Jason Cowley at the Financial Times:
Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel for a decade is, on one level, a complete surprise. It’s set in England in the Dark Ages no less, perhaps in the fifth or early sixth century, a period about which little certain is known. The Romans have left Britain and the Saxons have arrived, built settlements, and fought wars of conquest and survival. The people Ishiguro calls “Britons” have been forced into an uneasy accommodation with the settlers, and ogres and pixies roam a bleak, damp landscape.
Ishiguro has set novels in a parallel dystopian England in which child clones are being reared for organ donation in ignorance of their ultimate fate (Never Let Me Go, 2005), and in an imaginary central European city in which a concert pianist finds himself lost in a kind of surrealist nightmare of coincidence, farce and mistaken identity (The Unconsoled, 1995). He is no realist. But I never expected to encounter a she-dragon in his fiction or, for that matter, the wizard Merlin, from Arthurian legend.
Yet for all its flights of fantasy and supernatural happenings — a mist has settled over the land forcing people into a condition of forgetfulness, or so they believe — The Buried Giant is absolutely characteristic, moving and unsettling, in the way of all Ishiguro’s fiction.