May 04, 2009

Nocturnes - Kazuo Ishiguro


I was so excited about the release of Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro. I only really discovered this author last year when I read a couple of his books - The Remains of The Day being an absolute favourite. Even the thought of his new book being a collection of short stories didn't put me off - thanks to Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri which I read last year I am definitely now on board with this genre.

But I have to say - I was pretty disappointed with this book. I'm not sure if I'm just a dense reader (and that truly could be it) but I just did not get these stories at all. I felt they were quite childish and the story lines ridiculous in many places (can anyone please tell me what is the point of the "dog" storyline in the second story of the collection - "Come Rain or Come Shine"??).

All of the stories are written around a theme of music - I am wondering if this is why I might not have connected with the book? I certainly enjoy and appreciate music but I am definitely no musician. I have always thought that this did not have to be an impediment to enjoying and appreciating a book - I like to read books about topics and areas that I know nothing or little about. For some reason this was not the case with this book.

The last story - Cellists - did redeem the collection a little for me. I could actually see some motivation behind the character's actions and I felt the character's themselves had some depth and realism to them.

As I said before - Maybe I am missing the whole point - if I am, can somebody please fill me in? I so wanted to enjoy (and even love) this book.

11 comments:

claire said...

Karen.. I'll try. Lol. :D

Nadia said...

I read an article about Ishiguro regarding this book and he does mention that he is really into music and I believe that his interest in music did play a part when writing these stories. He also mentioned that he did not write these stories as a short story writer would have, but as a novelist writes a book. So, he just wrote this the same way he writes his other books - all at once. I don't know if maybe that is why these stories don't feel complete or as involved. I'll probably still give it a go, but maybe Ishiguro is just better off as a novelist.

Steph said...

I'm sorry this one didn't work for you, but I thought it was a great review nonetheless! I wonder if reading this with a book club would have been helpful for you because then you could have discussed some of the stories with others, which might have helped you appreciate them if not necessarily like them? Oh well, maybe Ishiguro is a better novelist than he is a short story writer...

Karen said...

Hi Claire - I really hope you enjoy it. I put the book in the post for you yesterday!

Hi Nadia - thanks for these insights, that dies help me understand where the author was coming from. I'd be really interested to hear what you think about the book.

Hi Steph - Thanks for your comments. A book club would probably be a very good idea for this book - I so wanted to know what other people were thinking about the book as I reading it - I just felt so lost!

geomiller65 said...

I'm interviewing Ishiguro in London later today (I'm based in Bath, which is why your blog caught my eye). I'd be happy to post a link to the podcast when it's available in a couple of weeks so that you can hear the author's own take on his story collection.
best
George

Iliana said...

Oh no... I love Ishiguro so I'm bummed out to hear this one didn't live up to your expectations. I will probably put this on my list anyway so one of these days when I get around to it we'll have to compare notes :)

Trish said...

Oh man! I really loved The Remains of the Day as well. Short stories are really tough for me to get into. I've read very few collections that I actually enjoy, if you know what I mean. Most times I'm just left feeling, "huh?". Guess I'm a dense reader, too! :)

Karen said...

Hi George - first of all let me say how jealous I am that you live in Bath! That would be great if you could let me know the think to your interview - it would be great to hear the author's perspective.

Hi Iliana - I would definitely give this one a go - I would love to hear what you think of it.

Hi Trish - we are so hard on ourselves aren't we??!! I'm not usually a great short story reader either so that might have been one of the problems here.

geomiller65 said...

Here's my promised interview with Ishiguro. See what you make of it!

George

http://podularity.com/wp-content/audio/ish1.mp3

claire said...

Hi again, Karen, I just finished it, and really loved it. Thanks again so much.

The dog scene was so funny, it had me laughing out loud. I thought that it manifested the extent to which Ray would go to to help out his friend Charlie keep his marriage with Emily. Their marriage is one of the constants of his own life, being that they have been friends since college. It's much like how you would feel two people close to you falling apart. It may not be as devastating as having your own relationships fail, but is to some extent still is rather painful. I have friends who were almost on the verge of separating, and it kept my husband and I on the edge of our nerves, couldn't even sleep because of it, just because both these people are so close to us that it would surely affect our lives a great deal

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