Hayes's Reviews > When We Were Orphans

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
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's review
Apr 21, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011
Recommended for: Gahan is next
Read in April, 2011


Loved the beginning which talks about the main character's childhood in Shanghai. Then the parents disappear. And the story went on too long*. And by the time it had got to where it was going I had lost interest. And while I had not figured out exactly what had happened, I had figured out whodunnit, which is always annoying, especially as I don't ever work too hard at it. I don't think it's supposed to be a surprise, really. But it's still annoying.

The prose was lovely most of the time. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, and flashbacks within flashbacks; the story spirals forward ever so teasingly slowly. It is very well done and makes the beginning of the book a real winner, but it begins to feel like a wild goose chase and becomes tiresome towards the middle.

* So what else is new? Most books go on too long.
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Reading Progress

03/30/2011 page 20
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Bettie☯ Ah-hah! I see I must have this on audio in one of the storage units; a little rooting around this evening might bring it to light then I can join you.


Hayes I'm just at the beginning and I'm loving it. I love Ishiguro's language.

message 3: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona Ooh, I have loads of Ishiguro books... yet I've only read one (The Unconsoled - weird) but his language is beautiful. I really must read another of his. I think I'd have enjoyed The Unconsoled a lot more now, rather then when I did read it.

message 4: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona I have this one too and been looking forward to it - got it off Bookmooch though and it stinks of smoke.

Hayes Ew.... leave it out in the sun for a bit.

message 6: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona Or in the rain, as it is today in murky old England. ;)

Hayes Here too... hail and thunderstorms in sunny Italy.

Bettie☯ How are you finding it Hayes?

Hayes It has such a strange atmosphere, and the spirally slow teasing way of moving the story forward. I really like it.

Bettie☯ What is your most enjoyable current read?

Bettie☯ Hayes wrote: "It has such a strange atmosphere, and the spirally slow teasing way of moving the story forward. I really like it."

I'll keep at it then

Hayes I would find it confusing as an audio, what with all the back flashes. how are you making out?

Hayes Bettie wrote: "What is your most enjoyable current read?"

This one and Daughter of Fortune are both good. Had to give up on The Brothers. Loved Anna K., but I don't think Dostoevsky is for me.

Bettie☯ I didn't really see you as a D gal, or as going for any Russian stuff with any zeal, you need warmer themes. I have some corkers on the go at the moment:

Hunting Midnight
Angle of Repose
One of Our Thursdays is Missing
The Tiger's WifeThe Little Ottleys
The Little Ottleys

Two of these I can see you enjoying: The Little Ottleys and Angle of Repose. The Allende looks very tasty indeed and sort of matches in with Angle of Repose theme.

Have a lovely day and hope your chores are of the enjoyable sort

Hayes Bettie wrote: "The Allende looks very tasty indeed..."


Bettie☯ Hayes wrote: "Bettie wrote: "The Allende looks very tasty indeed..."


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Yes please!

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Hayes, I appreciate your review (and the timing of it) because I was just considering this book. I will put it off at least.

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