One of the things I like about “The Buried Giant”, a novel by Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, is it explores married love across a couple’s lifetime. So it’s not about romance, or the early dizzy years. Its subject is a love that has been tested in the fire. A love that has survived some really serious hurts and trials.
One of the interesting features of the book is a mist that envelopes and permeates the world. This is both frightening and comforting. Essentially, the mist hints at buried memories, and the need to forget, and the decision to forget (for otherwise relationships could not survive.) You see this in the fear that the characters display when they sense that the mist is beginning to rise, and they start to worry about what they might learn.
Indeed, as the story progresses, we learn of the betrayal that is part of the narrative of Beatrice and Axl, the two main characters in the book. Nevertheless, they have managed to renew and rebuild their love; and on the journey that the novel mainly focuses upon, they display a tenderness that is somewhat enviable.
At the end of their journey, and the end of the book, when they’ve reached the river, and the final crossing point, each is questioned individually about their love. The questions they are asked leave the other wondering, “Has our live been sufficient; have we loved enough?”
I would venture to say that there’s no couple on this earth who’ve loved perfectly and who don’t carry buried wounds. We have all known betrayals – and some of these are serious. But maybe this enables us to build a stronger love. A love that is informed. A love that’s deep and genuine. A love that can forgive, and can accept forgiveness, too.
And maybe this is actually a truer kind of love.