Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a collection of short fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro. After six novels, it is Ishiguro’s first collection of short stories. READERS GUIDE. “In both craft and substance Nocturnes reveals a master at work.” —The Seattle Times The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that . From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize– winning novel The Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of.

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Review by Levi Stahl Tags: NocturnesKazuo Ishiguro. The first of those writers is a careful, understated realist, observing society and the attempts of flawed, frequently repressed individuals to find a place for themselves within it; think of a slightly less buttoned-down Henry James.

That Ishiguro is also on display in An Artist of the Floating Worldwhich focuses on a guilt-ridden Japanese artist in the years after the war. Looking back, we can see that the second, more unpredictable Ishiguro has also been present in some form from the start of his career: The Unconsoled was published near the end of my undergraduate years, and a favorite professor and I discussed it at length. She said, only half joking, that she washed her nocturnss a dozen times in the course of reading nocturnea The novel does have that sort of effect.

Neither of us was entirely sure what Ishiguro was trying to do with the book, but nevertheless we were impressed, even astonished, by this unexpected change in his writing—and we both wondered, worried, even, where he might go from there. Not to make too great a claim for the book, but like Finnegans Wake it seemed to represent an end rather than a beginning, a playing out of an ultimately sterile—if fascinating—logic.


To move forward as a writer, Ishiguro would nocturbes to figure out a way to reconcile this more complicated, experimental style with his earlier, more obviously controlled writing—to do otherwise would risk incomprehensibility on the one hand, stasis on the other.

And with his next novel, it seemed that he understood that: Never Let Me Godespite some sci-fi trappings and even a brief descent into kazup gothic imagery near the end remains essentially a realistic novel, focused on the stunted emotional understanding of a young woman who slowly discovers the reasons she is condemned to second-class citizenship.

Five Stories of Music and Nightfallparticularly interesting.

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro | Quarterly Conversation

Characters recur, and the narrative voice, even as its owner changes, retains a certain casual, colloquial, even awkward tone that will be familiar to readers of Never Let Me Go while the voice differs less than one might expect from story to story, its mimicry of the patterns and habits of thought remains convincing within each story nonetheless. The stories that bookend the volume, told by a jobbing guitarist in Venice, are straightforward and beautiful, pitting the promise of music and thus art in general against the disappointments and compromises of daily life.

Unusually for Ishiguro, they are mostly about people other than the narrator, who for the most part watches others and attempts to figure out their motivations. The morning I spotted Tony Gardner sitting among the tourists, spring was just arriving here in Venice. There was quite a breeze that morning, and our brand-new marquee was flapping all around us, but we were all feeling a little bit brighter and fresher, and I guess it showed in our music.


Both begin firmly in a realist mode, with clearly flawed narrators spinning somewhat self-justifying accounts of their lives leading up to the events of their stories—but before too long, both veer into truly strange territory.

Review: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro | Books | The Guardian

For the first twenty of its fifty pages, it, too, seems like an ordinary, straightforward story: The surprises in the story are a substantial part of its pleasures, so the less said the better, but the deftness with which Ishiguro moves from the world of ordinary human motivations to pathology and comic—yet troubling—absurdity is stunning, as is the resolution of the story, which is unexpectedly calm, kind, and even generous.

An author who can keep you reading—and keep you anticipating his every ishiguri work—despite frustrations and disappointments is a rare and satisfying artist.

That makes it all the more exciting to read this collection—and especially those two crucial stories—and get the impression that Ishiguro has made peace with his warring tendencies, and that he finally may see the difficult but rewarding way forward. You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Mar The Comedy nocfurnes Mishap and Misfortune: