This Kazuo Ishiguro´s read is not as rewarding as some of his other titles. It does not lack Mr Ishiguro´s native skills: ambivalence, narrative landslides, enigmas that remain open throughout the plot and a slow, mesmerizing dealing with time. The historical setting of the story (pre-war Shanghai) is also magnificent as Mr Kazuo has good taste for choosing the timeline atrezzo of his writing. But here the plot eats out the characters, who lack depth, specially the main character, something that could easily -and in most positive terms- be forgiven in my beloved “The Buried Giant” since it is an allegory, but not here, in a novel of more conventional fabric. For in “When we were orphans” the final texture of the story is a little void, archetypical. A pity.