Publishing Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Pages: 352 pages
Literary Adventure Fiction
The Premise: Set in England during the time of the Saxons and Britons and where the Saxons have gained control of the East and the Britons West with some Arthurian hints, the book follows an elderly couple Axl and Beatrice. The couple are ill treated by their fellow villages and deal with problems such as not getting a candle. They are both clearly very much in love with each other and care for one another deeply and they decide to go along on an awaited journey of visiting their son. When you first meet this couple, they begin talking about memories and how there is something in the “mist” that has caused their forgetfulness. As they travel to their son, mysteries unravel and they encounter a lot of people along the way (Sir Gawain for example!) and it brings the reader to the question of, are somethings better off not remembering at all?
My overall thoughts and review: This is Ishiguro's first book in ten years and as a fan of him, I was incredibly excited to hear about his new one. This IS my most anticipated book of the year and it is finally here!! When I was at the RHC Blogger event a few weeks ago, one of the girls stated that although all his books are different in tone, they still very much have the essence of Ishiguro and this book is very much that. Ishiguro takes the reader to a completely different setting than before, but is able to tackle questions of identity and self through a different approach. I really enjoyed that the book was set in that setting and for it to contain post-Arthurian bits. I was so excited when I saw the name Gawain pop up in my book and I immediately made the connection to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (a text I read in my undergrad years and thoroughly enjoyed). I loved that there was a high level of mystery involved in the text and it kept building with each chapter and each step that Beatrice and Axl took. The mystery does kind of "unravel" itself in the final chapter and I would say it took me completely by surprise - I loved it. I can't sing my praises loud enough for this book. Not only does it have Ishiguro's hand in the beautiful passages that we know and love from his other books but I really feel that this book brings about feelings of sadness, memories, forgetfulness and really encourages the reader to kind of situate themselves in that setting and then to reevaluate those feelings onto themselves. Overall, this was a lovely book about relationships, family, memories and what we choose to remember. If you are a fan of Ishiguro, you will not be disappointed by this at all. And if this is your first time reading Ishiguro, I hope you will enjoy it and that it encourages you to pick up more Ishiguro books.
One of my favorite authors Neil Gaiman recently wrote a review for the book here for the NYTIMES which I definitely think is worth the read and if you go to Kazuo Ishiguro's facebook page here, there are quite a few videos and posts from Ishiguro himself about the book which I found incredibly insightful about the book.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.