The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Five words from the blurb: Romans, Britain, couple, journey, son
I loved Never Let Me Go so was looking forward to reading Ishiguro’s new book. Unfortunately they were very different in style and I failed to bond to any of the characters. The Buried Giant has a fairy-tale like quality and there was a lack of emotion throughout. The reader is kept at an arms length from the action and this lack of engagement frustrated me. I know that there are clever allegories running beneath the surface, but I didn’t care enough to investigate them. I started skim reading after about 100 pages and nothing I saw drew me back into the text. Recommended to those who enjoy modern fairy-tales and analysing books for hidden messages.
No Such Thing As Failure by David Hempleman-Adams
Five words from the blurb: British, explorer, highest, peaks, poles
I got this book from the library because the author was coming to do a talk there. Hempleman-Adams has achieved an extraordinary number of feats – including climbing the highest mountain on every continent and reaching both poles. I admire everything he’s done, but I wish I had just listened to his 45 minute summary of the book instead of reading it in full. No Such Thing As Failure is simply a catalogue of his adventures. He does reveal the problems he faced, but there was no tension behind them. I’m sure this is just a reflection of his calm nature, but I prefer a bit of peril and emotion in my adventure stories!
Outline by Rachel Cusk
Five words from the blurb: woman, Athens, writing, meeting, indistinct
Outline is beautifully written. Each character springs vividly to life and I admired the atmosphere that Cusk managed to create in just a few short pages. Unfortunately the book failed to come together as a whole. It felt more like a series of short stories and I was frustrated by the lack of plot. I appreciate what the author was trying to achieve, but I prefer a book with a plot and a more conventional structure.