Melissa Maerz
March 05, 2015 AT 04:40 PM EST

The Buried Giant

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Kazuo Ishiguro
publisher
Knopf
genre
Novel

We gave it a B-

Kurt Vonnegut once said that all characters should want something, even if it’s only a glass of water. With The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro has made that longing into an art, writing poetic novels about quiet, passionate people who never quite get what they ache for. In his latest an elderly couple, a Saxon warrior, and a boy struggle to remember their lives through a “mist of forgetfulness” that plagues Britain after King Arthur’s fall. It’s a fitting metaphor for the way memory shapes love and national identity. But when the mist leads the foursome to battle a literal dragon, Giant becomes something less magical: a standard fairy tale that grants the hero’s wish. B–

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