Only few writers have a peculiar calmness and soothingness in their narrative voice. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of them. I thought my fascination with Japanese writers ended a few months ago, when I read Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. But then I found Kazuo Ishiguro. His narrative voice, as I observed in Never Let Me Go and A Pale View of Hills, is mild and relaxing to a reader’s mind.
A Pale View of Hills tells the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living in England. Dealing with the recent suicide of her daughter, Etsuko attempts to reconstruct events and figure out what happened by dwelling on her past and the time when she was living in war-torn Nagasaki. She recounts being pregnant with her daughter, living with a cold, domineering husband, and her strange friendship with a mysterious woman and her young daughter.
This book is a short read, you won’t even know when it might get over. That’s exactly what happened with me. I read it in one go. I have already told you about narration. It is what earns this book some brownie points. The characters seem lifelike in one’s imagination and they will drive you to the end of the book. The story is simple yet touching as it deals with childhood loneliness and some memories that affect us and never fade away.
I like the way the Japanese writers body leave minor characters hanging such that a reader cannot have any affection towards them. It’s a bizarre but a great experience for a reader’s mind to get.
4 out of 5!