Kazuo Ishiguro, a Nobel laureate for these muddled times

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WHEN Kazuo Ishiguro started to write fiction, he wasn’t steeped in literature. He said that he had not read very much at all. His distinctive style grew out of a desire to write the cleanest sentence possible, line by line; he has spoken of a wish simply for readers to understand his work. The Nobel committee, awarding him the prize for literature on October 5th, rightly praised him as an author “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”. 

It is the layers of understanding available to his audience which marks him out as the most remarkable writer of his generation. From his very first novel, “A Pale View of Hills”, published in 1982, he explored the conflict between experience and recollection. His narrators cannot simply be called “unreliable”, for it is not that they set out to delude or trick the reader: rather, they tell us the stories they themselves want to hear.  

This is perhaps most evident in his most…Continue reading

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