When We Were Orphans: wholesale online sale A Novel sale

When We Were Orphans: wholesale online sale A Novel sale

When We Were Orphans: wholesale online sale A Novel sale
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Description

Product Description

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day comes this stunning work of soaring imagination.
 
Born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, Banks was orphaned at the age of nine after the separate disappearances of his parents. Now, more than twenty years later, he is a celebrated figure in London society; yet the investigative expertise that has garnered him fame has done little to illuminate the circumstances of his parents'' alleged kidnappings. Banks travels to the seething, labyrinthine city of his memory in hopes of solving the mystery of his own, painful past, only to find that war is ravaging Shanghai beyond recognition-and that his own recollections are proving as difficult to trust as the people around him.

Masterful, suspenseful and psychologically acute, When We Were Orphans offers a profound meditation on the shifting quality of memory, and the possibility of avenging one’s past.

Review

"Swift, compelling, moving, irresistible."
-- The Baltimore Sun

"Goes much further than even The Remains of the Day in its examination of the roles we''ve had handed to us... His fullest achievement yet."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"You seldom read a novel that so convinces you it is extending the possibilities of fiction."
-- Sunday Times (London)

"Poignant... When We Were Orphans may well be Ishiguro''s most capacious book so far."
--Pico Iyer, The New York Review of Books

"[A]n imaginative work of surpassing intelligence and taste."
--Joyce Carol Oates, Times Literary Supplement

"With his characteristic finesse, Mr. Ishiguro infuses what seems like a classic adventure story with an ineffable tinge of strangeness."
-- The Wall Street Journal

From the Inside Flap

From the Booker Prize-winning, bestselling author of Remains of the Day comes this stunning work of soaring imagination.

Born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, Banks was orphaned at the age of nine after the separate disappearances of his parents. Now, more than twenty years later, he is a celebrated figure in London society; yet the investigative expertise that has garnered him fame has done little to illuminate the circumstances of his parents'' alleged kidnappings. Banks travels to the seething, labyrinthine city of his memory in hopes of solving the mystery of his own, painful past, only to find that war is ravaging Shanghai beyond recognition-and that his own recollections are proving as difficult to trust as the people around him.

Masterful, suspenseful and psychologically acute, When We Were Orphans offers a profound meditation on the shifting quality of memory, and the possibility of avenging one?s past.

From the Back Cover

From the Booker Prize-winning, bestselling author of Remains of the Day" comes this stunning work of soaring imagination.
Born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, Banks was orphaned at the age of nine after the separate disappearances of his parents. Now, more than twenty years later, he is a celebrated figure in London society; yet the investigative expertise that has garnered him fame has done little to illuminate the circumstances of his parents'' alleged kidnappings. Banks travels to the seething, labyrinthine city of his memory in hopes of solving the mystery of his own, painful past, only to find that war is ravaging Shanghai beyond recognition-and that his own recollections are proving as difficult to trust as the people around him.
Masterful, suspenseful and psychologically acute, When We Were Orphans" offers a profound meditation on the shifting quality of memory, and the possibility of avenging one''s past.

About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro is the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages. Both  The Remains of the Day and  Never Let Me Go have sold more than 1 million copies, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films. Ishiguro''s other work includes  The Buried Giant,  Nocturnes, A Pale View of the Hills, and  An Artist of the Floating World.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One
It was the summer of 1923, the summer I came down from Cambridge, when despite my aunt''s wishes that I return to Shropshire, I decided my future lay in the capital and took up a small flat at Number 14b Bedford Gardens in Kensington. I remember it now as the most wonderful of summers. After years of being surrounded by fellows, both at school and at Cambridge, I took great pleasure in my own company. I enjoyed the London parks, the quiet of the Reading Room at the British Museum; I indulged entire afternoons strolling the streets of Kensington, outlining to myself plans for my future, pausing once in a while to admire how here in England, even in the midst of such a great city, creepers and ivy are to be found clinging to the fronts of fine houses.
It was on one such leisurely walk that I encountered quite by chance an old schoolfriend, James Osbourne, and discovering him to be a neighbour, suggested he call on me when he was next passing. Although at that point I had yet to receive a single visitor in my rooms, I issued my invitation with confidence, having chosen the premises with some care. The rent was not high, but my landlady had furnished the place in a tasteful manner that evoked an unhurried Victorian past; the drawing room, which received plenty of sun throughout the first half of the day, contained an ageing sofa as well as two snug armchairs, an antique sideboard and an oak bookcase filled with crumbling encyclopaedias -- all of which I was convinced would win the approval of any visitor. Moreover, almost immediately upon taking the rooms, I had walked over to Knightsbridge and acquired there a Queen Anne tea service, several packets of fine teas, and a large tin of biscuits. So when Osbourne did happen along one morning a few days later, I was able to serve out the refreshments with an assurance that never once permitted him to suppose he was my first guest.

For the first fifteen minutes or so, Osbourne moved restlessly around my drawing room, complimenting me on the premises, examining this and that, looking regularly out of the windows to exclaim at whatever was going on below. Eventually he flopped down into the sofa, and we were able to exchange news -- our own and that of old schoolfriends. I remember we spent a little time discussing the activities of the workers'' unions, before embarking on a long and enjoyable debate on German philosophy, which enabled us to display to one another the intellectual prowess we each had gained at our respective universities. Then Osbourne rose and began his pacing again, pronouncing as he did so upon his various plans for the future.

"I''ve a mind to go into publishing, you know. Newspapers, magazines, that sort of thing. In fact, I fancy writing a column myself. About politics, social issues. That is, as I say, if I decide not to go into politics myself. I say, Banks, do you really have no idea what you want to do? Look, it''s all out there for us" -- he indicated the window -- "Surely you have some plans."

"I suppose so," I said, smiling. "I have one or two things in mind. I''ll let you know in good time."

"What have you got up your sleeve? Come on, out with it! I''ll get it out of you yet!"

But I revealed nothing to him, and before long got him arguing again about philosophy or poetry or some such thing. Then around noon, Osbourne suddenly remembered a lunch appointment in Piccadilly and began to gather up his belongings. It was as he was leaving, he turned at the door, saying:

"Look, old chap, I meant to say to you. I''m going along tonight to a bash. It''s in honour of Leonard Evershott. The tycoon, you know. An uncle of mine''s giving it. Rather short notice, but I wondered if you''d care to come along. I''m quite serious. I''d been meaning to pop over to you long ago, just never got round to it. It''ll be at the Charingworth."

When I did not reply immediately, he took a step towards me and said:
"I thought of you because I was remembering. I was remembering how you always used to quiz me about my being ''well connected.'' Oh, come on! Don''t pretend you''ve forgotten! You used to interrogate me mercilessly. ''Well connected? Just what does that mean, well connected?'' Well, I thought, here''s a chance for old Banks to see ''well connected'' for himself." Then he shook his head, as though at a memory, saying: "My goodness, you were such an odd bird at school."

I believe it was at this point I finally assented to his suggestion for the evening -- an evening which, as I shall explain, was to prove far more significant than I could then have imagined -- and showed him out without betraying in any part the resentment I was feeling at these last words of his.

My annoyance only grew once I had sat down again. I had, as it happened, guessed immediately what Osbourne had been referring to. The fact was, throughout school, I had heard it said repeatedly of Osbourne that he was "well connected." It was a phrase that came up unfailingly when people talked of him, and I believe I too used it about him whenever it seemed called for. It was indeed a concept that fascinated me, this notion that he was in some mysterious way connected to various of the higher walks of life, even though he looked and behaved no differently from the rest of us. However, I cannot imagine I "mercilessly interrogated" him as he had claimed. It is true the subject was something I thought about a lot when I was fourteen or fifteen, but Osbourne and I had not been especially close at school and, as far as I remember, I only once brought it up with him personally.

It was on a foggy autumn morning, and the two of us had been sitting on a low wall outside a country inn. My guess is that we would have been in the Fifth by then. We had been appointed as markers for a cross-country run, and were waiting for the runners to emerge from the fog across a nearby field so that we could point them in the correct direction down a muddy lane. We were not expecting the runners for some time yet, and so had been idly chatting. It was on this occasion, I am sure, that I asked Osbourne about his "well connectedness." Osbourne, who for all his exuberance, had a modest nature, tried to change the subject. But I persisted until he said eventually:

"Oh, do knock it off, Banks. It''s all just nonsense, there''s nothing to analyse. One simply knows people. One has parents, uncles, family friends. I don''t know what there is to be so puzzled about." Then quickly realising what he had said, he had turned and touched my arm. "Dreadfully sorry, old fellow. That was awfully tactless of me."

This faux pas seemed to cause Osbourne much more anguish than it had me. Indeed, it is not impossible it had remained on his conscience for all those years, so that in asking me to accompany him to the Charingworth Club that evening, he was in some way trying to make amends. In any case, as I say, I had not been at all upset that foggy morning by his admittedly careless remark. In fact, it had become a matter of some irritation to me that my schoolfriends, for all their readiness to fall into banter concerning virtually any other of one''s misfortunes, would observe a great solemnness at the first mention of my parents'' absence. Actually, odd as it may sound, my lack of parents -- indeed, of any close kin in England except my aunt in Shropshire -- had by then long ceased to be of any great inconvenience to me. As I would often point out to my companions, at a boarding school like ours, we had all learned to get on without parents, and my position was not as unique as all that. Nevertheless, now I look back on it, it seems probable that at least some of my fascination with Osbourne''s "well connectedness" had to do with what I then perceived to be my complete lack of connection with the world beyond St. Dunstan''s. That I would, when the time came, forge such connections for myself and make my way, I had no doubts. But it is possible I believed I would learn from Osbourne something crucial, something of the way such things worked.

But when I said before that Osbourne''s words as he left my flat had somewhat offended me, I was not referring to his raising the matter of my "interrogating" him all those years before. Rather, what I had taken exception to was his casual judgement that I had been "such an odd bird at school."

In fact, it has always been a puzzle to me that Osbourne should have said such a thing of me that morning, since my own memory is that I blended perfectly into English school life. During even my earliest weeks at St. Dunstan''s, I do not believe I did anything to cause myself embarrassment. On my very first day, for instance, I recall observing a mannerism many of the boys adopted when standing and talking -- of tucking the right hand into a waistcoat pocket and moving the left shoulder up and down in a kind of shrug to underline certain of their remarks. I distinctly remember reproducing this mannerism on that same first day with sufficient expertise that not a single of my fellows noticed anything odd or thought to make fun.

In much the same bold spirit, I rapidly absorbed the other gestures, turns of phrase and exclamations popular among my peers, as well as grasping the deeper mores and etiquettes prevailing in my new surroundings. I certainly realised quickly enough that it would not do for me to indulge openly -- as I had been doing routinely in Shanghai -- my ideas on crime and its detection. So much so that even when during my third year there was a series of thefts, and the entire school was enjoying playing at detectives, I carefully refrained from joining in in all but a nominal way. And it was, no doubt, some remnant of this same policy that caused me to reveal so little of my "plans" to Osbourne that morning he called on me.

However, for all my caution, I can bring to mind at least two instances from school that suggest I must, at least occasionally, have lowered my guard sufficiently to give some idea of my ambitions. I was unable even at the time to account for these incidents, and am no closer to doing so today.

The earlier of these occurred on the occasion of my fourteenth birthday. My two good friends of that time, Robert Thornton-Browne and Russell Stanton, had taken me to a tea-shop in the village and we had been enjoying ourselves over scones and cream cakes. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and all the other tables were occupied. This meant that every few minutes more rain-soaked villagers would come in, look around, and throw disapproving looks in our direction as though we should immediately vacate our table for them. But Mrs. Jordan, the proprietress, had always been welcoming towards us, and on that afternoon of my birthday, we felt we had every right to be occupying the choice table beside the bay window with its view of the village square. I do not recall much of what we talked about that day; but once we had eaten our fill, my two companions exchanged looks, then Thornton-Browne reached down into his satchel and presented to me a gift-wrapped package.

As I set about opening it, I quickly realised the package had been wrapped in numerous sheets, and my friends would laugh noisily each time I removed one layer, only to be confronted by another. All the signs, then, were that I would find some joke item at the end of it all. What I did eventually uncover was a weathered leather case, and when I undid the tiny catch and raised the lid, a magnifying glass.

I have it here now before me. Its appearance has changed little over the years; it was on that afternoon already well travelled. I remember noting this, along with the fact that it was very powerful, surprisingly weighty, and that the ivory handle was chipped all down one side. I did not notice until later -- one needs a second magnifying glass to read the engraving -- that it was manufactured in Zurich in 1887.

My first reaction to this gift was one of huge excitement. I snatched it up, brushing aside the bundles of wrapping covering the table surface -- I suspect in my enthusiasm I caused a few sheets to flutter to the floor -- and began immediately to test it on some specks of butter smeared on the tablecloth. I became so absorbed that I was only vaguely aware of my friends laughing in that exaggerated way that signifies a joke at one''s expense. By the time I looked up, finally self-conscious, they had both fallen into an uncertain silence. It was then that Thornton-Browne gave a half-hearted snigger, saying:

"We thought since you''re going to be a detective, you''d be needing one of these."

At this point, I quickly recovered my wits and made a show of pretending the whole thing had been an amusing jest. But by then, I fancy, my two friends were themselves confused about their intentions, and for the remainder of our time at the tea-shop, we never quite regained our former comfortable mood.

As I say, I have the magnifying glass here now in front of me. I used it when investigating the Mannering case; I used it again, most recently, during the Trevor Richardson affair. A magnifying glass may not be quite the crucial piece of equipment of popular myth, but it remains a useful tool for the gathering of certain sorts of evidence, and I fancy I will, for some time yet, carry about with me my birthday gift from Robert Thornton-Browne and Russell Stanton. Gazing at it now, this thought occurs to me: if my companions'' intention was indeed to tease me, well then, the joke is now very much on them. But sadly, I have no way now of ascertaining what they had in mind, nor indeed how, for all my precautions, they had ever gleaned my secret ambition. Stanton, who had lied about his age in order to volunteer, was killed in the third battle of Ypres. Thornton-Browne, I heard, died of tuberculosis two years ago. In any case, both boys left St. Dunstan''s in the fifth year and I had long since lost touch with them by the time I heard of their deaths. I still remember, though, how disappointed I was when Thornton-Browne left the school; he had been the one real friend I had made since arriving in England, and I missed him much throughout the latter part of my career at St. Dunstan''s.

The second of these two instances that comes to mind occurred a few years later -- in the Lower Sixth -- but my recollection of it is not as detailed. In fact, I cannot remember at all what came before and after this particular moment. What I have is a memory of walking into a classroom -- Room 15 in the Old Priory -- where the sun was pouring through the narrow cloister windows in shafts, revealing the dust hanging in the air. The master had yet to arrive, but I must have come in slightly late, for I remember finding my classmates already sitting about in clusters on the desk-tops, benches and window ledges. I was about to join one such group of five or six boys, when their faces all turned to me and I saw immediately that they had been discussing me.

Then, before I could say anything, one of the group, Roger Brenthurst, pointed towards me and remarked:

"But surely he''s rather too short to be a Sherlock."

A few of them laughed, not particularly unkindly, and that, as far as I recall, was all there was to it. I never heard any further talk concerning my aspirations to be a "Sherlock," but for some time afterwards I had a niggling concern that my secret had got out and become a topic for discussion behind my back.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Sarah B
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ishiguro''s worst book is still better than many popular authors'' best
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2016
Ishiguro is always challenging. What is he really saying, where is the story is really philosophically taking place, which of his characters'' memories of the same event can we trust? Sometimes, as with The Giant, I''m too frustrated to carry on long enough to figure it out.... See more
Ishiguro is always challenging. What is he really saying, where is the story is really philosophically taking place, which of his characters'' memories of the same event can we trust? Sometimes, as with The Giant, I''m too frustrated to carry on long enough to figure it out. Other times, as with Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, I''m so mesmerized that I skip meals to finish it, and end up with a holistic watercolor understanding that is imperfect and still utterly satisfying. Ishiguro admitted that WWWO isn''t his best book, possibly because it seems to have a bit of an identity crisis about what kind of a book it wants to be, with a side-tracked approach to a very cut and dry conclusion. It''s still good. It''s still Ishiguro. It''s like if Beethoven said the 3rd Symphony wasn''t his best symphony. Snort. Okay.

WWWO summary: An English boy living in Shanghai in the early 1900s with his mother and father, who works for an import company, is suddenly orphaned. He spends his childhood in boarding school and vows at a young age to be a detective so that in adulthood he can finally discover what happened to his parents. Moving steadily upward in British society he indeed becomes a celebrated detective, returns to Shanghai intent on solving the case, and eventually does solve the mystery. Themes are idealism vs. disillusion, loyalty, and as always, memory, childhood, and self perception.

Having started WWWO a year ago and given up on the opening''s colorless British milieu, I have been rewarded by picking it up again and following it through the alleys of Shanghai, through the meaningless chaos of war, to a final, crystal clear conclusion. In the end Ishiguro put all of the cards on the table and wrapped things up nicely. I liked it. I agreed with it. I guess I prefer the more gutteral, confusing, urgent impact of his other work. It''s like seeing Degas'' ballet dancers and wanting Soutine''s Carcass of Beef. The ballet dancers are nice. The Carcass forces you to stop and figure out what it is you''re reacting to. In the end this isn''t my favorite, but you can''t say the ballet dancers aren''t lovely.
43 people found this helpful
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Jenny Cook
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A beautiful story with thought-provoking material
Reviewed in the United States on January 27, 2020
Wow. What a wonderful read.  This is the first book I have read by this author and I was blown away by this book on so many levels. The story begins by detailing the early life of a British expat family living in Shanghai in the early pre-ww 2 years. The relationship... See more
Wow. What a wonderful read. 
This is the first book I have read by this author and I was blown away by this book on so many levels. The story begins by detailing the early life of a British expat family living in Shanghai in the early pre-ww 2 years. The relationship between the young Christopher Banks (the son) and his best friend and neighbour, Akira, who is Japanese, is beautifully told. When Christopher is 10, he is left orphaned as first his father and then his mother disappears. After returning to the UK and growing up he returns to Shanghai to discover what happened to his parents. I will not reveal more details as it will spoil the story. Suffice it to say, this book may well be one of the best I have read or will read for a few reasons. First, the prose is elegant and beautiful and secondly, the story whilst sad in many respects has so many life lessons in hope for the future. The emotional depth of the characters and their world-view amidst war and suffering is moving. The deeper motifs of the role of colonialism, greed, cultural differences are wonderfully and sensitively handled and thought-provoking. Definitely 5 stars
11 people found this helpful
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JEDrury
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Confused and annoying!
Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2019
“When We Were Orphans” is a confused annoying novel set in London, Shanghai and Hong Kong following a Londoner’s search for his parents after they were forcibly separated in Shanghai during the thirties. The dialogue - even in times of stress - is weighted, call it “upper... See more
“When We Were Orphans” is a confused annoying novel set in London, Shanghai and Hong Kong following a Londoner’s search for his parents after they were forcibly separated in Shanghai during the thirties. The dialogue - even in times of stress - is weighted, call it “upper crust Downton Abbey,” too many scenes are set in ballrooms or at cocktail hours, and a plot concealed behind Ishiguro’s oblique textured writing and with a “tell all” ending of rank sentimentality. There are long passages which by the end leaves the reader asking why were they included. The stench of upper class British racism towards the Chinese people is palpable.
6 people found this helpful
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kabbalah4all
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating story
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2020
I found the entire story fascinating and I could not wait to find out what would happen next. After finishing the book, I did some research on the book and author. I was amazed to learn that this was one of Ishiguro''s first novels, and not considered to be very good. I... See more
I found the entire story fascinating and I could not wait to find out what would happen next. After finishing the book, I did some research on the book and author. I was amazed to learn that this was one of Ishiguro''s first novels, and not considered to be very good. I completely disagree. In my opinion it was as good if not better than Remains of the Day.
7 people found this helpful
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SJD
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The importance of this author
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2020
This author is not well know to the American reader and that is too bad because as an Asian/British writer he has a critically important voice. His experience in London and then Shanghai takes place at a crucial and violent time in Nanjing (set in Shanghai) in China, when... See more
This author is not well know to the American reader and that is too bad because as an Asian/British writer he has a critically important voice. His experience in London and then Shanghai takes place at a crucial and violent time in Nanjing (set in Shanghai) in China, when the Japanese invade the city and slaughter thousands of people. No one knows how many. It is an event that precedes World War Ii, takes place in 1937, and throws light on another reason for World War II.
6 people found this helpful
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Pierre GroussacTop Contributor: Chess
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book can be well-written can still be a dud.
Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2020
Definitely not the guy''s best work, but the reviewers still praise it. I guess that''s what happens when you win a bunch of prizes. If I sound jealous, I''m not. The Remains of the Day deserves the accolades, the movie, and another read. Orphans, not so much. It starts out... See more
Definitely not the guy''s best work, but the reviewers still praise it. I guess that''s what happens when you win a bunch of prizes. If I sound jealous, I''m not. The Remains of the Day deserves the accolades, the movie, and another read. Orphans, not so much. It starts out fine, but turns into a Henry James/Franz Kafka hybrid along the way, an improbable quest and an unlikely outcome bracketed by boring dialogue from people who don’t matter anymore. The book falls apart in the middle, recovers somewhat with an interesting resolution of the mystery, and mercifully ends somewhat later—not happily ever after—but it ends, and that’s the important thing.

The reader who follows Kazuo Ishiguro should definitely consider this book for their library. Even his least is better than the best of most others—just because the guy writes so well. When I say well, I mean clearly. A book can be clearly written and still be a dud. That’s what happened here. No need to cry about it. No one hits a home run every time they go to the plate.
3 people found this helpful
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Anthony Learmonth
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Somewhat tedious, "Old Chap"!
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2016
Out of respect for the author''s reputation, I read this book to the end.....which was more than I achieved for last book of Ishiguro''s that I read. Ultimately I found WWWO quite disappointing. To be honest, it takes many pages to tell a relatively simple story. However,... See more
Out of respect for the author''s reputation, I read this book to the end.....which was more than I achieved for last book of Ishiguro''s that I read. Ultimately I found WWWO quite disappointing. To be honest, it takes many pages to tell a relatively simple story. However, the chief issue i have is that the story revolves almost wholly around the character of Christopher Banks - and he''s a deeply uninteresting, passive and ultimately deluded character who its quite hard to relate to or like. The artifice that such an emotionally detached and deluded person could have become a "famous detective" is totally unconvincing in my eyes. This is born out in his life''s quest - to solve the mysterious disappearance of his parents in Shanghai some 20 years ago. His elaborately conceived resolution is so illogical its silly - and it seems (plot spoiler coming) its absolutely wrong in every facet. And in the end I couldn''t even feel sorry for Christopher.
15 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful and haunting and amazing
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2017
There''s an obsession that starts and a descent into madness and all the tight strings of reality fray at the edges until one is not sure of what''s real or not and simply pursues the next thing regardless of value. It''s never been captured like this before.... See more
There''s an obsession that starts and a descent into madness and all the tight strings of reality fray at the edges until one is not sure of what''s real or not and simply pursues the next thing regardless of value.

It''s never been captured like this before.

Read this book.
12 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Damo
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The power of memory explored to varying degrees of succes
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2019
As with many of his other works, KI explores the power, intricacies and fallibilities of memory in When We Were Orphans. The first two thirds of this novel is up there with some of KI’s best work - his prose is both restrained and elaborate and the reader is always left...See more
As with many of his other works, KI explores the power, intricacies and fallibilities of memory in When We Were Orphans. The first two thirds of this novel is up there with some of KI’s best work - his prose is both restrained and elaborate and the reader is always left pondering what is being implied beyond the surface. With KI that which is left unsaid by characters is often more significant than what is actually spoken - he communicates both the power of language and also how language can be used to distort reality. That said, the final third of the novel loses its way. It becomes almost cliched with the tension being ramped up as the lead character attempts to discover answers to questions he has spent years seeking to discover. Ultimately the answers that are discovered are shrouded in doubt and this seems to be the key message of the novel - memory is unreliable and there are several versions of truth. This central premise is one which is interesting and KI has artfully explored previously; however, here it feels forced, rushed and perhaps a little contrived. I felt like the the book needed another two hundred pages to fully flesh out its ideas but no doubt KI’s published insisted it be around the 300 page mark as most modern novels are.
6 people found this helpful
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Marina F.
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
OK until Shanghai
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 21, 2018
I liked it up part 4 Shanghai. I did not mind the lack of detail in his detective work, or in his narration. I think that is his style. I have loved all the books I have read by him so far. I was quite happy until he started alluded to his parents being still held captive...See more
I liked it up part 4 Shanghai. I did not mind the lack of detail in his detective work, or in his narration. I think that is his style. I have loved all the books I have read by him so far. I was quite happy until he started alluded to his parents being still held captive in the same house after what - 20 years? The guy in the consulate arranging for the welcome just seemed ridiculous, and him not disagreeing. Why did his old school colleague take him to his old house? He was about to elope and went to find the house he seemed certain his parents were held captive, why was he going without finding them if he was sure?. Coming across Akira his childhood friend like that was implausible but I realize this is fiction - but then just to leave him to be arrested and taken away with not a word. I was too much to swallow and lost me.
8 people found this helpful
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P. Stevens
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another coda of unrequited love
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 13, 2020
It feels disappointing to read this after remains of the day and to feel elements of it are too clunky, quite unbelievable and linked to the same coda of an unreliable narrator focused on a career or life’s mission that ends with a sense of regret. I read it before many...See more
It feels disappointing to read this after remains of the day and to feel elements of it are too clunky, quite unbelievable and linked to the same coda of an unreliable narrator focused on a career or life’s mission that ends with a sense of regret. I read it before many years ago and felt I’d enjoyed it more then but quite forgot the details. I will no doubt forget the details again but not make the mistake of re-reading. Though it is passingly interesting to consider historical context, these are not really the focus of the book and therefore not really effectively explored.
One person found this helpful
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Mrs. J. E. Gorman
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cannot believe it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2020
Being a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro ''s novels and authorship skills, I cannot believe this is a mature work. My initial thought that it is a piece of juvenilia, or written for young children. Have seen it reviewed as weak, but it is worse than that. How could his publishers allow...See more
Being a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro ''s novels and authorship skills, I cannot believe this is a mature work. My initial thought that it is a piece of juvenilia, or written for young children. Have seen it reviewed as weak, but it is worse than that. How could his publishers allow it to be released? Fell very disappointed and in need of a refund!
One person found this helpful
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M. J. Walley
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Enjoyable but by no means my favourite KI novel.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 18, 2017
For the first third of the book (which I enjoyed the most) I had no idea where the story was heading and now, having finished, I am not quite sure what it was saying. Much to enjoy however, I just love losing myself in the endlessly civilised, thoughtful, almost poetic use...See more
For the first third of the book (which I enjoyed the most) I had no idea where the story was heading and now, having finished, I am not quite sure what it was saying. Much to enjoy however, I just love losing myself in the endlessly civilised, thoughtful, almost poetic use of language that marks every sentence of Kazuo Ishiguro''s writing.
3 people found this helpful
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