A pale view of hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
Published: September 5th 2012 by Vintage (first published 1982)
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction
“As with a wound on one’s own body, it is possible to develop an intimacy with the most disturbing of things”
First published in 1982, this is the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, and I always like starting at the beginning of things so here I am.
The story is told by Etsuko, who admits that memory is an unreliable thing, which then makes her an unreliable narrator. She lives in England and is mourning the recent suicide of her daughter as she reminisces back to days in Nagasaki after the war. She recalls in particular a friendship with another woman – Sachiko and her daughter – Mariko.
I’m gonna be one of the people that just flat out admits that I didn’t get it. The story feels to me as fragile, melancholy and quiet. It sets a tone that feels very frail and should be read carefully. And while I try to find meaning, I just can’t. But I can recognize the beauty in it still, and I wish I could see the story that other people clearly have seen before me. It almost feels like a challenge since the story is so subtle. And well, I failed this one.
If you are good in reading metaphors, subtle hints and hidden meaning, I think this will be a wonderful challenge. I might read it again one day, and I believe it’s the type of book where you can find new things and new meanings with every read, but for now, I’m moving on. My memories might be too hard and determined as of now, maybe I need to be more fluid to embrace this.
“Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here. ”