A Pale View of Hills Hardcover – 1 Mar 1982
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A Pale View of Hills is the haunting debut novel from Booker Prize-winning Kazuo Ishiguro. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a story where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"A Pale View of Hills" is told through protagonist, Etsuko, an aging 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, possibly 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.Read more ›
It's one of Ishiguro's "Japanese" books - not only set partly in Japan, like "An Artist of the Floating World," but essentially Japanese in its combination of delicacy and steely strength, its oblique view of life, its devastatingly understated intelligence.
The story is narrated by two women, who are really the same woman: Etsuko Ogata, a young wife and expectant mother in post-war Japan, and Etsuko Sheringham, now middle-aged, remarried and living in Britain. However these Etsukos are very different, so divided by innocence and experience that they are almost separate people.
Both Etsukos are survivors of a recent tragedy. The young Etsuko has lost her fiancée, and much else, in the Nagasaki bombing. The older Etsuko has lost a daughter, Keiko, who has recently committed suicide. The two experiences of grief, loss and guilt are somehow linked in Etsuko's mind by a brief relationship which Etsuko remembers having in Nagasaki with a drifting demimondaine, Suchiko, and her eerie little daughter, Mariko. It is when the two Etsukos, young and old, finally come together that your hair will stand on end.
To reveal the plot would be to spoil things for the reader, because this (like all of Ishiguro's novels) is a mystery - a gripping mystery which the author unravels masterfully and at a perfect pace.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was chosen for our book group. I'm glad I read it, and we had a lively discussion about the plot. Read morePublished 3 months ago by rhubarb
I love the easy but slightly dream like quality of this book it seemed to build to something that was only hinted at or eluded too. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
A strange story and compelling too - a view of Japan we rarely have a chance to seePublished 8 months ago by Julia Coombs
I am a fan of the authors books and this one delivers! wow I was left feeling like I had missed a train and was stood on the platform when I finished this story! Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ladyg