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But Christopher's mother also disappears, and he is sent to live in England, where he grows up in the years between the world wars to become, he claims, a famous detective. His family's fate continues to haunt him, however, and he sifts through his memories to try to make sense of his loss. Finally, in the late 1930s, he returns to Shanghai to solve the most important case of his life. But as Christopher pursues his investigation, the boundaries between fact and fantasy begin to evaporate. Is the Japanese soldier he meets really Akira? Are his parents really being held in a house in the Chinese district? And who is Mr. Grayson, the British official who seems to be planning an important celebration? "My first question, sir, before anything else, is if you're happy with the choice of Jessfield Park for the ceremony? We will, you see, require substantial space."
In When We Were Orphans Kazuo Ishiguro uses the conventions of crime fiction to create a moving portrait of a troubled mind, and of a man who cannot escape the long shadows cast by childhood trauma. Sherlock Holmes needed only fragments--a muddy shoe, cigarette ash on a sleeve--to make his deductions, but all Christopher has are fading recollections of long-ago events, and for him the truth is much harder to grasp. Ishiguro writes in the first person, but from the beginning there are cracks in Christopher's carefully restrained prose, suggestions that his version of the world may not be the most reliable. Faced with such a narrator, the reader is forced to become a detective too, chasing crumbs of truth through the labyrinth of Christopher's memory.
Ishiguro has never been one for verbal pyrotechnics, but the unruffled surface of this haunting novel only adds to its emotional power. When We Were Orphans is an extraordinary feat of sustained, perfectly controlled imagination, and in Christopher Banks the author has created one of his most memorable characters. --Simon Leake
I think anyone who considers reading this book owes it to herself to read a lot of reviews. I am driven to write this one because, while seated on an airplane very recently, I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by sageReader
London detective Christopher Banks becomes the most celebrated solver of mysteries since Sherlock Holmes, but his most challenging case takes him back to Shanghai, where he lived... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jack W. London
ishiguro has acknowledged that this was not among his best work. he may have sold himself short.
ishiguro started with an interesting premise - a sherlock holmes type... Read more
Excellent; can be re read with pleasure and greater appreciation.Published 2 months ago by Linda P. Schmidt
Confusing time bouncing from China to London. Back to China. A few unbelievable twists...Published 2 months ago by Ginie Bell
There are several wonderful novels of the pre-WWII British colonials oblivious of the imminent Japanese invasion (J.G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun set in Shanghai, and J.G. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Skylark
Christopher Banks (Am I to make something of the device that the name is a complete sentence … and a sentence that juxtaposes Christ –bearer with finance, or a river boundary? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Laurence Goldstein