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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

3.8 out of 5
5 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • A satisfying read.

    I enjoyed reading “The Orphans”. It is an intruiging mystery story with a unique ending, and it is a very satisfying read. It is the early 1930s and Christopher lives with his parents in the International Settlement in Shanghai. Christopher’s character is formed not so much by parental expectations but by the values and expectations of himself and his Japanese childhood friend Akira, as epitomised in the detective games the two boys play. Christopher is considered an orphan when his parents disappear. He is repatriated from Shanghai to England into the care of an aunt. He attends school and University, and sets out to make a name for himself as a consultant detective. His ambition is to find his parents, whom he believes were kidnapped. Whilst still a young and single man he takes in an orphaned young girl as his ward. He is attracted to an orphaned young lady whose ambition is, as it was of many young women in the 1930s, to “marry well”. The parents of each of these three orphans, even though they are absent from their children’s lives, still strongly influence the circumstances of their children’s adult lives. As an adult Christopher is still living in his childhood dreamworld. it seems impossible for Christopher to put the needs of others before his own, no matter how urgent. He congratulates himself on how important he is and how important his work as a detective is to the world. I found this attitude very annoying and frustrating. “The Orphans” is a fascinating study of a man steeped in British colonialism when the world about him is changing. I think Ishiguro has captured the essence of that attitude which was held by many so-called colonials during the early twentieth century. This book is an intriguing study of flawed characters, but then are we not all flawed in some way? Apart from the aspects of Christopher’s decision-making which I found irritating, there are some aspects with which I am in sympathy - in particular with the way in which he willingly went along with Akira’s childish fantasies in order to perpetuate their friendship. Their boyhood pranks were unfortunately short of sympathy for those beneath their social standing. As an adult this lack of sympathy was demonstrated through Christopher’s berating of taxi drivers, putting his own interest ahead of the needs of a wounded soldier, expecting others to put his wants before their needs. You will keep reading this book well into the late hours of the night.

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  • Disappointing

    Well written but rather silly story read to the end feelung there must be some psychological philosphical undercurrent...but no just nonsense

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Really?

    I guess that if you are a Nobel prize winner they'll publish any rubbish you write - they know it will sell!

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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