Musings on the byways of popular culture
05/10/2017 by Gatz 42 Comments
05/10/2017 at 11:28
Never Let Me Go is both accessible and astonishing. Do not see the film first, read the book. You won’t regret it, though it will get you. It’s terse.
05/10/2017 at 11:48
I am totes agree. Fantastic, engrossing book. Film’s not at all bad as screen adaptations go, but book unreservedly recommended, one of my faves.
05/10/2017 at 12:08
I asked the same question on The Guardian and that seems to be the opinion there too. Thanks!
05/10/2017 at 15:44
I’ve never read any of his books – would I enjoy them?
05/10/2017 at 15:58
I don’t know. What kind of books do you like?
The Remains of the Day is an absolute masterpiece. Such restraint, so much trembling emotion behind every full stop that never gets released. There’s a single sentence at the end that is in such banal language but you’ve been waiting for some humanity, something real, for so long that it’s like a dam burst. Gets me every time.
I really love An Artist of the Floating World, too.
Didn’t like The Unconsoled at all: weird, and didn’t suit his buttoned-up narrative style at all, I didn’t reckon. The Buried Giant was a bit odd, too.
Never Let Me Go is amazing.
05/10/2017 at 16:11
I’d agree with all of that. Only to add A Pale View Of Hills, his first novel, while not as great as Remains Of The Day or Never Let Me Go, is definitely worth reading. Quite similar in tone to An Artist of the Floating World.
05/10/2017 at 22:53
The Unconsoled is one of the few books I gave up on. To me his writing just seems so very pleased with itself.
06/10/2017 at 07:37
The Unconsoled is a book that really polarises readers. Some people – even people who are otherwise fans of Ishiguro’s work – find it frustrating and annoying. It certainly got rather mixed reviews when it was first published.
And then there are others – like myself – who consider it an absolute tour de force. it completely did my head in. In a commendable way.
06/10/2017 at 07:42
Golly, I’m deffo in the “fan of his work but found it frustrating and annoying” camp. I hated it.
06/10/2017 at 07:48
That was the first of his that I didn’t read. I remember some odd interviews and reviews at the time which said something about how it started as a detective story but he abandoned that idea at a late stage, but finished the book anyway. I stress that I haven’t read it, but it just seemed an odd way for such a careful writer to approach a book.
06/10/2017 at 08:00
Detective story? I can’t see that at all.
Yes there are some longeurs but they are greatly outnumbered by moments of wonderful, poetic magic. It is like a long, strangely unsettling dream full of lurking anxieties. He keeps pulling the carpet up from under the reader’s feet.
So many grotesque, bizarre, tragi-comic scenes.
06/10/2017 at 13:15
That sounds more like When We Were Orphans, which was indeed a bit of a peculiar mish-mash.
06/10/2017 at 13:25
You may be right – I’m relying on something imperfectly remember from a couple of decades ago.
Vulpes Vulpes says
05/10/2017 at 16:49
Funnily enough, we were talking books (and bollocks) in the boozer at lunchtime, and this chap’s name came up.
I mentioned that The Remains Of The Day was one of a very, very small number of books that both my wife and I have tossed aside into the reject pile, unable to justify to ourselves the waste of any more time grinding through to the end for the sake of it. And yet, so many find it a great read. Just goes to show. Or something.
Where’s that new Lee Child gone?
05/10/2017 at 16:52
He’s only gone and won the Nobel Prize for literature, the blimmin’ eejit.
Bingo Little says
05/10/2017 at 16:54
Lee Child has won the Nobel Prize for literature?!
05/10/2017 at 16:57
Only a matter of time, I reckon.
Rob C says
05/10/2017 at 17:14
Who’s he? SERIOUSLY.
05/10/2017 at 16:56
Well, yes, that’s why his name came up in t’pub.
05/10/2017 at 17:13
Seriously. Who’s he? Some tedious chin stroke linen jacket wine bar must read from years ago?
05/10/2017 at 17:17
I like a good story. Entertain me. Seriously engage me. Keep me hooked, and if you’re that good a writer, a Thesaurus is a pleasure.
06/10/2017 at 11:45
Seriously? Well. Maybe. Maybe not. He is who he is. As the great unwashed are so fond of saying, educate yourself. If you can spare the time from harassing Waitrose.
Dodger Lane says
05/10/2017 at 18:28
I thought his first three were superb. The Remains of the day is a masterpiece, but then lost interest with When we were orphans which I thought was unreadable, just very dull. But as I write this Alex Clark of the Grauniad has declared this as his masterpiece so what the hell do I know.
05/10/2017 at 18:52
Recently read The Unconsoled which I would warmly recommend. It is perhaps a little overlong but is an extraordinary piece of fiction. So many peculiar, otherworldly, dreamlike, sometimes hilarious, moments.
05/10/2017 at 19:08
Now is the time then to reprise Jonathan Coe’s joke about the Nobel prize winner.
Off to Kazuo Ishiguro’s launch party. Told him I would be there at 7ish. He said, Fine, but don’t call me Ish.
Just me then?
05/10/2017 at 20:18
05/10/2017 at 20:45
Apropos of absolutely ‘nowt, my friend & his family live in the house where yer man wrote The Remains Of The Day. In their daughter Minnie’s bedroom to be precise.
05/10/2017 at 20:51
That must have been annoying
05/10/2017 at 21:14
H.P. Saucecraft says
06/10/2017 at 10:36
Massive lolsies here – well done, Lemonhope!
06/10/2017 at 14:04
No, he’d moved out long before they moved in. Striking lack of lolsies.
06/10/2017 at 05:52
He has rather good taste in music.
Stacey Kent is one of my favourite jazz singers, so I was fascinated to be told yesterday that her husband Jim Tomlinson and Ish have written songs together for her.
They seem to be rather good pals.
Interesting to hear them trying to explain the Portuguese word saudade.
06/10/2017 at 08:30
I read The Remains Of The Day when I studied literature and really like it. So subtle.
Found the movie, which I’d already seen, underwhelming. But then I’m not very keen on either Anthony “I’m a proper actor, me” Hopkins or Emma “I’m an equally proper actor, me” Thompson. So the book was much better than I expected.
I will probably explore his books further now.
06/10/2017 at 08:35
I actually consider the movie the most successful screen adaption of a favourite book that I can think of. In the book it’s the things left unsaid that are so powerful and I thought Hopkins and Thompson conveyed that very well.
06/10/2017 at 09:18
Absolutely agree. It’s a beautiful film. You can see Stevens’s soul sobbing behind Hopkins’s slammed-shut face, and Thompson (who has never been less than fantastic in everything she’s ever been in) is incredibly likeable: you ache for her.
Of the supporting cast, James Fox is absolute perfection as Lord Darlington – that naïve, stupid decency shining out of his every word. Hugh Grant is great too, in an early role.
06/10/2017 at 09:33
Oh god just remembered about Genial Harry Grout as Stevens Elder. HOWL.
06/10/2017 at 10:42
I seem to remember that even Christopher ‘Superman’ Reeve was reasonably good in that film.
06/10/2017 at 10:55
Even? Reeve was reliably great in everything he was in.
06/10/2017 at 13:47
Well, I was in my late teens at the time. Maybe it’s time to revaluate.
06/10/2017 at 15:00
It’s always time revaluate. I’m doing it right now.
06/10/2017 at 10:43
Kazuo Ishiguro’s delightfully nuanced meditations on loss were sublimely inspirational during my self-imposed exile at Neuschwanstein in the long summer of ’79.
06/10/2017 at 14:28
Google searches for “Neuschwanstein” immediately quadruple. Adverts for Wagner CDs appear on Afterworder’s Facebook feeds across the globe.
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