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When We Were Orphans
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When We Were Orphans

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  18,650 Ratings  ·  1,763 Reviews

A masterful novel from one of the most admired writers of our time.

Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early-20th-century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when both his mother and father disappear under suspicious circumstances. He grows up to become a renowned detective, and more than 20 years later, returns to Shanghai to solve the mystery of the disappearances.

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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 3rd 2000 by Faber & Faber (first published 2000)
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Lisa SPOILERS AHEAD!!! I think maybe we're supposed to be pretty annoyed with the narrator. Ishiguro turns the mystery genre on its head here; the narrator…moreSPOILERS AHEAD!!! I think maybe we're supposed to be pretty annoyed with the narrator. Ishiguro turns the mystery genre on its head here; the narrator is blind to so many concerns besides his rather monomaniacal desire to figure out what happened to his parents. Ishiguro seems (to me) to be pointing that in life, many such mysteries, and their pursuit, lead to very little, with answers we would rather not have (thus turn the mystery genre on its head--mysteries tend to satisfy because answers are found; order is restored; a possibility justice might obtain. But not here. Here finding out the answer leads only to sadness). Banks misses out raising his ward; he thoughtlessly and needlessly endangers people in the conflict; he destroys his memories of Akira....all to find out the ends were sad and squalid for both parents, and they were both beyond saving or avenging.
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William1
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, uk
Second reading. Ishiguro's novels are nothing if not enigmatic. There's disorientation; the reader is never quite sure where he stands. When We Were Orphans is a quasi-Bildungsroman or coming of age/detective story. It is set over a period of fifty years or so in London, Shanghai and then back in London again.

Narrator Christopher Banks is born of English parents with whom he lives in the International Concession in Shanghai. Around 1915 or so they disappear, when he is about nine, and are believ
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Bookdragon Sean
My favourite Ishiguro!

“On the contrary, it is never too late to, as you put it, pick up the scent”

Indeed, it most certainly isn’t. This book was so, so, deep. I feel like my emotions have been stretched to breaking point when reading. If you’ve not ready any of Ishiguro’s novels before, then don’t be deceived, this is no mere crime novel: this is an exploration of the human soul.

Ishiguro has written such a powerful novel here. In the process of questioning the fleeting nature of the past, t
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Libby
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thesis-book-list
Many reviews here have commented on Ishiguro's unreliable narrators (let's let that classification stand, whether or not it is entirely valid or really applies to all of his work), as if this aspect of his fiction is so obvious, or that it has been so exhaustively mined, that there is little to nothing left to say about such a narrative strategy.

Christopher Banks, When We Were Orphans' narrator, is certainly unreliable, yes. But our relationship to him as an unreliable narrator is a strange one,
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Will Byrnes
A pretty good novel. I thought it was outstanding until the back quarter. Renowned London detective Christopher Banks was raised in the International part of Shanghai, sent to England after both his parents disappeared. He is smitten with a social climbing siren who figures in his adventure when he returns to Shanghai intent on solving the mystery of his parents’ disappearance. Of course the Sino-Japanese war, two decades of change in Shanghai, and a chance to run away with the girl of his dream ...more
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : When We Were Orphans - Nevisande : Kazuo Ishiguro - ISBN : 571225403 - ISBN13 : 9780571225408 - Dar 320 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2000
Fabian
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two previous flawless books; expectations were rather high, see. "A Pale View of Hills" is an essential novel to all lovers of books and history and novellas, & "Never Let Me Go" is an instant modern classic (genre splicing done EXACTLY right). This, on the other hand, is B O R I N G...! (This, granted, coming from a genuine fan of all books long & boring.)

A detective's life should certainly include many peaks, scenes of action, excitement aplenty. Ishiguro decides to keep all this away
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K.D. Absolutely
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Booker Shortlist 2000
This is my 7th Ishiguro and I am happy for two reasons: (1) I am now an Ishiguro completist and (2) unlike a couple of his earlier books, I actually liked this one. I almost rated this with 4 stars but I could not do that because I found the first half of the book unbelievably boring. However, Ishiguro managed to make the book’s last 50-70 pages truly engaging that I thought I was able to squirt some tears from my eyes when the boyhood friends were back together. It was one of the most poignant ...more
Bec
Jul 12, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro
When We Were Orphans is the fifth novel by Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro, published in 2000. Ishiguro himself saying "It's not my best book".
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه آوریل سال 2002 میلادی
عنوان: وقتی یتیم بودیم؛ نویسنده: کازوئو ایشی گورو؛ مترجم: مژده دقیقی؛ تهران، شهر کتاب، هرمس؛ 1381، در 400 ص؛ شابک: 9643630978؛ چاپ دوم 1385؛ چاپ چهارم 1392؛ شابک: 9789643630973؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م
مترجم: مجید غلامی شاهدی؛ تهران، نوید
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Sara
Kazuo Ishiguro’s enigmatic novel, When We Were Orphans, is as complex and baffling a work of fiction as I have ever encountered. Christopher Banks, our narrator, is not so much an unreliable narrator as a naive narrator who believes in the internal world he has created and acts upon it as if it were truth. Through so much of the novel I kept asking myself why he could not see the illogical conclusions he was drawing, but of course that is what this novel is about, his inability to leave his chil ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: When We Were Orphans 1 8 Jan 14, 2013 07:00AM  
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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 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.

His first novel, A Pale
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More about Kazuo Ishiguro...
“All I know is that I've wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I'd get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don't want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow's sky. That's what I want now, and I think it's what you should want too. But it will be too late soon. We'll become too set to change. If we don't take our chance now, another may never come for either of us.” 297 likes
“Perhaps there are those who are able to go about their lives unfettered by such concerns. But for those like us, our fate is to face the world as orphans, chasing through long years the shadows of vanished parents. There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.” 62 likes
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