Book: When we were orphans - Livre d'Or — LiveJournal

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Book: When we were orphans
Monday, 04 September 2006 at 08:53 pm

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Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Details: (c) Kazuo Ishiguro 2000; Pub 2001 Faber & Faber; ISBN 0 571 20516 X

Verdict: When we were orphans is ok but I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

Reasons for reading it: Ishiguro is much talked about in literary circles and I'd been meaning to read it for a while.

How it came into my hands: Another one I've had lying around and have forgotten exactly where I picked it up.

I just couldn't see why When we were orphans is supposed to be so utterly fantastic. There aren't any glaring technical flaws, but it reads as a rather bland though not by any means awful detective story. The pacing is very slow, and the narrator is rather unsympathetic though not in a way that completely alienates the reader. I think it might be meant to be a sort of allegory and commentary on colonialism and its aftermath, which is sort of interesting, but it didn't grab me as a story.

Without being pretentious, it's an obviously clever book, messing with the reader's expectations and commenting on itself and making lots of allusions. But that's not the sort of thing I enjoy when there isn't anything else to a book. Does anybody else have a theory, or better, a personal opinion, as to what's supposed to be so exciting about this?

Whereaboooots: 1930s Shanghai
Moooood: blahblah
Tuuuuune: The Cure: Pictures of you
Discussion: 3 contributions | Contribute something

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rysmiel: wilde thing
Date:September 5th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
24 minutes after journal entry, 03:19 pm (rysmiel's time)
I've not actually read any Ishiguro; I am immensely fond of the film of The Remains of the Day, but so much of that is because of Anthony Hopkins that I feel no huge urge to check out the book, particularly as I gather a lot of what makes the book work is having the POV and internal thoughts of a central character who in the film is really remarkably portrayed, achieving a great deal by showing almost nothing, so it would be a massive shift of focus.

Did you ever get around to reading the Vlad Taltos books I sent you when you first moved there ?
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livredor: ewe
Date:September 5th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 09:02 pm (livredor's time)
I haven't read your Vlad Taltos books yet, sorry. The main reason why is not a very good one, namely that I ran into skzbrust being a complete and utter twat in a blog discussion I was participating in just at the moment I was about to start reading the book. And that put me off, which I admit it probably shouldn't have.
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Date:September 12th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
6 days after journal entry

Didn't like it either

Yuk, I didn't like it either - and I thought the ending was terrible - very unsatisfying. It was as if the whole book was leading to...basically nothing.

Try "Never Let Me Go". I thought it was much better.
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