I was so eager to read this one, because I love Ishiguro’s writing and I love Sir Gawain, who I knew appears in this book. He’s not actually the main character (but then, he rarely is), but he is an essential part of the story, which unfolds steadily as you read. There’s a fog drifting across the memories of both Saxons and Britons, keeping them from remembering events both recent and further away; this same fog clouds the memories of an elderly man and his wife, who set out to find their son.
It’s quite a mysterious story, because of that fogginess; things get revealed slowly, things come together piece by piece. I think people who gave up on it, while justified if they weren’t enjoying it, can’t really grasp how this all comes together. There is a point to all of the little conflicts, all the repeated conversations, all the interactions. It ends as a meditation on death, memory, relationships… and to me, it was touching.
I enjoy Ishiguro’s style, and continued to do so here. I don’t really have a quibble with the pacing, because though it lost other people, it seems to work for me. But I can’t get behind this version of Sir Gawain… He’s not too bad in the end, and yet one or two things he does… nope. Not my Gawain.