When We Were Orphans

When We Were Orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro 4.5 stars, and I would have loved to give it a full, loving, fat 5, but I couldn't.

I loved this book. First thing that attracted me to it was the title. For me it has a special resonance and I really longed to see what could be between the pages of such a greatly named book. I realized from the first page it wouldn't be what I expected (I'm not sure why I thought it would be about a girl), but as I flipped through it I got more and more sucked in its world. It is stunning.

Let me make it clear - it's not a 5-star rating because of a personal button that still blinks OFF. But it was the last button in a row of hundreds of buttons that this book pressed to be ON.

It's beautifully written. Beautifully, really! Flawless, fluid, it treats you like a fine guest in a tea-house, when they give you the perfect blend of nicely smelling herb tea and milk, when they say "Please", and "Thank you". And as when you walk out of that parlor and the owner says "Have a nice day", so this book leaves you, at its last page, with a happy hand wave. I felt so good after finishing it I actually read the last 20 pages again.

And seriously, after I left it on the little table next to my bed and went to sleep, I felt good. And it's when books manage to leave me with this sort of feeling that I know it was awesome.

From my perspective, the main character was wonderfully crafted. His flaws, his qualities, his laugh, his lines, his thoughts, his story were all so well integrated in his image that I had trouble realizing I don't actually know this man, when I started comparing him to people!

In search of his parents, Christopher realized he never left the childhood period and is only now beginning to peek a different way of thinking. As a detective, you'd expect him to be extremely evolved on all fields, but turns out he missed on a couple of things from when he was a kid. And those couple of things were his own parents.

When he actually found his mother, I almost shed a tear. She didn't recognize him, for crying out loud! But when he said if she remembered "Puffin", she did. She did remember. He was her child, still her child, after all the years apart, after all the pain she endured and after ending up in that sanatorium, she knew. She may not have known his face, his body or his voice. But she knew and loved that kid she left behind physically and carried with her mentally forever. Even.. even in her insanity she had him to caress her.

Three, maybe four scenes stand out for me from this book, because they were situations of real life put well in writing. Which I have always admired, this talent of representing vision, hearing, taste, feelings, thoughts, all in a mere two, three pages.

In the end, I love this book a lot. A lot lot lot! I relate to it on many levels, but it's not just that. It's the heart put into it, it's the love that it teaches you and the wisdom it sometimes reaches. Beautiful.