Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
I'm not a big fan of short stories but I'm a big fan of Ishiguro. After recently having an enlightening text conversation with a friend about Never Let Me Go (see here), I decided to read Nocturnes, Ishiguro's latest release which is a collection of five short stories about music, musicians and the close of the day.
Each story is told in the first person by either a musician or a music lover. The settings are Venice, London, the English countryside, Los Angeles and then back to Venice. There is a recurring theme among all the stories - love and the passage of time. If you look up the exact English definition of nocturne, it means 'an instrumental composition of a pensive, dreamy mood, especially one for the piano.' Dreamy and pensive are exactly the words I would use to describe these stories. Although all the stories were quiet and understated they were rather engrossing.
I usually just dip into short story books but I read Nocturnes from cover to cover in just a few days. It has Ishiguro's usual sensitive, beautiful and yet self-contained writing style. I suppose he also drew on his experiences being a musician himself and a former chorister. What makes this book special is the writing. It's not surprising that soon after this I decided to read another Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills.