Kazuo Ishiguro

Congratulations to Kazuo Ishiguro for winning the Nobel Prize for literature this year. A subtle, quietly assured writer, he has always been one of my favorites. I admire him for possessing the combined powers of observation and imagination, and for his evocative but minimalistic style.

Photo source: Google/Goodreads

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki and came to England with his parents at the age of five. He’s an immigrant, in other words, but I’m sure the English are proud to claim him as their own. One of his most famous novels, The Remains of the Day (Booker Prize of 1989) is written from the point of view of a quintessentially English character, a butler. I’m not making any particular point by writing this, I’m just fascinated by the combination of cultures and the ability of someone to imagine different worlds.
Ishiguro’s latest novel, The Buried Giant, was a wonderful example of this, being set in a a sort of medieval world, an England after the departure of the Romans. The Nobel committee praised it for exploring “how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality”. Some people found it hard going, but I was totally mesmerized.

Ishiguro was surprised by his win, to the extent that at first he thought it was a hoax. He said: “Part of me feels like an imposter and part of me feels bad that I’ve got this before other living writers. Haruki Murakami, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Cormac McCarthy, all of them immediately came into my head and I just thought wow, this is a bit of a cheek for me to have been given this before them. And because I’m completely delusional, part of me feels like I’m too young to be winning something like this. But then I suddenly realised that I’m 62, so I am average age for this I suppose.”

Ishiguro is also a musician and one of Bob Dylan’s greatest fans, so he is a fitting successor to last year’s surprise winner.

 

I’m now off to buy When We Were Orphans, which for some reason I haven’t read.

Click the link below to watch a video where Ishiguro explains how his wife made him scrap his latest novel after two years’ work.

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-31693964/kazuo-ishiguro-s-wife-demanded-rewrite-on-latest-novel

21 thoughts on “Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. Thank you for calling my attention to this! I agree about being fascinated “by the combination of cultures and the ability of someone to imagine different worlds.” I’m going to check out the bit about his wife and the scrapping of “his latest novel after two years’ work.”

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  2. When I read ‘remains of The Day’, and later watched the film, I still found it hard to believe that the author was Japanese, and from a very different culture. But then I discovered that he had been here so long, he was as British as I am, and understood our class system so well. I confess I haven’t read any of his other books so far, but I was pleased to see him with the Nobel Prize.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. No. I saw an interview where he more or less said that it was a very hard read. I’m sure I will one day. When We Were Orphans is the only one I struggled with. I was younger then, it might be easier now.

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      2. Then I’ll give it a go. I don’t do audio though. I like to ‘hear’ a book in my head, not with someone else’s voice. It can force an interpretation on you which might not be the one you would have had on your own.

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  3. Marina Thanks for posting something about him. I was reading the news of him being awarded the Nobel Prize. He is indeed a great character and yes I am sure the English are proud that he is one of them. “The Remains of the Day” is a great book I have ever read. but I need to find time to read “The Buried Giant.” You made a great post! You have a wonderful weekend!

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  4. Marina, just a few days ago I learned that Ishiguro had been awarded the Nobel. I haven’t read any of his work though it’s long been on my TBR list. The Unconsoled has often been recommended to me but I think I’d read anything by Ishiguro. I’m always impressed by those who accept awards with humility. That alone warrants the honor. Thanks for bringing this author to my attention once again.

    And, I’m really enjoying all your recent artwork. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Sharon. It’s so nice to get encouraging comments💕 My two Ishiguro favorites are the Ramains of the Day and now the Buried Giant. His books are very different from each other, so it is a matter of taste. It’s one of the things I admire about him, swapping skins..

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