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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 otherworldly - 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.

©2015 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2015 Faber Audio

Critic reviews

"A deeply affecting portrait of marital love." (Guardian)

"A beautiful, heart-breaking book." (Observer)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    290
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    247
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    121
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    49
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    31

Performance

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    62
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    9

Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

44 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Hmmmm

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.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn't bear to finish

All the right ingredients, but nothing enjoyable in how it came together. Can't recommend. Uncomfortable!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Beautiful but slow going

A beautiful story wonderfully read. However it felt like it always needed nudging to keep it moving. But that aside I enjoyed it & would recommend it (to anyone not looking for a fast pace).

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea

Although excellently narrated and written well I found this book tedious and without a story. I am sure there is some deep message within the text but I did not enjoy it at all. It was a struggle to continue listening past chapter 2.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Complex, rich and heartbreaking

It will leave you hollow and affected by a deep loneliness at the cruelty of men's hearts.

Brilliantly written, heartbreaking and full of nostalgia for a time that never was and a people who never were

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Slow & gentle, with rising intrigue and richness.

I was not sure at first, but when they leave the village the elderly couple at the heart of this novel got under my skin and drew me on into their forgetful world. I slowly became more and more involved with their story and impressed with the author's vision of the mythical dark ages. Many of the old elements are included; Saxons and Britons, ogres, monks, a castle and even a dragon. But all these things are made new and at its heart this is a touching story about healing and memory.

This is my favourite book for quite a long time.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Seriously, what am I missing?

Would you try another book written by Kazuo Ishiguro or narrated by David Horovitch?

Nope.

What was most disappointing about Kazuo Ishiguro’s story?

The story itself. I was disappointed by how bored I was. After all the critical acclaim, I was frustrated by this meandering yammer that never gets to anything of substance.

What three words best describe David Horovitch’s voice?

Gasping, droning, wet mouth noises.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

All of the above. Is there someone out there who was blown away by this pulp? Can you please explain it to me?

Any additional comments?

This book made me look forward to getting to work in the morning and switching off the app.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ellijay
  • PORTSMOUTH, United Kingdom
  • 25-03-15

Did Not Engage Me

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It was too wordy.

Would you ever listen to anything by Kazuo Ishiguro again?

Yes

What didn’t you like about David Horovitch’s performance?

His narration was fine

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The old couples love for each other

Any additional comments?

Unsuitable for those who like a jolly good yarn

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

captivating

an excellent narration of a captivating story full of myth, legend and love. the story of Axel and Beatrix is both reassuring and yet tense.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michele Kawamura
  • 06-08-18

great story, but very tiresome

great story, buy very tiresome. I struggled to finish, almost gave up a few times.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ines
  • 11-03-18

A beautifully read allegory

Who was your favorite character and why?

The old couple Axl and Beatrice, because of their loving and respectful relationship.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene by the lake when they speak to the old lady.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the narrator's voice and the soothing and not too performative way of telling this story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marcus Baumgart
  • 14-05-15

Exceptional

This book was dreamy and magical, with a light, deliberate pace. I don't think I understood all of the story's elements and themes, but I enjoyed it very much. It's really a love story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • amalie pisani
  • 27-04-15

A book to treasure, a story to return to.

A masterful performance of a skillfully crafted story, rich in purpose and imagery. There is a compelling beauty in this universal theme of remembering and forgetting, of a personal quest and the soul's essential journey.