|| Book Club || Buried Giants - Kazuo Ishiguro ||

This month for book club we chose The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. As usual here is some background and some questions to start your book club discussion:

A bit about the author

  • Ishiguro is a Japanese-British novelist, screenwriter and short story writer.
  • Born in Nagasaki, Japan; Ishiguro’s family moved to England when he was five in 1960. 
  • He has received four nominations for the Man Booker Prize nominations, winning the 1989 award for his novel The Remains of the Day. 
  •  The Buried Giant is his 7th novel.

Questions

(Note: I borrowed pretty heavily from Like Bears to Honey and Knof Double Day Reading Center which actually have much better, more eloquent versions of these questions)

  • Was this book what you expected?
  • Who was your favourite character?
  • What was your favourite scene?
  • Discuss Ishiguro’s portrayal of the memory loss associated with the mist. What worked for you, what didn’t? What is this story saying about memory? 
  • The book has a very specific tone and has bene criticised for the overtly flowery, unrealistic dialogue. What did you think of the way the characters spoke?
  • This is a quest style story. How is the idea of the hero’s quest portrayed in modern culture? How does Ishiguro’s story conform to the standards of this literary trope? How does it defy it?
  • What did you think of Axl and Beatrice’s relationship? Did the revelations about their relationship, as they gained their memory back surprise you? 
  • Discuss the scene under the monastery in the tunnel. Each character sees different things - bats, dead infants. Why? 
  • Discuss Gawain and Tristan. Which character was more interesting/better drawn.
  • There is a repeating story about a boatman in this book. What does it mean? Why is it included?
  • The perspective changes in the last chapter to be first person. Why did Ishiguro do this? Also – lets discuss that ending!
  • Talk about the horrifying scene with Beatrice and Axl in the boat, trying to travel down the river. 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?