Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Review - When we were orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro is a Booker Prize winner, his books have got international acclaim and this is his fifth book.
The story - a strange one and I was not very happy with the ending. Not particularly as it is not a happy one but because it seems very much up in the air. Well I suppose everything does not have a distinct end but it left me feeling slightly unsettled.
Its a book which has to be read slowly - we find Christopher affectionately referred to as Puffin, an only child of British parents living in Shanghai in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Christopher is a protected, innocent child and like lots of only children a bit isolated from the rough and tumble of the real world. However even from a very young age, he is insightful of emotions, relationships, and specially able to read between the lines. This was unusual for such a young child.
We have two distinct stories here - one the international community in Shanghai and the uncertainities faced by them, along with the determination of the British to cling on to the all important opium trade, and then we have Christopher's story of trying to solve the abduction/disappearance of his parents and his subsequent banishment to England. This lack of intimacy amongst the family which he has lost affects the man Christopher to a great extent in his life. He remains a distant figure clever, distinguished but without close ties.
The book is suspenseful and keeps you wanting to know more but unfortunately the ending does not give you much more. Though having this drawback, I still am glad I read this book. 335 pages.