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The Buried Giant

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  85,480 ratings  ·  10,692 reviews
The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize­–winning The Remains of the Day
The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant
begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hop
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Knopf Canada
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Jordan He doesn't despise fantasy. That whole spiel comes from an overreaction by one author (Le Guinn) over a remark he made. What he actually said is:

He doesn't despise fantasy. That whole spiel comes from an overreaction by one author (Le Guinn) over a remark he made. What he actually said is:

“Will readers follow me into this? Will they understand what I’m trying to do, or will they be prejudiced against the surface elements? Are they going to say this is fantasy?”

And it's clear, to me at least, what he meant. He's wondering whether this book will be accepted by fans of his previous work or if people will dismiss it out of hand because it contains ogres and dragons. And certain people have done just that.

I didn't find it in and personally wouldn't choose to put this in the sci-fi/fantasy section of the book store. It has elements of old pre-Lord of the Rings fantasy tales, but that isn't what the book is about. This is not fantasy in the sense of genre fiction. This isn't Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms. The fantasy elements are on the periphery. They are only there to enhance what the book is really about, to put a frame around the questions, if that makes sense.

Regardless, Ishiguro responded:

“[Le Guin]’s entitled to like my book or not like my book, but as far as I am concerned, she’s got the wrong person. I am on the side of the pixies and the dragons.”(less)
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Emily May
I have only read one other Ishiguro novel and that is Never Let Me Go. Nevertheless, I too was intrigued about what would happen when a highly-acclaimed author of literary fiction transitioned into fantasy. Unfortunately, having read the book, I'm still not even sure.

What happened here? It's one of those novels where I can't help wondering if there's some underlying symbolism or metaphorical brilliance that totally went over my head. It's a simplistic, emotionally-detached and - at times - borin
(B) 72% | More than Satisfactory
Notes: There’s meaning to be taken from its final few chapters, though the journey there is tiresome, plodding and colorless.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Is it better to remember? Or can we only live with ourselves and one another through ignorance?

Kazuo Ishiguro writes a spellbinding fable of one elderly couple's quest for memory. Their journey takes us deep into a nostalgically rendered Dark Age. A post-Arthurian Britain inhabited by the myths and heroes of those isles, and a few more mythic traditions as well. Yet it is a fragile Britain where everything balances on the knife edge: social mores, the civilizational veneer, lifelong marital love
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Buried Giant is a subtle and melancholy reflection on memory and forgetfulness and the roles they play both in the lives of individuals and those of countries and peoples. It is the kind of novel that yields up its secrets gradually, and it’s worth persisting with even if you are not initially convinced. It’s a very distinctive work—distinctive to the point of eccentricity—and the reviews have been accordingly mixed, some very negative. To enjoy it, you have to cede to its peculiar, incantat ...more
Petra X it's my birthday & I'll cry if I want to
1 star - I don't often feel guilty at not being able to finish a book, but I do this time. It's not like I didn't try. I made three attempts to read it.

1. I got the book. I read a few chapters. The characters didn't have any personalities, the descriptions of them didn't bring them to life at all and I wasn't enamoured of the setting either. So I gave it up.

2. Tried the audio book. Was it going to be any better listening to the story paper-dry protagonists and their fantasy quest. No. My mind k
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant is a fantasy novel by Nobel Prize-winning British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, published in March 2015. The book has been translated into French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Following the death of King Arthur, Saxons and Britons live in harmony. Along with everyone else in their village, Axl and Beatrice, an elderly Briton couple, suffer from severe selective amnesia that they call the 'mist'.

Although barely able to remember, they feel sure that they
Oh boy, this is the book that caused such uproar among Ishiguro fans! Before you pick up this novel, please believe me when I say this is going to be nothing like any of his previous work. So if you are resistant to change, you might want to skip this one. Don’t expect it to be The Remains of the Day, and definitely don’t think this is going to be the next Never Let Me Go. In fact this book won’t even be set in our own time or even plane of reality. On the surface of it all, The Buried Giant is ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
It was a curious experience to read this novel about memory and loss so soon after reading Piranesi, a novel interested in precisely the same thing. Both novels were dreamy, withholding, patient, dreadful (in the sense of full of dread, not dreadful novels!). I found Piranesi warmer and sadder, but I expect some readers might find this one more accessible, depending on your own personal baggage with loss, trauma, and forgiveness.
Foolishness, sir. How can old wounds heal while maggots linger so richly? Or a peace hold for ever built on slaughter and a magician's trickery? I see how devoutly you wish it, for your old horrors to crumble as dust. Yet they await in the soil as white bones for men to uncover (p327)

Uncanny, haunting, I must have read this novel at the right time for me as it found a sure spot under my skin and disturbed my normally peaceful sleep.

It seems to me that Ishiguro is one of those writers who is alwa
Updated 4/30/2015: For context, you should know that I’ve read three previous Ishiguro novels: The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, and We Were Orphans. I disliked We Were Orphans pretty strongly, and liked Never Let Me Go (probably not as much as I would have if I hadn’t been spoiled for it, and I’d probably like it better on re-read). But Remains of the Day is one of my favorite books of all time. Like, if I had a top ten list of books that represent me and my inner life, this would be on ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 21-ce, fiction, uk
I am an Ishiguro enthusiast if ever there was one. I have read his oeuvre. That's why it pains me a little to say that I found The Buried Giant disappointing. I say this not because I think Ishiguro's skills as a novelist are one whit duller than usual. But because I did not care for the story or its characters. They did not engage me. He's going after a new readership with this book. He's going after the vast fantasy market. That's fine. A writer must write what he must write. Just don't expect ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What you do is, you take King Arthur, The Canterbury Tales, Asterix and Obelix, Don Quixote, Shrek, Brother Cadfael, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Lord of the Rings and stir them all together in Kazuo Ishiguro's brain. Then you sit him down in front of a typewriter, or a notebook, a computer, and if you're lucky something like The Buried Giant will emerge. It read a bit like a bedtime story (in the magical, evocative, maybe even the story-teller doesn't know what's going to happen next sen ...more
I need to think about this book. Changed my mind from 3 stars to 3.5 rounded off to 4. Mainly because Ishiguro's style of writing is beautiful to me. And the story telling too, although this story had its highs and lows. Not his best, but still... Ishiguro style. So, I thought about it, and this book did make an impression on me. Therefore, changed my view....
And this link: Neil Gaiman reviewing the book, I like his observations.
Barry Pierce
As someone who has read all of Ishiguro's previous works I was of course more than excited to finally get my hands on a copy of The Buried Giant. Oh boy, if only that excitement hadn't been sourly crushed by the actual contents of this novel.

The Buried Giant is very different from all of Ishiguro's other novels. In fact it's so different that I can't even compare it to any of his previous novels. The main difference is of course that this is essentially a fantasy novel. Now I'll be the first to
Sean Barrs
'Don’t worry, princess.'

'Everything is going to be okay, princess.'

'We will go soon, princess.'

'I promise, princess.'

'It will work, princess. '

'There’s one problem though, princess.'

'I can’t stop saying princess, princess.'

'It’s fine, princess.'

'It won’t annoy him, princess.'

'My constant use of princess, princess.'

'It won’t annoy him, princess.'

'I’ve repeated myself, princess.'

'And again, princess.'

'It won’t annoy him, princess.'

'To the point he throws the book at the wall, princess.'

Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kazuo Ishiguro is a master stylist, with books that range from futuristic, sci-fi, surrealistic and post-colonial. So it is no surprise that his new novel is unlike anything he has written before. Like its predecessors, this novel concentrates on memories: their power to silence, distort, and forever haunt, with characters that are often alienated and searching. Yet the book is distinctly an adventure fable, integrating an ancient British civilization with fantasy.

The two questions are: is it go
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not too demanding readers of fables
Shelves: read-in-2018
In “The Buried Giant” nothing is what it seems.
A fable that overbrims with symbolism and allegory.
A river to cross that might signify the last journey for an elderly couple on the land of the living. A tale set in post-Arthurian England with knights, dragons, ogres, sword duels and magic spells to convey aspects of human nature that elude all kind of logic, such as love, forgiveness, war and revenge.

Blending mythological legend and medieval epic, Ishiguro builds a world were people suffer from
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Does 'The Buried Giant' Bury Our Own Literary One?

This being Ishiguro's last novel before receiving the Nobel Award (one assumes for 'Remains' & 'Never')--the answer is a loud resounding NO!!


It vascillates between charming & unnerving, two polar opposite Ishiguro juggles well. It's an existential apocalyptic fairytale; a Shrek-world suddenly gone earl-grey and maudlin. Colourless...

It is One Wondrous Misfire. Not one to announce AT ALL what the master is actually capable of doing. Some gen
For the first hundred pages or so I thought I was going to love this book. The idea of the old couple setting off on what amounted to a pilgrimage, the mist and the way people were losing memories and the beautifully executed writing style all added up to a possible five star read. Then just around the half way point I suddenly realised I was a little bored and was starting to skim the longer paragraphs. Part of this was that I had developed an attachment to Axl and Beatrice and did not want to ...more
Joey Woolfardis
This was my 900th book that I've read. Let me be clear on that, when I say my 900th book. I have not read nine hundred books from page one to the end. Or actually, I might have done. There may be books from my childhood and my pre-GoodReads-and-blog days where I read a book-either 3 pages or 500 pages long-that I've read all the way through that I've since forgotten about. As it stands, these are books that I've picked up, either physically or electronically and thought, "yes, I want to read you ...more
Holly Dunn
Spoiler-free video review:

Written review (also spoiler-free):
Ishiguro’s new novel was my most anticipated release of this year, so I was unbelievably excited when a review copy came in from the Allen & Unwin representative. Thank goodness this lived up to (and even exceeded) my expectations. Set in 6th Century Britain, it follows an elderly couple who set out from their village to find their son. I knew nothing about this going into it, so it took me a li
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Buried Giant’ is the first of Ishiguro's novels that I have read – and being well aware of his previous accomplishments, critical acclaim, Nobel and Booker prize winning standing – it was with much anticipation, high expectation, although inevitably some apprehension that I embarked on this book – would Ishiguro and this novel in particular live up to his high standing and reputation? I was far from disappointed…

‘The Buried Giant’ is a hauntingly evocative, compelling and intelligent story
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
There are certain writers - David Mitchell, Kate Atkinson, Hilary Mantel, Chiang Rae Lee - where I think, "OK, I'll follow you anywhere, no matter how weird or improbable that place you want to take me is." A Dutch enclave in 18th century Japan? A futuristic Baltimore devoted to pisciculture? 1800 pages telling Tudor history from the vantage point of one of its better known villains? Groundhog Day set in WW2? Yes, and yes, and yes, and yes, and there you have half of my favorite books from the l ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Raindrops of Our Memories

“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn't like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I'm wondering if without our memories, there's nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.” K. Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

There are times, I think, one must admit bewilderment and a certain lack of knowledge or learning to fully understand some novels, but can nonetheless say tha
Kazuo Ishiguro's latest book came as a surprise. It's been 10 years since his last novel, Never Let Me Go, and apart from a lone collection of short stories - Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall in 2009 - the author has largely been silent. The Buried Giant appeared suddenly and unexpectedly, without much fanfare - shouldn't it be a big deal?

Ishiguro's latest book is very different from the two of his novels that I have read, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go - both of which
I have no words.

Here’s my first ever gif-only review.

You’re welcome.

Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book from Ishiguro so far which is saying something since I given 5 stars to When we where orphans and The remains of the day is on my favorites list.
switterbug (Betsey)
Ishiguro cannot be pigeonholed as an author, although he does have emblematic characters. He can master the alternative present (Never Let Me Go), the WW II era (several), and, in this latest novel, the ancient past. He consistently pens flawed narrators that make critical, life-changing choices. And the narrators often leave their geographic comfort zone.

THE BURIED GIANT is a combination myth, legend, allegory, adventure, and fantasy. I didn't know if it would capture my attention when I starte
One of the things I always find about a Kazuo Ishiguro novel, is how labyrinthine and multi-layered they are. I don't fully understand the book after a first reading, but this is a book I want to go back and read a second and third time, and sink further into its mysteries.

This is a hazy, melancholic, and atmospheric novel that draws you deeply into its folds as you join Axl and Beatrice's quest for answers. There is so much that could be said about this book, but I'm not the person to do it. I'
Heidi The Reader
Axl and Beatrice are an aging married couple in the time of King Arthur. They're on a quest to visit their son and face otherworldly threats like ogres and pixies as well as more regular dangers like Saxons on the road. They meet a boy named Edwin, who has a secret, and a warrior named Wistan, who is on a quest of his own. Making matters even more difficult, there's a mind-fogging mist covering the land that makes people forget things that just happened to them moments ago and the past is a puzz ...more
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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.


Articles featuring this book

Dragons, demons, kings, queens, and the occasional farm boy (with a special destiny, of course): Fantasy literature has it all! To celebrate...
501 likes · 292 comments
“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn't like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I'm wondering if without our memories, there's nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.” 145 likes
“When it was too late for rescue, it was still early enough for revenge.” 47 likes
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