This novel addresses the themes of death and memory. A melancholic atmosphere is the result. It might make the reader think about the earlier work of the author. In particular, emotions captured by The Unconsoled and The Remains of the Day could come flooding back.
However, there is a distinctiveness about this text. This stems in part from the homage made to powerful myths. Such an approach is not typical of Ishiguro and could lead the reader to reflect on the possible influence of J. R. R. Tolkien.
While the narrative holds the attention, the style is occasionally a bit awkward. This is exposed in the dialogue. Novels which are not set in realistic situations do represent a challenge to fine writers. This is because natural ways of talking have to be imagined. Whether or not the following section rings true is open to question:
“A journey to our son’s village. It’s not far, husband, we know that. Even with our slow steps, it’s a few days’ walk at most, a little way east beyond the Great Plain. And the spring will soon be upon us.”