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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.


  1. I am so very happy to be your 101 follower! Thanks for inviting me over here!

  2. Welcome all new followers! am so delighted.

  3. I still have not read any of the books by this author yet. I'll have to make a plan to do so in 2011.

  4. Will be skipping this one, cos after my last book with an ending I did not like..well do not need that

  5. I have yet to read any of Ishiguro's work but I will, hopefully in 2011.

  6. I started this and absolutely loved the writing but ended up leaving it unfinished as it didn't seem believable to me and I got distracted by other books. It sounds as if I would have been disappointed by the ending!