There is something pleasant about books that take their time. In a world where bestsellers filled with rough and tumble detectives and cut-throat espionage, it’s hard not to think that in a world more and more dedicated to immediate satisfaction, we are losing sight of the truly haunting and human experiences that can take place when we give characters room to breathe.
The Buried Giant falls quite cozily into the form of those books whose authors are confident enough to take their time and for that I absolutely adore it. This not to say that it is without plot, or that it wanders, indeed the plotting is tight and at no point do you feel that Ishiguro has anything but complete control over the narrative routine he is performing. What The Buried Giant does is give those greater moments of actions context by taking the time to let its characters interact and by proxy build the world around it, giving every action a weight that sips and settles like fine scotch. Axl and Beatrice’s journey relishes the world as it was, contemplating the hates, loves, and fears of the everyday, while slowly building towards a much higher ending.
Their world is one that seems to straddle the ground where magic began to fade to superstition. It is about a history lost to memory, where peace settles the world like rotten wood and whispers of loss haunt the world like captured phantoms. It is a dark place, but one I was still loath to leave, always wondering what lay hidden in the brush scattered across the moor.
The book strikes me in much the same way Gaiman’s Anansi Boys did, it uses it’s magical setting to dig into something deeper. Gaiman’s entry settled more towards tale, while Ishiguro is more searching, pleading through his setting to find something true, something among the hidden bodies of an era devoid of record. Your answer to that question may vary, but the skill with which the question is asked is worth your time on it’s own.
“Be merciful and leave this place. Leave this country to rest in forgetfulness.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant