“A Pale View Of Hills,” is Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel originally published in 1982. Whereas, it might not meet the structural brilliance of his later novels it is a novel well worth reading. In fact, after finishing the novel, I went back and re-read the first three chapters. The book is barely two hundred pages, and I was able to read it in two days which is quick for me.

The novel, narrated in first person, is told through the eyes of Etsuko, a Japanese woman from Nagasaki now living alone in England. Her memories of her past life in Nagasaki are triggered by the recent suicide of her daughter.

The novel takes place about five years after the end of World War II. American soldiers are being shipped off to fight in Korea. The influence of the American style of life has already taken hold among the younger generation of Japanese men and women and it clashes with the older generations’ traditional views, which the younger generation blames for getting them into the war. American democracy is not easy for the older generations to accept.

Nagasaki, the victim of the second atomic bomb dropped by the Americans, is quickly rebuilding yet the effects of the bomb are still felt; even though Mr. Ishiguro only allures to the ‘bomb,’ on a few occasions but the devastation and lost of life caused by the bomb is defined by the actions, physical disabilities, and emotions of almost all the characters in the book, including the children.

Like in all of Mr. Ishiguro’s novels, the messages he wishes to convey are not boldly displayed. He forces his audience to ‘think,’ and that is one of many reasons he is one of the greatest authors of the last fifty years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s