THE BURIED GIANT

Kazuo Ishiguro

From one of the most preeminent writers of our times comes The Buried Giant, an extraordinary new novel that poses powerful questions about love, loss, and mortality. The novel centers around an elderly couple, Beatrice and Axl, who set out on an epic journey through war-torn lands in hopes of finding their son. As they contend with the physical hardships of their journey, they also encounter danger from a variety of mystical elements: ogres, demons, and an ever-present fog that makes memory elusive. With the help of a brash yet determined knight and a mysterious young boy,

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From one of the most preeminent writers of our times comes The Buried Giant, an extraordinary new novel that poses powerful questions about love, loss, and mortality. The novel centers around an elderly couple, Beatrice and Axl, who set out on an epic journey through war-torn lands in hopes of finding their son. As they contend with the physical hardships of their journey, they also encounter danger from a variety of mystical elements: ogres, demons, and an ever-present fog that makes memory elusive. With the help of a brash yet determined knight and a mysterious young boy, they travel across lands familiar and strange, ever closer to learning their son’s fate. What they end up discovering along the way, though, leads them in surprising directions that will forever alter the fabric of their relationship—as well as the history of their embattled homeland.

At once both brutal and affecting, Ishiguro’s novel is a fresh take on the hero’s journey. With unforgettable characters and a pace that rivets, The Buried Giant is sure to resonate as a classic for years to come.

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  • Vintage
  • Paperback
  • January 2016
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780307455796

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$16.00

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About Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro’s seven previous books have won him wide renown and numerous honors. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. Both The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have sold more than one million copies, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films.

Praise

“Spectacular … The Buried Giant has the clear ring of legend, as graceful, original and humane as anything Ishiguro has written.” —The Washington Post

Discussion Questions

1. In Chapter Two, Axl and Beatrice have an uncomfortable encounter with a boatman and an old woman. Discuss the significance of this interaction. How did you interpret the woman’s odd behavior? How does this meeting with the boatman echo throughout the novel?

2. When Beatrice and Axl visit the Saxon village, Ivor apologizes for the fact that his community set on them like “crazed wolves” (59). At what other points in the novel is human behavior described as animalistic?

3. How does Edwin’s memory of his mother change throughout the novel? Discuss the incident in which he is stuck in the barn. How does his mother’s voice act as a protective force? How much of his recollection of his mother do you think is accurate versus fabricated?

4. Discuss the themes of trust and deception throughout The Buried Giant. How does the mist cause distrust between people? At what points do we see doubt creep into Axl and Beatrice’s relationship? Their relationships with other characters?

5. Several characters are described as “warriors.” What values or traits are intrinsic to this label? How does honor factor into a warrior’s conduct?

6. Gawain leads Beatrice, Axl, and Edwin through an underground tunnel from the monastery that they had believed to be a place of refuge. Why do you think each character sees different things during their trek? Do you think the brutality described in this scene is imagined?

7. Beatrice and Axl have a horrifying experience while trying to ford a river. Discuss this scene, and the grotesque descriptions within it. What is the significance of Axl’s interaction with the woman on the boat? Why do you think Beatrice’s memory is so greatly affected during this scene? What does this part of their journey reveal about their relationship?

8. Axl and Beatrice’s relationship is marked by tenderness and mutual affection throughout the novel. Were you surprised by the revelation? How did you interpret their final interactions in the last chapter of the novel?

9. Why do you think Ishiguro chose to have the final chapter of the book come from the perspective of the boatman?