A Pale View Of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
ON DEBUT DELIGHTS
I’ve been working on my own debut for several months now, honing it with my agent to turn it into what I hope will be the very best book that it can, indeed, be. Having reached a significant milestone in my writing process a week ago, I treated myself to this one, the debut of one of my favourite authors.
Having been (very) late to the Ishiguro party — I hadn’t read any of his books before Klara and the Sun which completely blew me away — I now ration his novels as I need to know I still have more to look forward to. This is my fifth and it did not disappoint.
Set in postwar Japan and England in the 1980s, it centres on Etsuko. Her eldest daughter has recently died by suicide and now, she looks back to one particular summer in Japan, attempting to understand.
It is in 1950s Japan that a young, pregnant Etsuko meets Sachiko, mother of the troubled Mariko and learns snippets of their story. As the novel unfolds, the parallels between these two women’s lives become ever more — and eerily — apparent. Ishiguro is considered by many to be the master of the unreliable narrator and we see the beginnings of this here, in his very first book. I’ll say no more on this in particular as I really don’t want to spoil it!
Hugely accomplished, brilliantly constructed and one that’ll keep you thinking long after you’ve closed it, I read A Pale View of Hills in one day. In true Ishiguro style, it tackles major and thought provoking themes in the most mind bogglingly simple of ways. Never one to waste a single word, I know I truly savoured each and every one. Oh and in case I haven’t made it clear — I bloody loved it! ~ S