When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro (OBE, FRSA, FRSL)

  • Started on: 2014-02-20
  • Finished on: 2014-02-22
  • Read in: English
  • Rating: “*****”
  • Genre(s): Historical Fiction


The last few weeks I’ve been in a reading slump. Not one of the books I was reading really grabbed me, and they took forever for me to get through, because I just did not want to read them. So, I went back to my five-star-list in LibraryThing to see which books I could not put down in the past, and of which of those writers I still had an unread book. What I picked out was ‘When We Were Orphans’ by Kazuo Ishiguro, and I am very glad I did. Christopher Banks grew up in Shanghai around 1900, the son of a British couple, his father involved in the opium trade. When his father and mother disappear shortly after each other, he is sent to live in England with his aunt. He vows to become a detective to find his parents. He becomes a succesful detective, and after a long while he returns to China to investigate the disappearances in the 1930s. Shanghai has changed a lot, and Christopher gets caught up in the battles between the Chinese and the Japanese. Even though this is not thought of as one of Ishiguro’s best works, I still enjoyed it very much, and it helped me get out of my reading slump. I could not put down the book. I liked Christopher Banks as a character, because he seemed so human to me. He isn’t prefect, far from it, but tries his best to reach his goals and be happy, despite the terrible things going on around him. The setting of Shanghai in the early twentieth century was gripping, the mix of western business men and their families and the big country of China so close by. I loved the book, and give it five out of five stars.