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A Pale View of Hills Paperback – 3 Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (3 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571225373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571225378
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 493,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of six novels, A Pale View of Hills (1982, Winifred Holtby Prize), An Artist of the Floating World (1986, Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Primio Scanno, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Remains of the Day (1989, winner of the Booker Prize), The Unconsoled (1995, winner of the Cheltenham Prize), When We Were Orphans (2000, shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go (2005, shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize), and a book of stories, Nocturnes (2009). He received an OBE for Services to Literature in 1995, and the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998.

Product Description

Book Description

A Pale View of Hills is the haunting debut novel from Booker Prize-winning Kazuo Ishiguro. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and came to Britain at the age of five. He is the author of six novels: A Pale View of Hills (1982, Winifred Holtby Prize), An Artist of the Floating World (1986, Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Premio Scanno, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Remains of the Day (1989, winner of the Booker Prize), The Unconsoled (1995, winner of the Cheltenham Prize), When We Were Orphans (2000, shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go (2005, Corine Internationaler Buchpreis, Serono Literary Prize, Casino de Santiago European Novel Award, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize). Nocturnes (2009) was awarded the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa International Literary Prize. Kazuo Ishiguro's work has been translated into over forty languages. The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have also been adapted into major films. In 1995 Ishiguro received an OBE for Services to Literature, and in 1998 the French decoration of Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Eric Anderson on 14 Nov 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing first novel and it is a good introduction to Ishiguro for readers who haven't read his books before. It is so delicately told from the point of view of a woman who has survived WWII. You are given only brief personal glimpses of her life, yet those glimpses spark an enormous amount of questions revealing her to be a woman of deep complexity. You would expect her to be pondering the life of her daughter Keiko, but she spends most of her time remembering the mysterious woman Sachiko who she knew briefly in Nagasaki. Over the course of reading the novel you begin to understand that this is a way for her to process her emotions over her daughter's death. Pondering the mysteries of a woman she can never understand is preferable to admitting the responsibility for her daughter's suicide. Perhaps she contributed in some way to her death? From her obsession with Sachiko and Sachiko's daughter Mariko we understand that she is possibly drawing parallels between the girls. While this mystery looms in the background you are brought deeply into her observations of Sachiko and her story of a single woman trying to survive independently. Through the entire time Ishiguro is very careful about what is and is not given away. He is a master at telling and not telling. The selection that goes into telling has an impact on the way we interpret what is told. In this way he explores human complexities that few other writers are able to dig into. Our view of Etsuko, like our view of Nagasaki, is blurred and from this not quite clear view we understand that this Japanese woman still has a lot more to tell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Camilla Macaulay on 13 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read all of Kazuo Ishiguro's other novels/short stories but for some reason this, his debut, I left until last. If you haven't read the book yet please don't read my review as it contains details about the end of the story.

"A Pale View of Hills" is told through protagonist, Etsuko, an ageing Japanese woman living in England. Etsuko's troubled daughter, Keiko, has recently committed suicide by hanging. Keiko has a younger half-sister, Niki, who is visiting Etsuko and the story is told through Etsuko's recollections of one Summer in Japan after the second World War.

Etsuko recalls a woman called Sachiko who lived nearby in Japan with a young daughter, Mariko. The dialogue between Etsuko and Sachiko is awkward and stilted and Sachiko, formally a wealthy woman, is patronising to Etsuko. Despite this they form a fragile friendship although it seems that Sachiko is using Etsuko on more than one occasion. Etsuso is pregnant with her first child and is concerned about how she will adapt to motherhood.

The only warmth in the story is the relationship between Etsuko and her Father-in-Law. Her husband is cold and treats her like a servant.

Etsuki mentions several times that three children have been murdered locally, one little girl hung from a tree. Little Mariko is neglected by her mother who has an American lover and is hoping to move to the US. Mariko is left alone for hours and often wanders alone in the dark forest and by the side of a lake. She seems very afraid of Etsuko and confuses her with a mysterious, possible imaginary, woman who comes at night and tries to take her away.

Hanging is a theme throughout the book and on two occasions Etsuko claims that she had rope caught around her ankle.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Caswell on 17 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
This is such a wonderful book. Ishiguro is a master of atmosphere and subtlety... he doesn't shout and wave his arms when making his points, but only murmurs... you do have to pay attention. This is wonderfully, eerily effective in A Pale View of Hills. I bought this book yesterday and have read it twice already... the first time, as another reviewer mentioned, my hair nearly stood on end when I reached the last dozen pages; the second time I combed through looking for all the clues I hadn't realized were clues the first time (her husband's missing tie, the rope tangled around her sandle, Mariko's frequent fearful retreats, so many things!). Memory is unreliable indeed, and time folds over on itself.

After loving Never Let Me Go so much I was afraid that a debut novel could only be a disappointment, but this is not at all the case here. If you've read any of Ishiguro's other wonderful works, give this one a try as well. Pay attention, it's very much worth it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Brown on 2 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favourite novelists and I find reading one of his books is a bit like putting on a pair of old shoes that haven't been worn in a while - slightly strange at first while your feet adjust to the contours and feel of them. Once adjusted to his writing style though, he carries you along with tales which hint at hidden secrets kept tantalising just out of reach.

As with some of his other novels, much of the story told in flashback and explores the reliability of memory and the perspective that comes with age. If the past truly is a different country, though, it is doubly so here, set as it is in post-war Nagasaki.

The main protagonist is Etsuko who following the death of her daughter is reminded of a friendship she formed as a young woman in Japan before she moved to England. The book is largely set in a Japan in the throes of post war reconstruction and the Atom bomb is still a recent memory.

While some of the dialogue may seem overly-formal, stilted and lacking naturalism, I take this to be a reflection of the societal norms in Japan at that time. In places, it's almost as if it had been written in the Japanese and re-translated to English.

Throughout the book seems to be nothing more than a middle-aged woman remembering the events of a summer years below from which she is drawing parallels with the obvious future path of her own life. It is only in the last few pages that the extent of the unreliability of memory - and the ability of the mind to consciously or subconsciously construct it's own perspective of events - become, for want of a better word, clear.

This is book which leaves so many loose ends it's hard to know where to begin to sort them out. Paradoxically, it is this lack of clarity which makes the book all the more satisfying. It's as if by leaving the reader with lots of questions, Ishiguro neatly illustrates his point.

Andrew
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