06 February 2014

Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Even when he is mediocre, Kazuo Ishiguro is still pretty good. I found these stories strangely magnetic, even though they never really came together for me. The voice was uniform throughout, despite the fact that each was narrated by someone else, and the prose was vaguely annoying. It was more American than British, and somehow saccharine and cloying. Although the stories purported to be meditations on music and nightfall, the music seemed more like a pretext, and didn't really infiltrate the stories. Attempts to interweave the tales felt hamfisted and unnecessary: the characters weren't developed enough that knowing something about them from a previous episode made any difference. Still, you did somehow want to keep reading, and there was something compelling about the twists and turns of the interactions between the characters. Overall though, a surprisingly weak effort from such a gifted author.


Camilleon said...

Hmm. I wonder if it reads better in Japanese? I'm hell-bent on being able to read Japanese (I'm taking a class here in Paris)! What would you recommend by him? And of course, I have to ask: have you tried Murakami? I read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and really enjoyed it.

culture_vulture said...

I don't know why it would, he writes in English... The Remains of the Day is totally amazing. Read it.
I read one Murakami (The Wild Sheep Chase, or something like that?) and it didn't do much for me, but I plan to give him another try at some point.

Camilleon said...

Oooooh...never mind. I looked him up really quickly, saw he was born in Nagasaki and assumed he wrote in Japanese. I did not see he actually is a British novelist! I have added Remains of the Day to my GoodReads list. :)

Yes, Murakami was...weirdly enjoyable for me. I didn't really draw much in the way of a "deeper meaning" from Hard-Boiled Wonderland, but it is extremely memorable for a variety of reasons. It's very...male, which I actually enjoyed, the narrator has a very dry, understated sense of humor, and the world(s) felt unusually unique and tangible. It's definitely imprinted itself onto to my brain. I would be curious to know your thoughts on it!