The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro is a fantasy novel, and is completely different from the two other books I have read by this author, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.
The story follows the travels of an elderly Christian couple, Axl and Beatrice, who live in England just after the time of King Arthur, along with ogres and dragons and other mythical beasts. Despite being of an age where their knowledge would traditionally be valued, Axl and Beatrice are tormented by children and are not permitted to have a candle in their room, which is a long way from the community’s fire. Both Axl and Beatrice are concerned about their own and their community’s forgetfulness about matters that have previously been important to them.
Axl and Beatrice clearly have a great love for each other, although Axl calling Beatrice ‘Princess’ every time he spoke to her was irritating.
Beatrice and Axl set off on a journey to visit their son, although at times they are not even sure if they ever had a son, as they cannot clearly remember their past. Early in the journey they met with a boatman whose role is to ferry people to an island, either together if their love is true, or if not, alone.
Axl and Beatrice arrived at a town where the townspeople were in a panicked frenzy over a boy who has been taken by demons. When the boy was rescued by a visiting warrior and returned, the superstitions of the townspeople endangered the boy’s life, so he and the warrior left town with Axl and Beatrice, and continued their travels together.
I stopped reading at about this point, because I couldn’t figure out what was going on, or what anything meant. Plus, I kept getting distracted, and thinking things like, ‘I must go and make the bed’, or ‘The bathroom really needs cleaning’, which I think actually meant, I should find another book to read instead of The Buried Giant, as it wasn’t for me. I didn’t even flick through to the end, to see if Axl and Beatrice made it back to the boatman to take their last journey together.
The Remains of the Day is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I loved Never Let Me Go, so I won’t be put off reading other books by this author. I don’t usually enjoy fantasy, so I’m putting my disinterest in The Buried Giant down to that.