Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
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Book: When we were orphans

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?
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