A Pale View of Hills

A Pale View of Hills

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399127182
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1982
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro's eight books have won him world-wide renown and many honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize. His work has been translated into over forty languages. The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have each sold in excess of one million copies in Faber editions alone, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films. His most recent novel, The Buried Giant, was published in 2015, debuting at number 1 on the Sunday Times bestseller list.

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Pale View of Hills 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
catalogthis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this too quickly... want to approach it again, this time without speeding through to search for answers and resolution.
marysargent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading The Remains of the Day, I went back to this one, his first, and found it well done and intriguing. This was in 1996. Now in 2007 I'm tempted to read it again after reading everything else he's written and not liking his last, what is it? Never Let Me Go?
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kazuo Ishiguro¿s first novel is beautifully written, although I can¿t say I fully understood it. The story is narrated by a Japanese woman, Etsuko, whose older daughter just committed suicide. This tragedy seems to have awoken memories of a summer in Nagasaki (Etsuko lives in Britain now) not long after the bombing, when Etsuko was pregnant, presumably with the daughter who has just died. She recalls a woman she briefly knew who lived near her and also had a daughter, a little girl who seems withdrawn and damaged by her experiences during the war. Ishiguro is even more subtle than usual, and a lot of the details of Etsuko¿s life are left to the reader to fill in. For instance, it is difficult to tell which of Etsuko¿s memories are of this other mother daughter and daughter, and which are of her own daughter. But mostly, this short novel is about how Japan was irrevocably changed after the war and how the various characters fail to deal with that change, just as Etsuko ultimately fails to deal with the death of her daughter. In that aspect, this is a very moving story indeed.
MarysGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
That was fast! I had a couple of long subway rides and finished it in record time. I agree, this is not my favorite Ishiguro book, that honor still resides withNever Let Me Go. It reminded me of An Artist of the Floating World in style, setting, and characters. In the end, the reader doesn't really know what went on, the narrator's recollections are unreliable. The best description of the book comes from a blurb on the back: "A macabre and faultlessly worked enigma." -- Sunday Times
cameling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm absolutely in love with it. Having said that, it's hard to review it without giving surprises away. [[Ishiguro]] is one of my favorite authors and this book is like his others in that it's not as straight forward a story as you might think, starting out. Etsuko, a Japanese woman remembers a summer in Nagasaki when she was pregnant, and had met Sachiko. The story flips between present day and that summer, and although there seems to be a progression in events, Ishiguro keeps his surprise till the very end and leaves you with a few possible conclusions. He certainly had me mulling over a few scenarios when I had finished reading it.
lauriebrown54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ishiguro has written this novel with the spare grace of a Japanese painting- a brush stroke here, another there; you must infer the rest. Past and present shift and blur at times. One is not entirely sure how many women there are in this story, or who is who. Etsuko, a Japanese born woman living in Japan, is dealing with the recent suicide of her elder daughter. With her younger daughter staying with her, she reflects on her own past in Japan, when she was a young wife, pregnant with her first child. Living in Nagasaki, the city so recently devastated by the American bomb, she becomes friends with Sachiko, a woman who-along with a young daughter- lives in a shack that has no electricity or water, spends her days working in a noodle shop and her evenings with an American service man who she expects to take her to live with him when he is shipped back home. This life is very different from Etsuko¿s- she is married to a man who expects instant obedience from her and spends her days cleaning and cooking. Sachiko¿s daughter, Mariko, is a fey child who does not go to school and spends her time by herself or with a batch of kittens, sometimes speaking of a woman that no one else sees. And there is a child murderer on the loose.... How accurate are Etsuko¿s memories? Is there more to her past than she admits in her mind? Does she have some connection with the murderer, or with Sachiko? These things are unresolved. Memory can be like that; many times one doesn¿t see the past in a clear cut way. In the 24 hours since I finished reading this book, I¿ve wondered over and over about these things and am no closer to the answer, but the wondering is a pleasant thing.
deebee1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A hauntingly sad, enigmatic novel, it tells of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living in England, who is trying to come to terms with the suicide of her eldest daughter, and in the process, is drawn to memories of her own life back in Japan. She remembers in particular the summer just after she got married -- she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic woman and her young daughter who kept seeing a "lady." This was post-war Nagasaki, and people were still dealing with the loss and destruction from the bombing. Ishiguro deftly and subtly uses metaphor, is ambiguous in parts, and sometimes frustratingly sketchy. But this style evokes very well the brokenness of people's lives then, the hurt, the picking up of the pieces, the unreality, the abruptness of change. There are a lot of things Ishiguro left out -- why the daughter killed herself, the missing part of Etsuko's life between that long-ago summer and her life now, what happened to the mysterious friend and the girl -- details which might have "completed" the story. But we are left to wonder, and perhaps the details do not matter so much as the sentiment and portrayal of loss, disconnection, and memory as identity.
kvanuska on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pale View of Hills uses the narrative effect that captured a much wider audience in The Remains of the Day: the narrator who's walking down memory lane and trying to sort things out, make excuses, find a way to forgive or fool himself once and for all. It doesn't surprise me that A Pale View of Hills was a quietly received book -- unfortunately, the Japanese author and setting probably kept many readers away. However, it does not deserve to sink into obscurity. Ishiguro deftly keeps the big setting of post-atomic bomb Nagasaki at bay, like a dreadful cloud hovering on the horizon, and only comes into sharper focus during a visit to the Peace Memorial near the end of the novel. Instead, the novel concentrates on the small domestic moments of families torn asunder by devastation, families who are trying to assemble new lives. A mother and 10-year old daughter move to a shabby cottage on the outskirts of a new apartment complex where they are befriended by a pregnant wife who welcomes a distraction from her husband's and father-in-law's insecurities and her anxieties about the upcoming birth of her first child. Unfortunately, the more she learns about this mother and daughter, the more unsettled she becomes. This story unravels slowly and is narrated from the wife's future, where she is now living in a cottage in soggy England, and struggling to make sense of her twenty-something daughter's recent suicide; her second husband is dead, and her relationship with her younger daughter from that marriage is strained. Not all the story's gaps are filled in -- like what became of her first husband, or how she met her second husband -- but that lends an authenticity to the novel's voice of reminiscence. This book is unsettling and wonderful and has aged quite nicely
Ardwick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Felt that the book was always hinting at things I didn't quite understand. Maybe it makes more sense on a second reading. Story of a mother who has her first child in post WW2 Japan, leaves her traditional husband and ends up in the UK. Her relationship with 2 formerly well to do mothers in Japan and her relationship with her two daughters seem to contrast with each other.
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Liz_who More than 1 year ago
Although its a tiny book, it felt so, so long. No plot, with characters that would find themselves boring, and one of the worst endings ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Honestly, the only thing I liked about this book was that it had quite a few different readings. The dialogue is very slow and there was almost no plot. I don't recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While seemingly simple on the outside, A Pale View of Hills is actually a very involved story in which the main character, Etsuko, reexamines past events in her life. Ishiguro has woven an intricate tale full of parallels, and the reader can never actually be sure of anything. One has to wonder about the true identity of Sachiko and Mariko. Overall, an excellent, puzzling read, but not for the person who likes to have all questions answered at the end of the novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book was both interesting and entertaining, I feel as though Kazuo Ishiguro's work in A Pale View of Hills falls somewhat short of his more famous novel, The Reamains of the Day. A Pale View of Hills boasts a unique style of writing, as well as Ishiguro's masterful storytelling techiniques, making this colorful piece of modern literature a treat to first-time Ishiguro readers. However, the plotline (there is a plotline, right?) is quite vague through a large part of the story, and the way the perspectives of Etsuko's life flip-flop back and forth betweem chapters, can make keeping track of this book a confusing task, to say the least. I could identify with a few characters, like Ogata-San, due to some of my own personal life experiences; I was especially moved by Ishiguro's vivid portrayal of the trials and tribulations of the Japanese in the wake of World War II. Other tahn this book, I also liked reading Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, and have begun reading his newest masterpiece, An Artist of the Floating World.