Before going into the review I want to tell you how I came across this book. Well, as some of you know I live in Surabaya, Indonesia and you would think that you wouldn't be able to get a hold of many books in English, but that isn't true. Surprisingly, Indonesians love reading books in English.
So I spotted this book about a year ago in the book store and just loved the cover at first sight, picked it up and found out that it takes place in about 6th century Britain sometime after King Arthur's death. I absolutely love this time period. So I eventually picked it up after passing by it too many times in the bookstore buying other books on my wishlist.
I may have read and reviewed this much later than most people but I have to say it was definitely worth the time put into this book. With no further wait, here's BookMattic's review of The Buried Giant.
Set in 6th century Britain, The Buried Giant follows an old Briton couple, Axl and Beatrice, across their homeland in search of their long lost son whom they have not seen in who knows how long, they don't even know due to the land being invaded by a mysterious mist which robs the inhabitants of most of their long term memories and even some short term ones too. What causes this mist? How will the old yet persistent protagonists beat this mist down so they can remember where their son resides?
Somehow Axl and Beatrice's memory of their son has not been forgotten. This is one thing that we know throughout the book, Beatrice will not give up on looking for her son.
So the premise of The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro is fairly simple yet there are many intricacies that make this book worthwhile to read. One of those was the main character, Axl. I really loved Axl! He was portrayed as an elderly man, but had a fire burning deep inside him which gave him a power that you wouldn't expect from an old man. He was always there to protect his sweet elderly wife, Beatrice.
The Buried Giant would be completely different without the supporting characters and the other intricacies that I would like to mention in this review. Wistan the Saxon warrior, sent by his king in the Fens to investigate Britain, was a wonderful addition to this story with his cunning strength and wise beyond his years, the book would not have been the same without him. Plus he had a key role in helping Axl and Beatrice.
Then there was the ancient knight in creaky armour, Sir Gawain, also another Briton and nephew to the late King Arthur. Kazuo Ishiguro was brilliant bringing this old knight into the book as well as adding some actual true history. His character was very tired from long years of serving Arthur even after his death and also had a sensitivity to his past. He also played a major role in helping Axl and Beatrice.
There were only a few things that I was disappointed with. One was Ishiguro's use of the word princess. I guess he couldn't think of any other words of endearment for Axl to call his wife. Axl would always find a way to call Beatrice princess. I literally mean ALWAYS! That got a bit annoying. Also the book is categorized as fantasy but it doesn't quite feel like fantasy until about a third of the way through.
Other than that I felt that Ishiguro's writing style and descriptive language were compelling and drew a good picture in my mind about the atmosphere in the lives of these characters and the land of Britons and Saxon people. I'm curious to know if Ishiguro plans on making a second book to this maybe following one of the supporting characters. I would snatch up a copy instantly if that were the case. Overall I recommend this book to fans of fantasy and 6th century era Britain.