Despite some contrived events and a tendency to rework the characterizations and themes of his previous books, Ishiguro’s latest novel triumphs with the. When We Were Orphans: A Novel [Kazuo Ishiguro] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and . Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel, When We Were Orphans, is architecturally sound but curiously furnished.

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The function of memory is already a major component of the narrative in the opening pages of the book: Christopher is writing in about something that happened inand within orhans memory are the memories of even earlier events.

And throughout the book, what Christopher does and does not recollect, is of great concern for him. How does the narrative itself mimic the ways in which memory functions? What role does Sarah Hemmings play in this early part of the novel as it relates to Christopher?

What is behind her urgent need to meet Sir Cecil? Why is he “surprised and slightly alarmed” [p. How does this narrative kasuo affect your reading of the novel?

There are hints of things to come for Christopher as an adult in his childhood detective games with Akira [p. Where else do you see the man in the child? And conversely, the child in the man? Do these “hints” illuminate or confuse the narrative?

Why does Ishiguro shift the narrative here into a kind of subtle unreality where something is slightly off-kilter wherever Christopher goes? What do the people of the International Settlement expect of Christopher “Mr.

What is their expectation based on? For his part, does Christopher imagine that everyone equates his case—the disappearance of his parents—with staving off an escalation of war? Does he come to believe it as well, or does he imagine that the people who express relief at his arrival are as concerned as he is with finding his parents?


Or is it something else altogether? Is it clear what is at the root of this particular confusion? What is the significance of his candor, skepticism, world-weariness, and, finally, his physical and moral collapse in Shanghai?

When Sarah proposes to Christopher that he leave Shanghai with her, he acquiesces virtually without emotion [p.

When we were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro

What might he be answering to in himself when he agrees to go with her? And what causes him to change his mind at the last moment? Christopher encounters many kinds of mazes in Shanghai: What is the significance and function of the mazes in this novel?

What is the implication of this? Is the man whom Christopher recognizes as Akira [p. If not, why does Christopher need to believe he is?

What other revelations are contained for Christopher in his kzauo to find his parents? He goes on to say: What triggers the beginning of his “journey” toward that clarity?

Does he have mixed feelings about it? When Christopher finds his mother in Hong Kong and she fails to recognize him, he asks her if she can forgive her son for not finding her [p.

Why do you think he feels he has never found her even kazyo he has? What else might he think he needs to ask forgiveness for?

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On page 49, we learn that Sarah Hemmings is also an orphan. Are Christopher and Sarah the “we” the title refers to?

Or is there a more abstract significance to the title? What do you make of the suggestion in the ishigurk that it is possible that being an orphan is not a permanent ishuguro On the last page of the novel, referring to himself and Sarah, Christopher writes: There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm. Do they clarify, or otherwise alter the understanding of it?


When We Were Orphans Reader’s Guide

Introduction The maze of human memory—the ways in which we accommodate and alter it, deceive and deliver ourselves with it—is territory that Kazuo Ishiguro has made his own. In his previous novels, he has explored this inner world and its manifestations in the lives of his characters with rare inventiveness and subtlety, shrewd humor and insight. In When We Were Orphanshe returns to this terrain in a brilliantly realized story. Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early twentieth-century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when his mother and father both vanish under suspicious circumstances.

Sent to live in England, he grows up to become a renowned detective and, more than twenty years later, returns to Shanghai, where the Sino-Japanese War is raging, to solve the mystery of the disappearances. The story is straightforward. Its telling is remarkable. A masterful combination of narrative control and soaring imagination, When We Were Orphans is Kazuo Ishiguro at his best. Questions and Topics for Discussion 1.

He is the author of four previous novels, including The Remains of the Dayan international bestseller that won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an award-winning film. He lives in London with his wife and daughter. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.

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