My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
I really wanted to give this 3 stars. I spent the whole book telling myself this was good writing because it was Kazuo Ishiguro. But really, in the end, I can’t quite say I liked it.
Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early-20th-century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when both his mother and father disappear under suspicious circumstances. He grows up to become a renowned detective, and more than 20 years later, returns to Shanghai to solve the mystery of the disappearances.
Within the layers of the narrative told in Christopher’s precise, slightly detached voice are revealed what he can’t, or wont, see: that the simplest desires, a child’s for his parents, a man’s for understanding, may give rise to the most complicated truths.
The only other book of Ishiguro’s that I’ve read is Never Let Me Go, which may be one of my favorite books, it certainly makes my top 20. Given that I’ve heard so much positive buzz about him, it’s then something of a surprise that I haven’t read anything else he’s written.
When this book appeared at in a sale at Audible.com, I figured it was time to change that. Nevertheless, it sat on my MP3 player for another 4 months before I figured I should try to clear out some of the books I own before buying new ones.
I just didn’t enjoy this book.
I’m sure there is supposed to be some deeper meaning behind the crazy unreliability of the narrator, but his delusions kept getting in my way. He was also self centered, and although I found him interesting in his saner moments, I never quite trusted them either.
The plot was interesting, and the writing was good, overall. I just couldn’t cope with the character telling the story.
I kept listening, hoping that something brilliant would pull the whole thing together for me, but sadly, it never did.
Production: I can’t believe that my Audible.com download was split into two parts mid-sentence. That’s just nuts. Other than that, I think it was fine.
Audio vs. Print: I wonder if I would have liked it better in print. I can’t put my finger on any reason for thinking I would. Since I can’t really recommend the book, I won’t recommend a format.