Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Pale View of Hills” as Want to Read:
A Pale View of Hills
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Pale View of Hills

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  19,292 ratings  ·  1,885 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 recal ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published March 3rd 2005 by Faber and Faber (first published 1982)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Pale View of Hills, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jukka Aakula A Pale View of Hills is most interesting and Never Let Me Go if you are young.

An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day for older peopl…more
A Pale View of Hills is most interesting and Never Let Me Go if you are young.

An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day for older people.
(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-59
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,292 ratings  ·  1,885 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of A Pale View of Hills
WILLIAM2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michele
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
Anne
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 wi
...more
Jim Fonseca
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Japanese-born woman in England reminisces with her daughter about the woman’s memories of life in Japan in Nagasaki after the war. The woman had two daughters by two husbands. We learn in the first couple of pages that the oldest daughter, born in Japan to a Japanese husband, recently committed suicide in England. She was solitary and anti-social, even to her family.

The second daughter’s father was British and the woman moved to England where her visiting daughter was raised. We don’t learn w
...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
Sean Barrs
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 penultim
...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 i
...more
Jean-Luke
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Some books you really just have to read (at least) twice. Never before have I read a work of literary fiction more carefully than I would read an Agatha Christie novel. What can I say? I was determined to figure it out the second time around, reading for details instead of for an explanation, and as it turns out these characters actually have a special place on my heart, especially Etsuko and Ogata-san and their teasing relationship. What was I smoking the first time around? I just wanted answer ...more
Justin Tate
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
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.
سارا
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 d
...more
Nishat
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Sidharth Vardhan
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it

"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 w
...more
✨ A ✨
The first words to come out of my mouth when I finished this book was: WHAT. THE. HELL.

What did I just read?

Did what I think happened really happen? Is my copy missing another 200 pages or something BECAUSE I NEED ANSWERS!!

Henk
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply unsettling how this novel shows the human cost of war reverberating
“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.”

The time and period the book is set in, Nagasaki just after the second world war, is very interesting. The characters, even the youngest, all struggle with memories from the war (most chillingly culminating in a recollection
...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 p
...more
Hodove
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
خب از اون کتابهایی بود که تا چندین روز باهام خواهد موند!میتونستم همینطور ۲۰۰صفحه 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 ۱۹۰افتاده؛من که حدس زده بودم چی شده رفتم سرچ کردم و به این مطلب زیر برخورد کردم که ازش نقل قول میکنم:

«متاسف
...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 p
...more
Emily
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Greta G
As with a wound on one’s own body, it is possible to develop an intimacy with the most disturbing of things.

Review to come.
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
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, th ...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
Julie
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Kazuo Ishiguro has the uncanny ability to get under my skin and cause me to think. I found the friendship between the two women fascinating and there are many layers of meaning to be discovered in their communication with each other and the other characters in their lives.
Sue
May 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful little novel that tells of rebuilding Nagasaki after the atomic bomb.

It’s not a book I would usually pick up but I came across it forgotten on my short story shelf. Books that are 200 pages or under.

Lovely writing but different. A lot of it is in dialogue and I needed to concentrate more than I would have liked.

But worth a read if just for the translation.

Don’t let me put you off reading it with my 2*. It just was hard going.

anja
rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2007
ahe Butterfield
rated it really liked it
Feb 11, 2007
maryam soltan zadeh
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2007
Tim Wu
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2007
cam
marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2007
roja
rated it it was ok
Feb 24, 2007
ElHaM Y
rated it it was amazing
Feb 24, 2007
Elizabeth
rated it it was amazing
Feb 27, 2007
sepideh
marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2007
Ali
rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2007
marjan
rated it it was ok
Mar 02, 2007
Shahrzad
rated it it was ok
Mar 02, 2007
Dick Rhee
marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2007
Nahid
rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2007
Morteza Karami
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2007
S H
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2007
Vaughn
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2007
Julian
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2007
Jackson
rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2007
Jess
Mar 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Possibly someone murdered a baby, possibly someone hung herself.
Koz
rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2007
Rina
rated it really liked it
Mar 22, 2007
brandy
rated it liked it
Mar 24, 2007
Aaron
rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2007
golmaryam
rated it it was ok
Mar 30, 2007
Adra
rated it it was amazing
Apr 05, 2007
Danielle
rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2007
jennifer
rated it liked it
Apr 08, 2007
Jason
rated it really liked it
Apr 13, 2007
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Reading 1001: A Pale View of Hills 1 10 Aug 21, 2019 04:34PM  
What could have happened to Keiko [SPOILERS/TW] 1 20 Jul 12, 2019 04:28AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add reciprocal ACE info 1 17 Sep 23, 2018 12:41PM  
Japanese Literature: 5/18 A Pale View Of Hills (Spoiler Thread) 22 60 May 26, 2018 11:15AM  
The World's Liter...: A Pale View of Hills: a novel by Ishiguro 74 122 Jul 22, 2012 12:29PM  
SPOILERS - What happened 5 201 Jun 15, 2012 06:29PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Good and Faithful Servant
  • Vụ Án Mạng Ở Lữ Quán Kairotei
  • The Three Arrows
  • Lear
  • Lettice and Lovage: A Comedy
  • Plachetnice na vinětách
  • A Drop of Patience
  • Thousand Cranes
  • Sen for jag hem (Jana Kippo, #3)
  • Fanshawe
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor
  • Jag ser allt du gör
  • まほろ駅前番外地 [Mahoro Ekimae Bangaichi]
  • Convenience Store Woman
  • The Memory Police
  • Tankar för dagen : manual för ett snällare liv
  • Snow Country
  • Kitchen
See similar books…
14,828 followers
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.

Hi
...more

Related Articles

Until this summer, Lindsay Ellis was mainly known as a super smart and witty film critic and YouTube essayist, making videos that range from...
159 likes · 15 comments
“As with a wound on one's own body, it is possible to develop an intimacy with the most disturbing of things” 68 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. ” 26 likes
More quotes…