Book Review: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
September 16, 2012 21 Comments
Subtitle: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall
This is a collection of short stories by a favorite author of mine. While short stories are not something I tend to read, as I prefer longer stories (the size of a book), I was drawn to this book because of its author. By Ishiguro I already read the brilliant Never Let Me Go and the very brilliant The Remains of the Day. I also read When We Were Orphans.
These five stories are all narrated by male musicians, in the first person. In all cases, the story leads them into a strange situation: accompanying a serenade in a boat in Venice, in the kitchen of a hotel with a musical award in a turkey, etc. These situations are at the limit of what is believable, slightly surrealistic. Because of the situations the main characters find themselves in, it’s also quite funny.
Some of the secondary characters return in another story, which I always enjoy. Lindy Gardner, who is serenaded by her husband in the first book, has moved on from that husband in one of the other stories, and it’s fun to see what happened to her next.
I loved the first three stories, but didn’t think the fourth and fifth were at the same level as the other three, in terms of story. The writing is good throughout the book, as one would expect from Ishiguro. The stories are all between 30 and 70 pages long, so they are not very short, and there is a clear building up of the plot.
A short story reader should definitely read this and lovers of Kazuo Ishiguro’s work shouldn’t miss out on this either.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 222
First published: 2009
I got this book: from a bookswap last year
Genre: short stories, contemporary fiction
Have you read this book?
Did you enjoy it?