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A Pale View of Hills quotes A Pale View of Hills, litcharts A Pale View of Hills, symbolism A Pale View of Hills, summary shmoop A Pale View of Hills, A Pale View of Hills a0b2b81b In His Highly Acclaimed Debut, A Pale View Of Hills, Kazuo Ishiguro Tells The Story Of Etsuko, A Japanese Woman Now Living Alone In England, Dwelling On The Recent Suicide Of Her Daughter Retreating Into The Past, She Finds Herself Reliving One Particular Hot Summer In Nagasaki, When She And Her Friends Struggled To Rebuild Their Lives After The War But Then As She Recalls Her Strange Friendship With Sachiko A Wealthy Woman Reduced To Vagrancy The Memories Take On A Disturbing Cast

10 thoughts on “A Pale View of Hills

  1. says:

    This is a beautiful novel that calls for patient and careful reading I admire the way it s constructed The cares and concerns of three pairs of mothers and daughters are refracted off one another The first two pair live near a resurgent Nagasaki sometime toward the end of the American Occupation of Japan, about 1951 52 Here the pregnant Etsuko, who narrates, lives with her husband Jiro, in a new concrete residential building along the river From her window, across a stretch of wasteland, Etsuko can see, much closer to the river, an old cottage built in the traditional style It is there that Sachiko and her daughter Mariko live The third mother daughter pair are in England of about 1980 or so This pair is comprised of an older Etsuko and Niki, a daughter Etsuko has had by a second English born husband Another daughter, Keiko, fathered by Jiro, presumably the child Etsuko carries in the earlier timeframe, has recently committed suicide in her Manchester flat Moreover, Etsuko s second husband has also died We never learn what became of Jiro So one can see why Etsuko would be unreliable reasons too traumatic to face She has lived through the American bombing of Nagasaki, but her wounds are entirely psychological She has lost much, but specifically what she has lost is never described, only intimated Ishiguro s elliptical style seems fully mature here in his first novel It s unquestionably the same one he uses in later works The penultimate page contains what we might call the narrative atomic bomb On reading it this second time my memory of the subtle story had grown hazy over the intervening years I all but jumped from my chair Brilliant stuff, highly recommended.

  2. says:

    She came to see me earlier this year, in April, when the days were still cold and drizzly Perhaps she had intended to stay longer I do not know But my country house and the quiet that surrounds it made her restless, and before long I could see she was anxious to return to her life in London She listened impatiently to my classical records, flicked through numerous magazines The telephone rang for her regularly, and she would stride across the carpet, her thin figure squeezed into her tight clothes, taking care to close the door behind her so I would not overhear her conver sation She left after five days She did not mention Keiko until the second day It was a grey windy morning, and we had moved the armchairs nearer the windows to watch the rain falling on my garden Did you expect me to be there she asked At the funeral, I mean No, I suppose not I didn t really think you d come It did upset me, hearing about her I almost came I never expected you to come This is another Ishiguro story his debut full of mystery and questions, what s happening and what is at the heart of the matter Beautifully written, as I appreciate Ishiguro Stories are mingled and all has a subfeeling of sadness, melancholy and something is not quite right here.When I finished the book, I started again right at the beginning, to see if the circle was complete Not quite sure But I love Ishiguro s brooding and still writing, a dark and lyrical poet Loved reading Ishiguro again It s the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman, now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her eldest daughter She finds herself reliving one particular hot summer in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war But then as she recalls her strange friendship with Sachiko a wealthy woman reduced to vagrancy the memories on a disturbing cast.Interesting Wikipedia bit about the plot

  3. says:

    Every once in a while, a book surprises you on the way to its ending After the first few pages of this book, I figured I knew what to expect a well written realist novel about a displaced Japanese woman in England who reminisces about her youth while contemplating the choices her children have made And for most of the book, that impression is borne out It nicely describes the two countries, how people act and react, and what life has been like for this character throughout her time in both places.The novel even does a very good job of replicating the varying syntax between English and Japanese in the reminiscences, the dialogue does not flow as it would in English, and the translation is in some cases very literal, which makes the dialogue reflect the difference in thought patterns that speaking and thinking in another language requires.Then, only ten pages from the end, the pronouns change Where you expect she there is the child and where you expect you there is we And all of a sudden you re unsure who is talking to whom, and when, and you start to realize that you have been taking what your narrator says at face value when perhaps you shouldn t have.After all, the narrator of the story tells us than once that perhaps her memory is faulty, perhaps she is mixing things up But such a confession, such reluctance to appear certain, such a recognition of the false nature of memory, does the opposite of what the words should do Instead of making the reader doubt the narrator, such qualification about the haziness of memory leads the reader to trust the narrator, after all, she has recognized that she s telling a story, and because she s telling a story, we re willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.Then suddenly, the pronoun shift at the end introduces the possibility that not only did the narrator perhaps get some details wrong, leave some things out, change some names, be not as innocent as she seems, but maybe these omissions and alterations weren t accidental and we ve been led to believe her a good person when perhaps she was lying about those details because she wasn t such a nice person after all, in fact, maybe she was a really nasty person.I m sure if you haven t read the book, all this sounds a bit confusing, and you might be wondering what the deal is anyway, but from a narrative theory point of view, the ability of such a small thing a few pronouns to throw the entire preceeding narrative into doubt is pretty impressive.I think I will need to reread this book to figure it out.

  4. says:

    This book was so creepy and confusing that I opted to read it again Not just because it is short, but because it is well written and it weaves a very intriguing mystery Our narrator Etsuko s oldest daughter recently hung herself in her apartment Nikki, Etsuko s daughter with her second husband, visits Etsuko at her home and Etsuko recounts to her a brief friendship she had with a single mom named Sachiko back when she still lived in Nagasaki I believe that Etsuko is an unreliable narrator and she and Sachiko are the same person I also believe that Keiko, Etsuko s deceased daughter, is remembered as Mariko, the young daughter of Sachiko I love an unreliable narrator The second time I read the book, I did find some clues In telling her story, Etsuko remarks that her memory is hazy regarding her time in Japan She also says toward the end of the book that Memory can be unreliable heavily coloured by circumstances no doubt this applies here At the beginning of the flashback, Etsuko makes an abrupt shift from how she felt living in Nagasaki during the years immediately following WW2 to how Sachiko felt about it within the same paragraph.Niki, Etsuko s surviving daughter visited her mom to reassure her that she should have no regrets for choices you once made This refers to Etsuko Sachiko moving her young daughter away from her life and father in Japan to England so that her daughter would have opportunities and a better life.In the flashback, Etsuko s father in law remarks, Children become adults but they don t change much This supports the theory that Keiko is Mariko the daughter was troubled as a child and troubled as an adult.There is also a key scene at the end of the book when the narrator shifts from neighbor to mother of Mariko mid paragraph.The two women s histories are intertwined Etsuko Sachiko lost a boyfriend and her family in the war Etsuko married a man in a caretaking role A distant, controlling husband who didn t seem to care or notice when Etsuko, several months pregnant, left their apartment many a night to hang out with Sachiko Not likely Sachiko briefly lived with an uncle after the war After moving out, he asked her to return but she didn t want to Her feelings toward the uncle are likely the same as Etsuko felt about her first husband It was nice of him to have invited me into his household But I m afraid I ve made other plans now There s nothing for me at my Uncle s house Just a few empty rooms, that s all I could sit there in a room and grow old Years later, Etsuko s surviving daughter , Niki, echoes these sentiments Sometimes you ve got to take risks You did exactly the right thing You can t just watch your life wasting away Earlier in the story Etsuko snaps at Niki, resenting her need to reassure her mother about the decisions she made back in Japan Etsuko remarks that her daughter has little understanding of what happened those last days in Nagasaki.And what happened those last days in Nagasaki Etsuko decided to leave her husband and move out of Japan She tells Niki that she knew that Keiko Mariko would be unhappy but she moved her out of Japan anyway This is the most haunting part of the story Keiko Mariko s suicide Keiko hung herself in her apartment In the flashbacks of Nagasaki, there were two instances where Etsuko Sachiko was coming toward Keiko Mariko holding a rope that she says she found caught on her sandal In both instances Keiko Mariko ran away, frightened Etsuko also remembers that there was a child killer hanging kids in the neighborhood back in the day I feel that by Etsuko unreliably remembering these instances, it indicates that she blames herself for her daughter s suicide Her neglectful mothering and her moving her daughter out of Japan caused her daughter to lead a thoroughly unhappy life Throughout the flashbacks Keiko Mariko is in danger of being hung.Another disturbing scene is when Etsuko Sachiko drowns Keiko Mariko s only playmates her beloved kittens I believe that this is another metaphor for the damage done to Keiko Mariko by her mother moving them away from Japan solving a problem in a selfish, lazy way under the guise of doing what s best for Keiko Mariko Etsuko later tells Niki, nothing you learn at that age is totally lost.During much of the dialogue in the flashback between Etsuko and Sachiko, they are debating a topic or trying to make a decision To me, it looks like the thought process one person would have when trying to solve a problem Some of the topics they discuss Should I leave my young daughter home alone Sachiko thought it was fine but Etsuko didn t agree Should I move to America Sachiko thought it would be better for Mariko but Etsuko thought living with her uncle would be a stable choice Should I go look for the American sailor who I thought was my ticket out of Japan Sachiko decided to but Etsuko was skeptical Should I go after my daughter when she runs out of the house upset in the night Sachiko didn t want to but Etsuko would go looking for her Will the American Sailor really move me to America Sachiko felt that he would but Etsuko doubted it Do I really have to drown these kittens Sachiko felt she had to but Etsuko offered to care for them Does the noodle lady who lost most of her family in the war have anything to live for Sachiko felt that the noodle lady had lost everything worth living for when she lost her family in the war but Etsuko thought she had a content enough existence, considering.This book gave less than the bare bones of the story to the reader but was intriguing enough for me to stick with it Twice.

  5. says:

    274 A Pale View of Hills, Kazuo IshiguroA Pale View of Hills 1982 is the first novel by Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro A Pale View of Hills is the story of Etsuko, a middle aged Japanese woman living alone in England, and opens with discussion between Etsuko and her younger daughter, Niki, about the recent suicide of Etsuko s older daughter, Keiko 2012 1380 189 1389 9646900151 20

  6. says:

    Ishiguro s first novel is an intriguing read If anything, it shows how much promise he had as an author and how much he could offer the literary world as he honed his skills The Pale View of Hills is a very implicit book, and the conclusions I took from it may not even be conclusions at all It s a story that made me think, and it even made me re read it when I finished And that s the problem the cleverness of this is not revealed until the very end There are three paragraphs in the penultimate chapter that perhaps change the entire story Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here Up to that point it all seemed rather ordinary I was waiting for something big to happen and it came far too late By the time it did, I was already quite bored with the story and ready to move onto a new book For me, it was a real shame I would have liked suggestions through the book On my second read, I found not a single shred of evidence or hint about what we learn at the end It came rather quick and stopped me dead in my tracks even if it is a very, very cleaver device If I m being cryptic, it s because I don t want to ruin the it all for you though I do really think Ishiguro learnt from this book All the major themes he replicates across his writing are here in a very early form He explores memory and regret in a way no other writer can It s the things he doesn t say that make his writing so powerful We can imply from it that the characters are full of regret, we can assume, but he does not state it anywhere he doesn t need to And this is something he delivered with a masterful stroke in The Remains of the Day. He really grew as an artist.So I recommend this to those that like his later books and really want to see how far he has come, though I do warn you this is not executed with the same level of skill he would later wield.

  7. says:

    Surprise, surprise The brilliant mind that concocted Never Let Me Go which is, by the way, indubitably on my top ten list first brought this masterpiece to a readership whose last brush with this is no exaggeration PERFECTION was reading Mr Graham Greene The Quiet American The novel is tight, 75% dialogue, exquisitely concise, devoid of flowery sentences descriptions, no bullshit and beautiful Ishiguro is a n enviable genius, a poet, one capable of expelling tears and tugging at heartstrings Now I have two books on my list of superlatives by a single author EVERYONE, GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS for THIS, ladies gents, is how IT S DONE

  8. says:

    I have a friend here on Goodreads who reads the books of the authors he fancies chronologically. I admire his tenacity and discipline Even if I have all the author s works in my bookshelves, I still always pick first his most famous work My reason is that if I die soon, at least, I ve already read the author s masterpiece.I think I liked Ishiguro s The Remains of the Day 4 stars and Never Let Me Go 4 stars that almost all of his other works seem to be mediocre It s like that I ve fallen in love with a beautiful woman and all of the other girls around are incomparable if not downright ugly I know I should have stopped after reading his collection of short stories, Nocturnes Five Stories of Music and Nightfall 3 stars but his other 3 books are also 1001 and many of my friends in my book club are raving about Remains as it is our book for this month, July 2012, so I resumed reading his other works.I am not pulling your leg Check my profile Among my favorite ever books are Lolita, The Golden Notebook Perennial Classics edition, The Wars and Embers and I have many of those authors Nabokov, Lessing, Findley and Marai respectively other books in my tbr piles at home However, I am afraid that I would dislike those other books because I liked their masterpieces very much.This is not the first time this happened I used to adore Haruki Murakami, C.S Lewis, and Ken Follett, until I read many of their books and now I am losing my interest on their other works I think the only ones who have so far survived this feeling are Ian McEwan 5 books and still to disappoint , Gabriel Garcia Marquez 4 books and still among my favorites , J.R.R Tolkien 4 books if LOTR is counted as 3 , Paul Auster 4 books and still hangs there and John Steinbeck 3 books and I am still insatiable.For me, Kazuo Ishiguro, unfortunately, is not among them This book, A Pale View of the Hills, in my opinion, is not at par as his famous works The only reason why I am not rating this with 1 star is that some of my friends who still admire Ishiguro will definitely find my above reason flimsy and I don t want to lose them However, I know what I feel as a reader and I am entitled to my own opinion and they are my friends and true friendship is not measured by how many books they both liked or disliked.You see, this book was Ishiguro s first and this won the 1982 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize that has been superseded by Ondaatje Prize I would imagine Ishiguro s feeling then His first novel immediately winning an annual literary award given by Royal Society of Literature He must have said to himself It worked They liked my style They liked my formula I should use it again And so he did.Based on the first 5 books I ve read this is his ta da formula A first person unreliable narrator plus B open ended almost absent denouement plus C narrator recalling the past plus D interplay between past and present plus E detached and quiet narrative equals Kazuo Ishiguro s style.There s nothing wrong with having a distinctive style, right Dickens has his fondness for details, Steinbeck always has his dear California as setting and J.M.Coetzee has his Costello as his favorite recurring character It s like the authors establishing their trademark and making it their competitive advantage, i.e., something that when you read their work, even if you cover all the titles and the author s name on the book, you would still easily identify who wrote it.Overall, this is an okay book Not bad for a first book I just can t help myself to like it because of the following reasons 1 Many loose ends are not explained Examples Why did Keiko kill herself When did Etsuko get married to her second husband Others may say that these are inconsequential but these, in my opinion, are vital to the story to establish what kind of wife and mother Etsuko was Ishiguro made use of her unreliability as an excuse for his style When I closed the book I had the feeling that he did not know how to end his book that was why he left it open ended But it worked, it won an award So, from then on, he made sure all of his succeeding books are open ended.2 Even when the characters are Japanese and have never been to Britain, they talk like British I have been to Japan thrice and as part of my work for so many years, I have been communicating with Japanese In this book, the characters say certainly , lovely , wonderful or Why, of course, Etsuko. That Why that starts a response caught my attention while reading Japanese do not use that They normally just say Yes like when they snappily say Hai They normally don t use flowery words Think about Haruki Murakami s novels, and you know what I mean.3 Although I liked the overall style of the book the hallucinatory guilt of the mother whose elder daughter Keiko killed herself presumably because she was uprooted from her native land, I ve read and loved two powerful depiction of extreme sadness and loneliness of women who have just loss their loved ones in Janice Galloway s The Trick Is to Keep Breathing and Lydia Davis s The End of the Story Even my brother s favorite book, Jean Rhys s Good Morning, Midnight has captured better the melancholy emotion of a woman in the height of her sadness and despair over a loved one For me, Ishiguro is better when his first person unreliable narrator is a male instead of a female There are just some emotions that fail to transfer to me when a male author is trying to make me believe that the female narrator is sad, hallucinating and probably contemplating on suicide I could taste a tinge of deception and dishonesty at the tip of my tongue.However, I do not blame others for liking this book Ishiguro s style is his and who am I to challenge it It s just that I d rather have variety in my reading I do not want to keep on reading the same plot with only few of the elements changed When I open a book, I would always like to be engaged and if this is not asking for too much to be surprised Beautifully surprised.

  9. says:

    Didn t work for me, unfortunately I need than subtle hints at mystery to keep me interested I was annoyed that virtually the entire novel was told through dialogue Worse, so much of the dialogue seemed irrelevant Filtering out the nonsense to find intrigue took too much work Still, there were some well crafted scenes so it wasn t all bad And, thankfully, it is a very slim novel I m sure some readers will love it, but beware if you aren t a fan of subtle.

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