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A Pale View of Hills

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  10,554 Ratings  ·  960 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 12th 1990 by Vintage International (first published February 1982)
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Mar 24, 2011 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
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
Oct 07, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
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
Sep 01, 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.
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.
Sep 15, 2011 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Surprise, surprise! The brilliant mind that concocted “Never Let Me Go” (which is, by the way, indubitably on my top ten list) first brought this masterpiece to a readership whose last brush with (this is no exaggeration:) PERFECTION was with Graham Greene (“The Quiet American”). The novel is tight, 75% dialogue, exquisitely concise, devoid of flowery sentences/descriptions, no bullshit and beautiful. Ishiguro is a (n enviable) genius, a poet, one capable of expelling tears and tugging at hearts ...more
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
Dec 09, 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
Nov 16, 2010 Brinda rated it liked it
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
Jul 26, 2011 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
Oct 05, 2016 Pantelis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ishiguro's Japan is located on the same planet as Kafka's Amerika, a place where the imaginary masks and unmasks the real, just like the two women in this astonishing novel...
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....
Dec 27, 2010 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
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
May 31, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-japao, l-1001bymrbyd, e4
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
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
May 07, 2015 Christi rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2017 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Josh
Shelves: fiction, japan, 2017
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
Mar 05, 2011 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

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.

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)
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
Jun 29, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
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
Miss Ravi
Oct 10, 2015 Miss Ravi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, 1394
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
Feb 24, 2009 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
Caro M.
What a cute little Japanese mindfuck of a book this was. Still not sure, what the heck just happened there?
Jul 03, 2012 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
May 25, 2012 Asma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Asma 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
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
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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 the 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 Ho
More about Kazuo Ishiguro...

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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” 52 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. ” 15 likes
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