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Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Japan in 1954. His parents moved to England in 1960, but they were convinced they would soon return to Japan, so young Kazuo was brought up between two worlds. They ended up staying, and he studied at the University of Kent and the University of East Anglia. He claims he has “drifted into” writing almost by chance, as in his boyhood he dreamed of becoming a musician. He believes that writing “may be a consolation for something that got broken. The activity of re-creating the world on the page, finding alternative worlds, is a way of trying to fix that thing or caress that wound…a wound that will never heal”. In his words, the difficulties he encountered while growing up between two different and distant cultures become self-evident.

He has written six novels so far. In each of them the protagonist reconsiders his/her whole life, trying to evacuate the events that shaped and determined it. A pale view of hills (1982) is set in post-war Japan where a widow recalls her life in Nagasaki and the terrible events of World War II are just the background. The atomic bomb is never mentioned directly but its presence always looms behind the narration as something which cannot be forgotten or ignored. Also An artist of the floating World (1986) is set in Japan. While organising the marriage of his daughter the main character goes through his life and finally understand that he washed of his artistic talents to support Japan’s militaristic propaganda during World War II. His existential failure is determined by the painful awareness that the ideals he held so strongly in his youth have turned out to false and meaningless.
Ishiguro’s third novel, The remains of the day, wad awarded the 1989 Booker prize and was later turned into a successful fil starting Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The Unconsoled, published in 1995, is an involving psychological mystery set in nameless central European city where the protagonist, a famous pianist called Ryder, has to give the most important performance of his career. Instead, he finds himself in the middle of a puzzling and disturbing sequence of events which reveal to him some crucial clues about his own past. When we were orphans, published in 2000, is set in Shanghai. It is narrated by its protagonist, a private detective investigatine his parents’ disapperance in that city twenty years before the beginning of the narrative.
Never Let Me Go (2005) is set in a dystopian Britain where clones behave like human beings and muse on what their lives might have been but finally accept their destiny of death with resignation. Ishiguro’s lastest work is a collection of five short stories, Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, published in 2009. Set in different places, these stories explore the themes of regret and personal frustration their characters experience at some moment of their life.

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