The Buried Giant

Le Tombeau du Géant

Le Tombeau du Géant, Bouillon, Ardennes, Belgium

Where the Semois river meanders through the Belgium Ardennes it creates many of these almost islands. I suppose in time the force of the river will do its work and it will become a true island. But this almost island also carries with it a legend of Le Tombeau du Géant: that of a giant buried in a great tomb underneath the forest. From an aerial perspective, and one I haven’t quite achieved here, the forest bears the giant’s face, with evergreen eyes, nose and mouth.

I spent a few days in Belgium with friends over Easter and visited Le Tombeau du Géant. It had special meaning for me as at the time I was also carrying around a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, and reading a few pages whenever I could. This is a book that takes the reader on a meandering journey, slowly. For me, it is a book that demanded to be read at a walking pace of an elderly couple – that of Axl and Beatrice – in spite of the narrative drive of hoping to find a dragon lurking around every page. Meeting Sir Gawain again in these pages was like meeting an old friend from university days. He took me back to a first year spent studying and clumsily translating Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

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