Kazuo Ishiguro – The Nobel in Literature 2017

We haven’t posted this until now. It’s not that we didn’t notice it. Actually I saw the news in the first instance. I’m not surprised, although this prize, always evokes a lot of discussion.

Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favourites. Born in Japan, he moved to UK when he was five, Ishiguro’s writing has some very English subtlety and excellency. He writes in various areas and you just can’t categorise him into any genre. If his very famous work ‘The remains of the day’, the Man Booker winning title, expressed the regret and compassion for past human conditions, then his ‘Never let me go’ explores the possibility of lost humanity in the future.

 

Like all migration writers, who often search their identities – who they are, and why is that. Ishiguro’s search is far beyond normal storylines from exotic experiences or seeking attention. His search is more universal and tends to stir everyone’s feeling of belonging. That makes him a greater writer than others.

Ishiguro’s other main works also include (some comments from Wikipedia)

A Pale View of Hillsstory of Etsuko, a middle-aged Japanese woman living alone in England, and opens with discussion between Etsuko and her younger daughter, Niki, about the recent suicide of Etsuko’s older daughter, Keiko.

An Artist of the Floating World – It is set in post-World War II Japan and is narrated by Masuji Ono, an aging painter, who looks back on his life and how he has lived it. He notices how his once great reputation has faltered since the war and how attitudes towards him and his paintings have changed. The chief conflict deals with Ono’s need to accept responsibility for his past actions. The novel also deals with the role of people in a rapidly changing environment.

The UnconsoledThe novel takes place over a period of three days. It is about Ryder, a famous pianist who arrives in a central European city to perform a concert. He is entangled in a web of appointments and promises which he cannot seem to remember, struggling to fulfill his commitments before Thursday night’s performance, frustrated with his inability to take control.

When We Were Orphans – The novel is about an Englishman named Christopher Banks. His early childhood was lived in the Shanghai International Settlement in China in the early 1900s and it’s a sort of detective story.

The Buried Giant a book of epic journey to search for Britain’s mystical past.

Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, because “in novels of great emotional force, [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.

In response to receiving the award, Ishiguro stated:

It’s a magnificent honour, mainly because it means that I’m in the footsteps of the greatest authors that have lived, so that’s a terrific commendation. The world is in a very uncertain moment and I would hope all the Nobel Prizes would be a force for something positive in the world as it is at the moment. I’ll be deeply moved if I could in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time.

Parramatta City Library has some of Ishiguro’s books (some electronic titles) available for loan.

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