Ishiguro wrote the brilliant The Remains of the Day (winner of the Booker prize) with the movie starring Anthony Hopkins receiving rave reviews, so I was interested to read this latest work if only for the author’s leap across genres into fantasy literature. The Buried Giant is set post King Arthur in a Britain filled with giants, pixies, dragons, ogres and sword-swinging Arthurian knights. Sounds great so far. Initially the plodding narrative matches the journey of an old couple, Axl and Beatrice, the emotional center of the work, who set off to find a son who may or may not be alive. Britain is swathed in a mystical mist which has made people forget the past and so their journey becomes one of remembering as they cross paths with an aged Arthurian knight, a Saxon warrior and manage to get into scrapes with monsters and monks. Eventually they get caught up in a quest to kill a dragon. buried_giant_3220889a I have to say, Game of Thrones, this isn’t. The narrative is slow, the language very simplistic, which the author intended but which verges on repetition, and the atmosphere of the work generally gloomy. But, there are simple messages in Ishiguro’s novel subtly concealed within the carpentry of the book. The mist has made people forget the good and the bad. The bad, a past bloody war lead by King Arthur’s noble Britons that had devastating consequences for their Saxon neighbors. Hence the purpose of Merlin’s mist, to ensure past grievances remain forgotten; between kingdoms, between villages, between friends, between husband and wives. So the land is at peace, but once the mist vanishes … I’m sure you get the picture. Despite my summation, The Buried Giant is strangely compelling and the ending, although bittersweet, was deftly handled indeed.