Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Most countries have got big things they’ve buried’

Gaby Wood in The Telegraph:

ScreenHunter_1088 Mar. 17 18.20“Someone asked me what I was doing in my 10‑year break,” says Kazuo Ishiguro with a boyish chuckle. “And I thought: yes, there has been a 10-year break since my last novel, but I personally haven’t been taking a 10‑year break!”

I suppose it does take some explaining: Ishiguro is one of Britain’s best living novelists, and look how he keeps us waiting. “It takes me a long time to find a project that I think is going to be good enough,” he explains when I visit him at home in Golders Green. “I think I just reject a hell of a lot of stuff now. Often I have themes or a story – the emotions, even, that have to come out of it – but I haven’t got that last piece of the jigsaw.”

The Buried Giant, his first novel since Never Let Me Go, has been met with breathless anticipation – and a little perplexity, since it is set, as he puts it, “on the eve of England”, just before the Anglo-Saxons wiped out the Britons in what some historians believe to be an act of genocide. It is a bleak, wild land, populated by ogres and dragons and the weary leftovers of King Arthur’s court. If the setting seems unexpected, no one expected it less than the author himself. “It’s not what I’m used to,” he says. In the book, the west of the country and possibly more is subjected to a plague of forgetting, a “mist” that turns out to be formed by the breath of the she-dragon, Querig, who must be slain if anyone is to remember anything – but dare they remember everything, and what are the risks?

More here.