Book Review - Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I picked up Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro at the library in Florida for my drive back to New Orleans last week. I picked it off the shelf simply because it filled the "music term" requirement for the What's In A Name Reading Challenge I am working on, it was only later that I learned Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day. Honestly I never finished watching that movie but now I am tempted to go read the book and then try watching the movie again, because I think I fell in love with Ishiguro's writing style while listening to Nocturnes.

From Publisher's Weekly:

"This suite of five stories hits all of Ishiguro's signature notes, but the shorter form mutes their impact. In Crooner, Tony Gardner, a washed-up American singer, goes sloshing through the canals of Venice to serenade his trophy wife, Lindy. The narrator, Jan, is a hired guitar player whose mother was a huge fan of Tony, but Jan's experience playing for Tony fractures his romantic ideals. Lindy returns in the title story, which finds her in a luxury hotel reserved for celebrity patients recovering from cosmetic surgery. The narrator this time is Steve, a saxophonist who could never get a break because of his loser ugly looks. Lindy idly strikes up a friendship with Steve as they wait for their bandages to come off and their new lives to begin. In the final story, Cellists, an unnamed saxophonist narrator who, like Jan, plays in Venice's San Marco square, observes the evolving relationship of a Hungarian cello prodigy after he meets an American woman. The stories are superbly crafted, though they lack the gravity of Ishiguro's longer works (Never Let Me Go; Remains of the Day), which may leave readers anticipating a crescendo that never hits."

Nocturnes being my first Ishiguro book I wasn't left hanging in anticipation of a "crescendo that never hits" as the above review suggested so if you are new to his work maybe this is the title to start with as it is engrossing and delightful to read but doesn't leave you hanging as it might if you read one of the more popular novels first. I would definitely recommend reading Nocturnes and look forward to reading more from Kazuo Ishiguro.

1. Food

2. Plant

3. Title

4. Place Name

5. Body of Water

6. Music Term

Currently "Reading":
Book - The Adventures of Doctor Who. Omnibus comprising: Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks; Doctor Who and the Revenge of the Cybermen; Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster by Terrance Dicks
E-Book - The Man Upstairs & Other Stories - From the Manor Wodehouse Collection, a selection from the early works of P. G. Wodehouse by P.G. Wodehouse
Audio - Selected Shorts: A Touch of Magic (Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story) by Various Authors

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