Friday, November 8, 2019

The Buried GiantThe Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I admit that I liked this well enough. For what it is. At first it seemed more like a light fable but then it became a full-out allegory reminiscent of some bastard child of Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table and The Pilgrim's Progress.

If you like this kind of thing, with a pair of old people meeting up with another pair of old people to go on a long meandering journey of lost memories and misty time only a few years after King Arthur's death, stumbling along a grey shadow world to, at last, defeat a mythical dragon that poisons the land of the Brittons and the Saxons, then I seriously think you ought to read this book.

It's well done in a very old tradition, briefly touching upon what might appear to be modern fantasy but really isn't anything of the sort.

This is old fantasy. Some of the oldest traditional fantasies we have, dressed up in plain speech and designed to touch the modern reader without going into any kind of mealy-mouthed religiosity, instead keeping things very much on the surface.

The reveals were fascinating to anticipate. The journey filled me with ill-defined dread.

The end, however, to this allegory... well, it's kinda average.

Expected. Old-school.

I mean, Sir Gawain is an old knight here. Sir Wisdom is an interesting, if horrific, plot device.

Does this deserve all the accolades? Maybe, but only if you're in the old school literati wanting a good treatment of old subjects done in a modern way. Everyone else might be a little bored. Or disgruntled at the lack of big giants rising up out of the ground with huge armies actively trying to defeat its greatest foe. Any of that will merely be recalled in the deep past or anticipated for the future.

This one is mostly only about the old folks.

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