Kazuo Ishiguro was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, a very pleasing development. He’s an amazing author who you can genuinely recommend to people because he’s not too ‘wordy’. Not much really seems to happen in his books, I think because they are all written in the past tense which automatically removes the sense of drama and urgency. Still there are moments in all his books (well all the ones I’ve read) that are like being hit in the face with a brick, in an emotional way…
Well this may be my new favourite book. It’s not perfect but certainly got me right in the feels. It’s hard to really talk about without giving loads away, and it’s one of those books where little bits of information are drip fed to you until it all comes out. But then it was made into a film with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield a few years ago so maybe everyone knows the plot anyway…
Artist of a Floating World is a short book set in Japan by an author I like about memories, which is the kind of book I read these days. Bought on impulse, what a shock I really liked it. I think it feels like I’m being interesting or daring reading books about foreign countries in the past (so different from now) but really when that’s basically all you read about these days it becomes pretty tame! That isn’t the books fault though. Continue reading “Artist of a Floating World by Kazuo Ishigoro- Book Review”
I read The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and really enjoyed it, and I had seen lots of posters advertising the paperback release of The Buried Giant so I decided to give it a try.
Ostensibly, it’s about an elderly couple who head out on a journey to visit their son in a neighbouring village. But they encounter various dangers along the journey.
A long walk for a woman of your years to make to a son’s village, mistress. Wouldn’t you rather be living there with him where he can see to your comforts each day, instead of having you walk like this, unsheltered from the road’s dangers?
Sister has long enjoyed this book, but she reads difficult books with words and thoughts in them so I had always eschewed it. Kazuo Ishiguro may be better known for Never Let Me Go as it was recently a film with Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley and some guy.
The Remains of the Day was also a film with Emma Thomson and Anthony Hopkins and got 8 oscar noms, but that was back in 1993.
In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside and into his past.
Above is the blurb from the back cover which is both uninteresting sounding, and sort of sinister. The book definitely isn’t sinister, and I found it interesting even if nothing much happens. I rather enjoyed it.
Stevens does set off on a country road trip to visit Miss Kenton, the former housekeeper. There are no bear attacks or high speed chases. The biggest excitement is that he runs out of fuel at one point- hope that wasn’t too much of a spoiler. Instead the focus is on his past as he can’t help dwelling on past events with Miss Kenton and also his past employer.
But I see I am becoming preoccupied with these memories and this is perhaps a little foolish.
Stevens is a likeable, if repressed, protagonist I felt frustrated for him that he wasn’t better able to express his emotions, the passages concering his father illustrate that the most. I did actually found him quite funny though, especially as he tried to learn how to banter with his new American employer
For one thing, how would one know for sure that at any given moment a response of the bantering sort is truly what is expected? One hardly need dwell on the catastrophic possibility of uttering a bantering remark only to discover it eholly inappropriate.
Because this is a first person internal monologue (rather than driven by plot events) I feel that I can’t really go into much detail of what happens in the book without giving the game away. But I liked it very much.