Time to Kill
So, I started this book a weeks after I first saw it. I was awaiting my train at South Station in Boston, when in a second fit of boredom, perused the newsstand. I don’t normally buy books, but I had a 7 hour train ride and no headphones. I could have bought some at a 250% markup, but in this case a book would’ve sufficed. Amidst the plethora of “Classy Porn” novels, I happened to see a minimalistic cover design. The book was The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.
On the cover was an author recommendation from Neil Gaiman. After all, I love his writing. I checked my credit renewal and I was up for one in a few days. On the train I went with no Buried Giant.
Credit time arrived and I picked it up, or downloaded it to be precise. The beginning of the story provides the basic premise right away. The Buried Giant revolves around an older couple, Axl and Beatrice. They live in Great Britain during a post King Arthur era. No one in the country can recall their own past precisely. Through some discussions, the couple decide they want to visit there son, who lives in another village on an island.
The village Axl and Beatrice live in is a small close knit community, where everyone has a specific integral role. With these roles being filled by usually one to two people, the couple seeks permission from the town to visit their son. After some hoopla in the town, they get their wish and set off for the island.
What’s Going On?
The next ten hours of the book are where I start to imbue the haze of confusion the Britons and Saxons face in this novel. Axl and Beatrice meet some supporting characters (a knight, a Saxon warrior, and a Saxon child) along the way that have their own facades and hidden agendas, good and bad. With the constant questioning of their past and forgetfulness of current thought, I frequently lost my way.
With the climax of the story, came some clarity and the point to the memory robbing haze. The “wizard” behind the curtain starts to show his face. While listening, I thought often on how much it would suck to be robbed of the good memories. Not so much on the bad.
At this point of the book you start to grasp the bad side of the forgotten.
Overall I enjoyed the story. While the details and symbolism were lost on me, I feel another read through is in order. I tend to overthink details when I feel symbolism is being used, even when I’m unsure.
The closing of the book is where I was lost. I re-listened four times and I never quite got it. The allusion of Axl’s actions befuddled me. I did some research and apparently I’m not the only one.
I started to look up some other reviews, when what did I find? A review from Neil Gaiman himself in the book review of The New York Times. Naturally I read the review and boy was it eloquent.
Neil’s version is more like a well written story of, a story, and mine more on the line of jibber jabber. This one line “…narrative tone is dreamlike….” This is the best way anyone could describe The Buried Giant. There couldn’t be anymore succinct a line about The Buried Giant than that.