The Buried Child by Kazuo Ishiguro, abridged by Sara Davies

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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, abridged by Sara Davies. Prod. Mair Bosworth. Perf. David Suchet. BBC Radio 4, 2-13 March 2015. BBCiPlayer to 13 Apr. 2015.

Set in the Anglo-Saxon era, "The Buried Giant" is a quest narrative involving an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, who together embark on a journey to find their son. As they do so, they encounter various people and obstacles that they negotiate before they finally discover what happened to him.

Yet that bald description does not even begin to sum up a highly intriguing work that focuses on the ways in which "history" is made, both at a societal and an individual level, and how what precisely happens gets airbrushed out of dominant narratives, if it tends to contradict the ideology that societies which to propound. "Forgetting" is a euphemism for willful omission, especially when what is omitted might prove incriminating.

On the other hand "The Buried Giant" is also a narrative about revisiting one's past to see what lies hidden underneath. Although set very much in the corporeal world, it is also a psychological story, revealing just what emerges if we pause for a moment and try to reconsider our relationship to the world. That "buried giant" which is the past keeps resurfacing, and until such time as we learn to deal with it, we remain perpetually dissatisfied, just like Axl and Beatrice.

Read in soft, intimate tones by David Suchet, Ishiguro's novel came across as a penetrating analysis of the human psyche, occasionally lightened by the actor's use of funny voices reminiscent of his Poirot, as a means of delineating the characters.

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