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Book Reviews

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro Book Review

Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s so dreadfully boring that you contemplate starting a fire with the book and warming yourself up a little.

Indeed, I sometimes got the impression she was unable properly to breathe anything other than the air surrounding the most distinguished persons.

“When we were Orphans”  follows Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, who is orphaned at age nine when his mother and father both vanish under suspicious circumstances. Sent to live in England, he grows up to become a renowned detective and, more than twenty years later, returns to Shanghai, where the Sino-Japanese War is raging, to solve the mystery of the disappearances.

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Excerpts

Never let me go * Kazuo Ishiguro Quote

Driving around the country now, I still see things that will remind me of Hailsham. I might pass the corner of a misty field, or see part of a large house in the distance as I come down the side of a valley, even a particular arrangement of poplar trees up on a hillside, and I’ll think: “Maybe that’s it! I’ve found it! This actually is Hailsham!” Then I see it’s impossible and I go on driving, my thoughts drifting on elsewhere.

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Book Reviews

Kazuo Ishiguro – Never let me go

I first heard of this story when going through Margaret Atwood’s collection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy material called “In other worlds”. She was talking about this novel and the introduction of cloning and the life of clones bred purely for organ harvesting and I must say I got interested. Having read The Remains of the Day, The Buried Giant and very recently A pale view of the hills, I knew I was in for a long haul. A long book with a disturbing recurring theme and a twist finale.

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Book Reviews

Keiko’s suicide – A pale view from the hills * Kazuo Ishiguro

At the beginning of the novel, Etsuko explains that she does not want to be reminded of her past. She rejects everything that is attached to Japan and does not even want to give her second daughter a Japanese name (names her Nikki). It is not clear at this point of the story why she refuses to talk about the past, but it soon becomes obvious that she has not yet overcome the suicide of her daughter, Keiko. She feels responsible as she has left Japan and her husband, even though she has assumed that Keiko would not be happy in England.

But such things are long in the past now and I have no wish to ponder them yet again. My motives for leaving Japan were justifiable, and I know I always kept Keiko’s interests very much at heart. There is nothing to be gained in going over such matters again.

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Book Reviews

A pale view of the hills * Kazuo Ishiguro

I’ve only read The Buried Giant and The Remains of the Day and when I looked on my book wish-list, I saw Kazuo Ishiguro’s dazzling debut novel called “A pale view of the hills” and I closed my eyes and made the purchase. When I saw the tiny book (181 pages which to my accounts is TINY!) that came back, I started wondering whether it’s going to have enough time to unfurl into a well-written piece.

It’s only when I hit the 70% mark I realized this was going to be a VERY, VERY well written-book with a good twist. As we’re still on the Mental Disability Awareness Month, I shall add this book to that list at number 11. All the characters are mentally disturbed to a point, we have two suicides and characters on the bridge between autistic and suffering from schizophrenia. Or both. I loved it.