Most writers who develop a devoted readership over time do it with a series of books that offer comforting similarity. It’s easy for their fans to return again and again to the tried and true. It’s far more rare for someone to pull off the same trick by never repeating himself. You wouldn’t think that an author who achieved fame with his realistic portrait of a repressed butler in a grand manor house would then turn to Kafkaesque surreality in depicting the experiences of a musician in Central Europe. He certainly wouldn’t veer off into dystopic science fiction after that, leaving his followers utterly unable to imagine what he’d come up with next. Unless his name was Kazuo Ishiguro.
The wait is over. With his latest novel, The Buried Giant, Ishiguro again combines his insider’s knowledge with his outsider’s sensibility to write a book that no one else could. He’s reached all the way back to the origins of English literature for the particulars of his story, but the uneasy mood it creates is very much of the present day. The Buried Giant is about confused, desperate, and disconnected people who roam a fragmented country, but its characters (and its readers) still find a way to draw themselves together around a glimmering fire of hope. It’s a remarkable book that fulfills and confounds all readerly expectation at once.
–James Crossley, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA