Andy's Reviews > When We Were Orphans

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
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's review
Nov 20, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 2006

This was a genuinely exciting novel. Like others of Ishiguro's works, (if I remember right) its narrative mode is a conversational first-person style, with journalistic chronology in which the narrator relays sections of the story to the reader without know what happens beyond the end of the current section. Since the story is seen entirely through the lens of the narrator's perspective, the gap between his understanding and reality is a key component of the story's tension, as well as the central constructor of its meaning.

Some of his other books suffer from a lack of dramatic effect, because of that narrative style and the difficulty in building any kind of tension. This one doesn't - the plot works into the narrator's psychology and create a gripping story. The conclusion is disappointing (not in its execution by Ishiguro, but in the plot's unravelling into anticlimax, something he intends and executes very well). But that's true of every Ishiguro book I've read. This one was edgy enough to keep it interesting.

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