lot more macabre than his other novels (though not in the slimy, gratuitously sinister way that you get with Ian McEwan). I think the only difference in terms of quality; I felt like this book had a slightly 'unfinished' feel that I didn't get with his novels: it wasn't quite as refined. Nevertheless, this is really a fantastic book and as a debut novel pretty impressive.
Ben Babcock
Kazuo Ishiguro's superlative skill lies in his ability to expose the introspection of his characters on the page. A Pale View of Hills is essentially Etsuko's somewhat jumbled reminiscences of her life in Japan, surrounded by some musings set in the present day following the suicide of her older daughter Keiko. Etsuko's memories of Sachiko offer a contrast to the younger Etsuko's insistence that she is happy as she is, where she is, a fact belied by the contemporary Etsuko's presence in England, ...more
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The World's Liter...: A Pale View of Hills: a novel by Ishiguro 74 59 Jul 22, 2012 12:29PM  
SPOILERS - What happened 5 95 Jun 15, 2012 06:29PM  
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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” 47 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. ” 6 likes
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