A Pale View of Hills [Audiobook]
22 October 2013, 13:31
1999 | MP3@96 kbps + EPUB + MOBI | 5 hrs 59 mins | 247.06MB
Ishiguro achieved this incredible debut novel by holding in the reins and managing to tell only what he felt necessary.
The story tells of a Japanese lady, Etsuko, now living in England. Her first daughter, Keiko, has committed suicide by hanging herself, alone, in a flat in Manchester. It is the story of Etsuko looking back through her memories, trying to make sense of what happened, trying to pull some ends together. But we, just like she, are left unsure. She finds some answers but even more questions. Ishiguro has brilliantly transported us into the world of memory, dream, illusion. In her search for answers, Etsuko looks back at her life in Nagasaki less than a decade after the devastation of the atomic bomb.
Typically, Ishiguro chooses not to look at this event directly. Instead he presents us with the disturbed and confused lives of those who survived. There is Mrs Fujiwara, bravely running a noodle shop, trying to be positive even though her husband and nearly all her children were killed. There is Etsuko's father-in-law, a teacher before and during the war who is struggling to come to terms with living in a society where everything he lived for is written off as evil brainwashing. Japan is trying to wash its hands clean of his type, and yet he appears such a decent and fair person.
These characters are just the background to the main story but they are so brilliantly drawn. I shall not even try to clarify Etsuko's search for reasons. Let yourself be taken into her elegaic but ultimately futile look at her life in Japan before she left. The main issue underlying this story is the question of searching for self-fulfilment or submitting oneself to the restrictions of the society in which one lives.
This is a dark novel, and I felt the pain in this novel so much more on a second reading. This should however by no means deter you from reading it. The language is so beautiful and delicate that it will carry you through. It is not a novel to try to solve, instead it is one to submit yourself to, and let it work its wonders on you. Like me, you may well find yourself returning to it a second time. I'm very sure I will be returning to it again, and I'm also sure there will be yet more there for me next time. - By Ken Fordyce
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