A Pale View of Hills: 07/02/10
It seems that every review I've read of A Pale View of Hills has a story behind how the reviewer came to read the book. My story begins at work sometime between 2004 and 2006 when I was working onsite in San Carlos. While I worked I listed to the stream of Radio 4. They presented A Pale View of Hills and their reading of it enthralled me.
The novel is framed with a present day visit between Etsuko and her youngest daughter, Niki after the suicide of her oldest daughter. Her suicide prompts Etsuko to remember her life in Japan, recently widowed and pregnant. She befriends a mother who is emotionally distant from her daughter and wants to emigrate to the United States.
The detached way in which Etsuko remembers her past and the dispassionate way the people act in her memories implies that her memory is either faulty, having creating things from scratch or that the mother and daughter are reflections of her own unhappy time before leaving for England.
It's been four to six years since I listened to the book. I started the book with expectations of hair standing on end but I ended up having to read it while being rushed with work and other deadlines. My first experience with A Pale View of Hills was far superior than my most recent.