Book Review – The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber and Faber, 2015)

Set in a post-Arthurian Britain, The Buried Giant is the tale of an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, who set off on a journey to find their missing son. Their journey is complicated by the fact that many people, including the couple themselves, have fallen under the spell of a strange mist which seems to cause amnesia.

I was so excited to read this after so much praise and quite a few recommendations from friends and various groups I’m in.

I began to read it and…sad to say…I can’t finish it!

For me, it was just such hard going that I groaned inwardly every time I picked up the book. I knew that this was not a good sign and that I should just give up. I very rarely abandon a book without finishing it, but this was one of those occasions where I just couldn’t keep going. If a book is making you feel like reading is a chore then, in my opinion, you need to stop reading it.

That’s not to say The Buried Giant is a bad book. It has many brilliant reviews and was a Sunday Times Best Seller. It’s just that, it’s not for me. Kazuo Ishiguro is a fantastic writer. I absolutely loved Never Let Me Go. I just didn’t get along with this one.

I felt no connection with the characters. They talked to each other so strangely that I couldn’t really relax into the book. And the action moved slower than a snail. This isn’t always a problem but when the characters are stilted in their conversations too, it makes for a very slow read.

So, in conclusion, I can’t give The Buried Giant a star rating because I feel that would be unfair as I didn’t finish it.

I didn’t like it, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t give it a go, especially if you’ve loved some of Ishiguro’s previous work.

Great for people who like a slow melancholic reflection on love and death. Not so great for those who like a well-paced novel.

 

 

Book Review – The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox

The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox (Orion Books, 2013)

The Goddess and the Thief was a book I’d put on my Christmas list last year because, as a book worm, a book is the perfect present.

I can’t remember how this book had come to my attention; whether it was a recommendation from friends on Goodreads, or whether it was from one of the many Facebook pages I have liked.

The blurb sounded promising. A girl, called Alice, is uprooted from her life in India and is made to live with her spiritual medium aunt in Windsor, in Victorian England. “Alice,” says the blurb, “is drawn into a plot to steal a sacred Indian diamond.”

After reading the novel The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (which I absolutely loved) I thought The Goddess and the Thief would be right up my street.

Except, it really wasn’t.

Unlike The Lie Tree, the heroine of The Goddess and the Thief doesn’t really do much. She spends most of the novel in her bedroom, or locked in bedrooms, or completely in the dark. She is always reacting to things and not being proactive at all.

I get it. That’s her story arc – from someone who reacts to events to someone taking control – but it’s so boring! And annoying. And, SPOILER (so if you don’t want to know, please don’t read on) at one point she is sexually assaulted and she swoons after the man who raped her. Not cool, not cool at all. Very, very damaging stuff that. Very troubling to read and I’m not easily troubled by stuff.

The blurb on Goodreads tells says that The Goddess and the Thief is “A beguiling and sensual Victorian novel of theft and obsession.”

No.

It may be a novel of theft and obsession but it really isn’t sensual. Creepy? Yes. Sensual…? Hell no!

And for that person at the back who is saying, “blimey, everyone is so easily offended these days!” F*#k off.

Only joking 🙂

I’m not easily offended, and, I’m not offended by this work. I just find things like this are so unhelpful.

Anyway, I give this book one out of five stars.

Many people on Amazon and Goodreads loved it. You might love it. It just didn’t float my boat.

Great for those who like beautiful prose (the first few chapters are beautifully written). Not great for those who like a pro-active heroine.