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Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

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Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
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SPOILER ALERT!

The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant: A novel - Kazuo Ishiguro

Wow....I liked this book much much more than I expected to.

 

Post-Arthurian England. Axl and Beatrice are an elderly couple of Christian Britons. They have been struggling with memory, and realize that everyone in their community is as well. They seem to be the only ones who notice—perhaps due to their age and experience and what should be a wealth of memories? They decide it is time to go visit their son in his village, before they forget about him completely. And their community allows them to make the trip.

 

Travel at the time is not easy—and they have the aches and pains of the old. Their are ogres, and bandits, and pixies to watch out for. Who can be trusted? They must find shelter before dark, every day.

 

First they head to a nearby Saxon village. Beatrice has been there several times int he past, selling wares from their community. She speaks their language and hopes to see a healer there. Then they arrive amid an upheaval—some of the town's men have been killed and a teen boy taken. Only a traveling warrior is willing to try to save him.

 

After the warrior does save the boy, Axl and Beatrice travel with them, going to a monastery where an old monk knows more of healing to help with Beatrice's pain. On the way they meet Sir Gawain, a knight of Arthur, whose mission is to kill the dragon—the same mission as Wistan, the warrior. Sir Gawain has been unsuccessful, so another has been sent. And Gawain feels he recognizes Axl from past exploits. Axl, of course, has very limited memory.

 

And there we go. What will happen to the dragon? Will they even find her? Who wants her alive and why? What is The Buried Giant? Will Axl and Beatrice make it to their son safely?

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In many ways this is a retelling of Pilgrim's Progress. But do the characters know what their mission is? Not exactly, because of the dragon's breath mist. Though we can guess, as they themselves struggle to remember their past actions. Ishiguro's writing is so calm, and something always seems to be lurking just below the surface. There is additional meaning everywhere—somehow, he manages to let you know what is coming without ever actually saying anything outright.

 

I really wish I had someone to discuss this book with!