It feels like it's the same character speaking during all five stories. By the end of the book I was quite annoyed by the lack of imagination in using the same context and characters more than once (I don't want to read a single word over Lindy Gardner anymore) and even though some bits were very enjoyable, I couldn't seem to share and understand the acclaim that surrounds Ishiguro's writing. I have faith in him nonetheless :) Will try something else later....Continua
Ishiguro is such an expert in highlighting the imperfections of life and giving the readers a bitterness that impacts. However, there's always something to hope for or a beautiful moment to capture, that's what has to be cherished.
I’ve always associated the word Nocturne with sadness, sublime sadness, deeply felt sadness, but sadness, none the less.
I think that Kazuo Ishiguro may share this feeling, even though, given that the term Nocturne when it started out simply meant a piece of music in several movements played by an ensemble at an evening party and that several of these stories revolve around ensembles playing music in the evenings, he may intend a simpler meaning. But I don’t think so. A character in one of the stories says:
“We were especially pleased when we found a recording - like Ray Charles singing ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ - where the words themselves were happy, but the interpretation was pure heartbreak.”
In these stories, as if in a deliberate reversal of this statement, the interpretation is lyrical, harmonius, light of touch, but the the meaning buried behind the words is pure heartbreak.
I'm gonna love you,
Like nobody's loved you,
Come rain or come shine.
And won't it be fine?
Days may be cloudy or sunny.
We're in or we're out of money.
But I'm with you always.
I'm with you rain or shine.
09-01-2011- I finished the five stories and I liked them all. Some are more "rounded" than others (for example, "come rain or come shine" ends abruptly whereas "Nocturne" has a very defined ending) I liked the way the author mentioned and analized music in a way that made me feel it without even listening to the actual songs. And some of the stories are really hilarious ("Crooner", "Marven Hills") I lauged a lot with the different funny scenes. In sum, very entertaining and another evidence of the big talent of this author.
08-02-2011: Just finished the first of the five stories "Crooner". An excelent tale about a falling music star. What I liket the most was the feeling of suspense all over the reading; the sense of something imminent, something big that was going to happen, but in the end, it is just about normal human beings and life. This author has a magistral way of telling a story. An ordinary moment in someone's life become art just by using the correct words. I am loving it....Continua
I don't know if Ishiguro's editor was giving him grief asking him to write something new, or if it was Ishiguro himself who one day woke up thinking: 'To hell with melancholy! Why can't anybody see how multifarious my creative talent is? I want to show to the world that I have a sense of humour, for God's sake!'
So he wrote this collection of short stories, Nocturnes, with the aim of showing to the whole world that he is able to spice up his usual melancholy Ishigurian atmospheres. In order to be still recognisable, though, he decides to retain an element of that, and reserves that for the endings of his stories, which are appropriately open and ambiguous, so that they won't fail to induce in the reader that charming feeling of 'Oh! How melancholy!'.
BUT, Kazuo decides, I am going to give my creative genius free rein. I am going to write stories that are humorous, grotesque, funny, unpredictable, yet a little melancholy in the end, so that my sensitive fans won't be disapponted. As he repeats these words to himself, this even sounds like a good idea, because he doesn't realise one basic thing. What Kazuo doesn't realise is that he doesn't really have a sense of humour, although he thinks he does. Or, rather, if he has sense of humour in his personal, everyday life, he doesn't have the sense of humour that he needs to write humorous, grotesque, funny short stories.
So he comes up with a series of short stories 'About Music and Nightfall', although I am not really sure what that means, and he is so pleased with his new tone that he doesn't realise a few details.
1) The dialogue is at times so fake that you wonder whether he by any chance hasn't written the book while watching soap operas and tear-jerkers.
2) When the characters crack jokes, as a reader you feel the sudden impulse to throw the book out of the window.
3) When he decides to give the story a grotesque turn, though, that's when he unfortunately bottoms out. Because far from being funny, these parts are actually quite embarrassing and painful to read.
4) Although reading fiction involves a certain level of suspension of disbelief, some plot turns and especially the motivations behind some characters are frankly unbelievable. A couple who decide to split up after decades together in order to favour the man's career although they still deeply love each other? Sorry, but that's just stupid. A cellist who introduces herself to a young musician as a 'virtuoso', is affronted when the latter admits to never having heard of her, and later on reveals that she can't actually play the cello, but she still is a virtuoso, because she feels she is? By the same token, I can go around introducing myself as one of the finest contemporary poets, even though I haven't written a line of poetry in my whole life, but somehow I feel that wouldn't go down well in the real world.
What I feel like saying to Ishiguro is this: Kazuo, there is nothing wrong with subtlety. I know you can do better than this. Come on, let's forget this book and let's not think about it again. Next time, just ignore your editor, and wait until you actually feel like writing.