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A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

1982, Penguin

We read this book for bookclub. Luckily, in spite of jetlag, Yvonne had just finished it before our meeting and could therefore remind me and Jane of specific plot elements we had sadly forgotten or not understood.


That is not to say we didn't like the book; we did. I found it quite beautiful, with poetic images of life in war-destroyed Japan and characterizations of difficult, inescapable choices faced by the victims trying to carry on with life.


The book is nostalgic and mysterious, with an enigma to solve. Yvonne said we may need to read it twice to understand exactly what happened. It's a very short book, so that wouldn't be difficult.


This is Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel. (Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1917, he wrote Remains of the Day and many other novels.) He originally wanted to be a songwriter (aha! that makes sense, his writing has a musical feel.) I like his explanation of his change of heart: "I used to see myself as some sort of musician type but there came a point when I thought: actually, this isn't me at all. I'm much less glamorous. I'm one of these people with corduroy jackets with elbow patches. It was a real comedown." (wikipedia)

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