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A Pale View of Hills: Kazuo Ishiguro

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My still fevered condition was perhaps a factor, but I became completely riveted by the Overture and Combray sections. If you haven't read the book yet please don't read my review as it contains details about the end of the story. Most likely, the scene sums up for her in her own mind all the hideous reality of what she did to her own daughter thirty years ago. Another citation/understatement on memory, stuck in late in the pages of the book, could well serve as its epigraph: “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.

Another possibility is that Sachiko and Mariko were never real, but, by talking to us about them as though they were, Etsuko manages to dissociate herself from her guilt/grief and come to terms with it. Assuming that Sachiko is a figment of Etsuko’s imagination, emblematic of her guilt, the bad mother she sees in her attitudes toward her daughter Keiko, we can also assume that Mariko—who may or may not have actually existed—is a double of Keiko and that the British husband Sheringham is a double of Frank.

In using book covers or other images on this site, no copyright infringement is intended by the site author. Was it Etsuko who neglected her own daughter's needs so badly that she never recovered and killed herself. I am an alevel student who is currently studying this book for my coursework and I was wondering if I may have your name so I can reference your work and views which you have stated here in my essay – I feel that you have expressed these ideas in such an eloquent way and I wish to touch on what you have discussed here but I cannot do so without crediting you. She mentions postwar murders of children in Nagasaki, including that of a little girl, who had been found hanging.

Etsuko’s final memory of Mariko raises a question about the reliability of her narrative and whether what she remembers is a story she’s telling herself to cover over the truth of what happened with Keiko.I feel that by Etsuko unreliably remembering these instances, it indicates that she blames herself for her daughter’s suicide. Ishiguro masterfully accomplished that sense of being removed from your memories, as the person who you were when you created them, is not the person you are today - having a nuanced painful understanding of your own mistakes, things that you would do differently if you had another chance for redemption, questioning all of your life choices in the dawn of tragedy. 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.

The first two pairs live near a resurgent Nagasaki sometime toward the end of the American Occupation of Japan in April 1952. Hanging is a theme throughout the book and on two occasions Etsuko claims that she had rope caught around her ankle.

A Pale View of Hills feels personal to Kazuo Ishiguro as the author came to the UK from Japan at the age of five and, like its characters, also experienced a cultural transition. It's the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman, now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her eldest daughter.

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