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A Pale View of Hills

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  17,434 ratings  ·  1,672 reviews
A Pale View of Hills is the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her eldest daughter. In a story where past and present confuse in a haunting and sometimes macabre way, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II, even as she recounts the weirdnesses and calamities of her own life.
Paperback, Reprint, 183 pages
Published 1982 by Viking International
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  17,434 ratings  ·  1,672 reviews


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William2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk, fiction, 20-ce
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 pairs live near a resurgent Nagasaki sometime toward the end of the American Occupation of Japan in April 1952. 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, Etsuko ...more
Annet
She came to see me earlier this year, in April, when the days were still cold and drizzly. Perhaps she had intended to stay longer. I do not know. But my country house and the quiet that surrounds it made her restless, and before long I could see she was anxious to return to her life in London. She listened impatiently to my classical records, flicked through numerous magazines. The telephone rang for her regularly, and she would stride across the carpet, her thin figure squeezed into her tight ...more
Michele
Aug 17, 2008 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
274. A Pale View of Hills, Kazuo Ishiguro
A Pale View of Hills (1982) is the first novel by Nobel Prize–winning author Kazuo Ishiguro. During a visit from her daughter, Niki, Etsuko reflects on her own life as a young woman in Japan, and how she left that country to live in England. As she describes it, she and her Japanese husband, Jiro, had a daughter together, and a few years later Etsuko met a British man and moved with him to England. She took her elder daughter, Keiko, to England to live
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Anne
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Ishiguro’s first novel is an intriguing read. If anything, it shows how much promise he had as an author and how much he could offer the literary world as he honed his skills.

The Pale View of Hills is a very implicit book, and the conclusions I took from it may not even be conclusions at all. It’s a story that made me think, and it even made me re-read it when I finished. And that’s the problem: the cleverness of this is not revealed until the very end. There are three paragraphs in the
...more
Fabian
Sep 15, 2011 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 reading Mr. 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 ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 07, 2010 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
...more
Justin Tate
Didn't work for me, unfortunately. I need more than subtle hints at mystery to keep me interested. I was annoyed that virtually the entire novel was told through dialogue. Worse, so much of the dialogue seemed irrelevant. Filtering out the nonsense to find intrigue took too much work. Still, there were some well-crafted scenes so it wasn't all bad. And, thankfully, it is a very slim novel. I'm sure some readers will love it, but beware if you aren't a fan of subtle.
ɐɹɐs
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
به انتهای کتاب که رسیدم منتظر کشف چیزی بودم، دلیلی برای روایت خاطرات گذشته راوی و اتفاقی که برای دخترش افتاده، و خب بعد از کمی فکر کردن و کنار هم گذاشتن بخش های مختلف پیداش کردم.
بنظرم این قدرت قلم فوق العاده ایشی گوروئه که سرنخ ها رو به خواننده میده ولی قضاوت و تصمیم نهایی رو به عهده خودش میذاره. کتاب ایراد ترجمهای داشت که اگر نبود تو همون صفحات پایانی گره داستان باز میشد.
یک روزه خوندمش و لذت بردم و احساس میکنم بعد از خوندن سه کتاب، می تونم «کازوئو ایشی گورو» رو یکی از نویسندگان مورد علاقه ام
...more
nettebuecherkiste
Cooooooool!

Großbritannien in den Achtizgern. Seitdem die Japanerin Etsuko Japan mit ihrem inzwischen verstorbenen britischen Ehemann Japan verlassen hat, lebt sie in England. Sie bekommt Besuch von ihrer gemeinsamen jüngeren Tochter Niki. Die ältere Tochter Keiko, die aus einer früheren Beziehung mit einem Japaner stammt, hat sich kürzlich das Leben genommen. Vor dem Eindruck ihres Todes und des Besuchs ihrer Schwester beginnt Etsuko, sich an ihre Zeit in Japan zu erinnern.

Damals kam das von
...more
Nishat
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the surface, Ishiguro's characters are in control. They have repressed their emotions and unknowingly in that attempt, prolonged the process of healing after loss. The war has left them numb and bereaved of loved ones. And in this remarkable debut, we listen to one of these survivors.

Etsuko's daughter hanged herself in England. Etsuko, our leading character is somewhat in denial, but nevertheless means to develop intimacy with grief, with her old wounds. Through her recollections, we go back
...more
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.
Sidharth Vardhan

"Niki, the name we finally gave my younger daughter, is not an abbreviation; it was a compromise I reached with her father. For paradoxically it was he who wanted to give her a Japanese name, and I — perhaps out of some selfish desire not to be reminded of the past — insisted on an English one."


Etsuko doesn't like to talk or even think about her past, the time of world war 2 when she was in Nagasaki. It is the central theme of the book having to deal with gloomy and dark past (the world war
...more
Deniz Balcı
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kasuo Ishiguro bilindiği üzere Japon kökenli olmasına rağmen; İngilizce yazan, İngiltere'de yaşayan ve İngiliz vatandaşı olarak hayatını sürdüren bir yazar. Haliyle bu durumda aslında İngiliz Edebiyatı yapması beklenebilir. Ancak İngiltere'nin, malum tarihi politikalarından dolayı, eskiden beri sahip olduğu çok İngiliz olmayan gayrikökenli yazarları mevcut. Bu yazarlarda ilginç bir şekilde, İngiltere'de başarılı olma yolunun, farklılığını kullanmak bundan beslenmek olduğunu düşünüyor sanırım. Bu ...more
Fiona
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Interesting from a historical point of view, this novel is set in 1951/2 at the end of the American occupation of Japan post WWII. It shifts between then and the 1970s when the main character, Etsuko, is living in England. So many questions about the storyline are left unanswered but somehow it doesn’t matter. Its main point is, I think, to show how times change and how generations mourn the passing of their old ways.

Conversations between the Japanese characters is so controlled and couched in
...more
Hugh
Original one line summary review - March 2015:

A poised, elliptical story of post-war Japan and contrasting cultures, generations and family relationships.

Further reflections after re-reading and face to face discussion with the Five Leaves book group - Nov 2019:
When this book was chosen for this month's Five Leaves book group discussion, I was initially a little reluctant to participate, having read and quite enjoyed the book four years ago I remembered very little about it, and would not have
...more
Hodove
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
خب از اون کتابهایی بود که تا چندین روز باهام خواهد موند!میتونستم همینطور صفحه دیگه به خوندن ادامه بدم بس که قلم ایشی گورو به دلم نشسته بود.
خب فقط یه نکته ای هست.گویا که مترجم عزیز کتاب دقت کافی در ترجمه مهم ترین و کلیدی ترین بخش کتاب نکرده و باعث شده به کل داستان عوض بشه؛اگر داستان رو خوندین و آخرش گیج شدین احتمال داره به این خاطر باشه.
تو ترجمه جناب امیر امجد(نشر نیلا)این اتفاق تو صفحه افتاده؛من که حدس زده بودم چی شده رفتم سرچ کردم و به این مطلب زیر برخورد کردم که ازش نقل قول میکنم:

«متاسفانه
...more
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
...more
Emily
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brinda
Nov 16, 2010 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, ...more
Asako
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m Japanese and I have read many books about WW2 so far. However, I haven’t read a book like this one before-one that follows the life of people AFTER WW2.

Overall it was a wonderful book, beautiful, mysterious and intriguing. The plot itself isn’t too complicated either; a Japanese woman called Sachiko is dwelling on her old memories in Nagasaki after her daughter commits suicide. The story goes back and forth between ‘then’ and ‘now’, but that doesn’t get too complicated, either.

Ishiguro
...more
Orki De
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بعد از خوندن این کتاب، مطمئنم شدم که ادبیات شرق دور جز علاقه مندی های زیادم محسوب میشه. داشتن موراکامی کافی نیست؟ ایشی گورو هم رفت که بشه نویسنده مورد علاقه ام!
اگه در آخرین صفحات داستان هم گره گشایی رخ نمیداد و لذت خوندش را صدبرابر نمیکرد، باز هم من تمام کمال از کلمات و داستان لذت برده بودم. و اما فصل آخر، به صورت خیلی مخفی و غیر مستقیم، تیر خلاص بود برای وارونه کردن همه تصورات خواننده از داستان و شخصیت ها. راوی مطمئن و قابل اعتماد نیست، و بارها در حین بازگویی خاطرات به این اعتراف میکنه که حافظه
...more
Sue
Jul 26, 2011 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
Kornela
Dec 09, 2009 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
...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....
Tatevik Najaryan
This is the third book from Ishiguro I've read, and I am a little perplexed. Three were quite different from one another.

First I read Never Let Me Go. Though I read it a while ago, I don't remember the book that well, so a re-read is needed. But I can say that I am not quite fond of dystopia and didn't have a special connection with the book.

The second was The Remains of the Day. I was impressed, more than impressed. I love both Japanese and British culture, literature, and melancholy, so
...more
iva°
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
prvi roman kazua ishigura..
kao petogodišnji dječak, ishiguro s roditeljima dolazi u englesku gdje su mislili ostati tek privremeno i roditelji sina odgajaju u duhu i kulturi japana računajući sa skorašnjim povratkom u domovinu (ishiguro će tek dekadama kasnije stupiti na japansko tlo) - ta činjenica bila mi je nevjerojatna s obzirom na atmosferu ovog romana smještenog u poslijeratni nagasaki. da to nije otkrio (u sklopu knjige je i ishigurov govor povodom dodjele nobelove nagrade 2017. u kojem
...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
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Mar 19, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly someone murdered a baby, possibly someone hung herself.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Reading 1001: A Pale View of Hills 1 7 Aug 21, 2019 04:34PM  
What could have happened to Keiko [SPOILERS/TW] 1 7 Jul 12, 2019 04:28AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add reciprocal ACE info 1 14 Sep 23, 2018 12:41PM  
Japanese Literature: 5/18 A Pale View Of Hills (Spoiler Thread) 22 52 May 26, 2018 11:15AM  
The World's Liter...: A Pale View of Hills: a novel by Ishiguro 74 118 Jul 22, 2012 12:29PM  
SPOILERS - What happened 5 189 Jun 15, 2012 06:29PM  

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Sir Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄), OBE, FRSA, FRSL is a British novelist of Japanese origin and Nobel Laureate in Literature (2017). 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.

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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” 63 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. ” 25 likes
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