The Buried Giant

  • by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by David Horovitch
  • 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at last the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.
The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards - some strange and other-worldly - but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.
Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and and war.


What the Critics Say

'A deeply affecting portrait of marital love.' Guardian
'A beautiful, heart-breaking book.' Observer


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Can heroes or love survive the truth?

A strange beautiful book, that hides within a medieval fantasy, themes that reverberate with today's dilemmas of forgotten wars, deceiving clergy, and the very nature of heroism and love surviving the truth. At no point is this book blunt or gory, nor is it sweetly romantic or full of magical spells just a dream within a dream, that envelops even the reader, and creates images that are hard to dispel.
King Arthur is dead, some of his Knights are alive but are now old men, Britons and Saxons live in relative peace, a mist of forgetfulness cover the county where ogres and dragons still exist, this mist envelops the very story with all kinds of insinuations and perils, the main characters a couple that travel looking for their lost memories and a son that they claim awaits them, she is an old woman, named Beatrice a name laden with meaning and possibility in literature, for she is the guide in Paradiso and Purgatory In the Divine Comedy, her name means beatific vision, that means seeing God finally face to face and not imperfectly through faith. With her travels her husband and older man Axl his name is more distant in meaning, but for a small give-away he refers to Beatrice as princes, Axël is a drama by Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam about a Byronic hero with a Germanic princes, they speak of the amazing journeys never completed unlike in this story.
By now you begin to see that this book is reach and allegorical, full of hidden and and palpable minings. That develop in a dream like state, you meet a hero and within a few pages he reveals a side to himself that is tainted and dark; even the forgetfulness is a double sided blade; and the narrative voice hides mystery and meaning.
It will probably take me a long time to digest this book properly, and I will more than likely change my mind about some of these conclusions, but that is half the fun.
The reader of the story in perfect and maintains a cadence that to my ears is complementary to the story.
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- Wras


Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I'm still mulling over what I feel having finished The Buried Giant. While I was listening to it, I quite enjoyed certain parts, particular themes, it had some momentum, but I felt disappointed and frustrated by the story in the end. It promised but, for me anyway, failed to deliver on those promises. Maybe it's a book to be read in print, so one can conjure up one's own cast of characters.Ishiguro featured dragons and ogres but he failed to use them in an interesting way, almost as if he were ashamed of including them in the story in the first place. I'm not suggesting he took Tolkein's approach at all, but to ignore them as he did felt clumsy. Presumably if one lives in a land where ogres, pixies and dragons roam freely then I would imagine that one lives in a constant state of fear and people may have developed strategies to deal with said dangers. I didn't get this sense at all, the couple just meandered along, speaking in their strange stilted way to one another.I think my expectations were way too high.

What will your next listen be?

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

What three words best describe David Horovitch’s voice?

Versatile, downbeat, droning

Could you see The Buried Giant being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I can't imagine this book, as it stands, being a good movie. But maybe if it had a director with a good imagination a new genre of meta-fantasy film making might emerge.

Any additional comments?

If you're expecting literary fantasy then this book isn't for you. It has a lot of fans, I don't want to do it down, I guess it just wasn't my thing. I read the last 50 pages to see if I might enjoy it more than listening, but by that stage I just wanted to finish it and move on.

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- Jenny

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-03-2015
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd