In summary, Kathy, Tommy, Ruth attend a boarding school unlike most. Coming of age at this school may seem a bit normal with bullies, crushes, rules t...more In summary, Kathy, Tommy, Ruth attend a boarding school unlike most. Coming of age at this school may seem a bit normal with bullies, crushes, rules that make sense, and rules that don't but it's different because the children here are preparing for a special 'purpose'.
This story is SAD (in capitals). Ishiguro's writing style is not for everyone. I like the depressing and bleak--vague but obvious style that some might find dull. I like trying to see beyond it- like he wrote like that intentionally so readers could try to uncover the deeper meanings in his sentences. These characters seem very real this way. For instance, the characters do not say things they should say, they let great moments pass, even if saying something might change everything for the better. Real people hold back like this all the time! His writing is both mundane (because it is supposed to convey that--imo) and intense at the same time. I'm not sure how he pulls it off but it all works for me.
If you ever read his novel Remains of the Day or watched the movie and liked it--then you'll probably want to give this a chance.
All in all it made me feel deeply....it made me think about those missed moments all of us hold on to....it made me think about all the memories and personal potential people carry around inside that they never let go of...(less)
The summer after my grandma died, my aunt and I went to have a picnic at her grave because we had promised her we would have lunch with her after she...more The summer after my grandma died, my aunt and I went to have a picnic at her grave because we had promised her we would have lunch with her after she left the world. As we spread out our blanket, something caught our eye. A beautiful doe stood looking at us, in the middle of a city grave yard, almost close enough to touch. She stood there through most of lunch until we helped lead to her to an opening so she could run back to the woods (even though the wooded lots were so small we couldn't believe deer lived in them.) We couldn't help but wonder if grandma had sent her to let us know she knew we had kept our promise.
Animals are sometimes symbols or the embodiment of the people that have died for those left behind. And I think this is one the reasons I found myself drawn to this book. Jamie, an eight year old swears his dad will return to them in some fashion and he spends his time trying to find him. He looks for clues about what has happened to his father. Where is heaven? Is there an address? Is he on vacation? Will he come back maybe as a different person or maybe as a bird? How will he know where to find them now that they have moved to a remote Scottish island? How can he send him a message?
I love Jamie. He reminds me of one of my sons and a million little boys I have taught. Jamie has a hard time reading. Letters are a secret code he has a hard time cracking. He has a difficult time deciphering the meanings in language (I found his thoughts abstract and beautiful). He is often verbally attacked by others though (like his sister Alba who thinks her cruelty towards him will toughen him up) but his different learning style also makes him see the world as a place full of wonder and beauty. Jamie is a child whose innocence, wonder, and kindness brings people joy especially the skeptics. I loved looking at the world through Jamie's eyes and through his precious little open heart. Jamie is why I love this book.
Alba is cruel to her brother but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. Also, I could not help but understand what she was going through. After all, it's a difficult thing when people and places fall from their pedestals and break into a thousand pieces at your feet. Ignorance is bliss and logical Alba lost her ability to see the world through innocent eyes. She feels that the world is a cruel place she must be ready for.
Georgia is the eldest child. She is a mixture of the two, mature, trust-worthy but also trusting. She wants to know the reasons behind the death of her father, a British diplomat, yet she is scared to know. She is also at the start of spreading her wings, trying to balance responsibility and freedom.
All three children are brought to life. They seem like children I've met before. Their thoughts and actions are completely believable and familiar to me, maybe memories of what I felt like as a child or from recent memories of my sons. Their depictions are what kept me reading late into the night.
Of course, I also love the bear. What is there not to love about a cute lumbering bear that collects pretty and interesting items on the island he finds himself stranded on? This part of the story is true. There once was a tame bear that got lost on the island. During his ordeal, even though he found himself half starved he never hurt a single soul. Not even a sheep lost a hair due to his enormous claws. He simply waited for someone to find and rescue him.
I want to rescue the bear. I want to rescue these people. They do not seem fictional. They seem like family.
On a different note, this book can't be all good, right? Some reviews said that some parts were offensive because the author didn't do her research. That life in the British embassy is not like that and that the descriptions of Germany is not fair. I can respect that. It's probably true for those that live there and/ or live that life. The lack of authenticity probably is offensive and annoying. However, for those that do not know any better like me, these parts of the story are so understated that they do not feel like negatives against the places and careers mentioned.
To me, the power, the heartbeat of the story are the three children that look for their dad's presence everywhere, even in the most remote emotional places. There is so much heartache found in Jaime's sweet little voice as he calls out for his "Dada". This book broke my heart. I think all good stories do. It is a tender and touching book.
I had not heard the hype about this book in particular but had heard plenty about the author's books in general. Enough to feel like he had changed li...more I had not heard the hype about this book in particular but had heard plenty about the author's books in general. Enough to feel like he had changed lives with his words. Enough to make me feel that reading American Gods had the potential to work on me in simple ways (say a few magic words, bippity boppity boo, and away I'd go):
Instead the first 150 pages felt like this (and I'm not Belle):
This is not Disney. Gaiman means serious business and he'll call into question entire cultural and personal histories. I thought he wrote teen books (that this would read like one) = Wrong. I assumed this novel would reveal itself as a package of mere entertainment delivered in an interesting way = Wrong.
Oddly enough the entire novel is about the stories we may tell ourselves or are told by other people. What is real and what is fiction? What are facts and what are opinions? Does reality even exist? Do we create our own worlds by who we are? But best of all it confirms that no one has any answers about what life is about, even though many of us like to pretend we do. It's far easier on the nerves to believe we as individuals or groups have all the answers.
Initially, I was going to suggest the author make a guide of the characters but think it is better without one. The significance of this novel works better as a surprise. The timing is a little heroic that way.
If a reader likes mythology and folklore they will like this. It contains about every character one can imagine from various parts of the world. It's a book a reader is unsure of at first, but then by the end will love it. So stick to it!
Anyway, I'm rather speechless about it. My mind is blown.(less)
The writing is not that sophisticated, not bad, not the best, good enough to keep you turning the pages long into the night (for me this magic number...more The writing is not that sophisticated, not bad, not the best, good enough to keep you turning the pages long into the night (for me this magic number was 3 am). After the first chapter I couldn't stop reading this.
Christine loses her memories by morning every day. So every morning she is introduced to what has happened to her in her adult life. Most of her memories went missing after her accident . For something so repetitive the plot did not wear on me. So that is saying something. In fact, I found it suspenseful even when she is introduced to her husband over and over, every. single. morning. I had to find out what had happened to her and what her future held. I enjoyed it.
I don't think this will end up on anyone's favorite list, but it's not a book readers leave unfinished. (less)