Kazuo Ishiguro

From ArticleWorld


Educated in Kent University, Kazuo Ishiguro went on to win the Booker Prize and his latest book has been cited as the runner up for Booker again. He was born in 1954 in Nagasaki, Japan and moved to England with his family at the age of five. He acquired his Bachelor’s degree at the age of 23 from the University of Kent and his Master’s from University of East Anglia two years later.(description)

Ishiguro’s first novel was “ A Pale View of Hills”. He was only 28 at that time. His second novel came along in 1986 , which was awarded the Whitebread Prize. After “An Artist of the Floating World,” Ishiguro set about to pen a novel that was made into a movie. This third novel of his won the Booker Prize for “Remains of the Day”.

Features of Ishiguro’s novels

Certain aspects of Ishiguro’s novels stand out. They are:

  • Historical accuracy
  • Extreme subjectivity of the narrative
  • Mixed chronology
  • Delicate descriptions.

These features are what make Ishiguro’s novels unique.

A student of English and Philosophy, Ishiguro’s novels are semi-historical in nature. In “An Artist of the Floating World,” he takes the reader through the turmoil that Ono, the chief character goes through when he learns of his contribution to the Second World War. One must not assume this Ono’s direct contributions since it is the indirect effect of his decisions. Ono runs into his bright student years after teaching him and learns that he had been beaten by the police. That is just one tragedy. Kenji, his son dies in a minefield. Eventually, Ono, who worries about the consequences of his “naïve” decisions, reconciles with his past actions. What is so great about this novel is the constant mental anguish that the author portrays so efforttlessly.

“The Remains of the Day” displays the meticulous research and attention to detail that Ishiguro combines to achieve not mere historical accuracy but also, manages to recreate the phsychological atmosphere. He draws the characters in this novel with much care and skill. Stevens is the quintessential gentleman’s gentleman. So was his father. Through the toughest negotiations, taking place in the master’s rooms and his father’s death, Stevens maintains the proverbial stiff upper lip. He remains stuck in his own period and world, while the rest move on. He is deeply attached to the house, and when it is sold to a wealthy American, he goes back to it. It’s not hard to imagine where he might have acquired some of his insight into the ways of aristocrats: he took a year off and was a grouse-beater in the Queens estate before going on to Kent.

Ishiguro conveys the flaws in his character’s through behaviour or through their inaction, making his techniques stand out. His use of the historical context makes his novels stand out. While most of his novels are historical, he did try his hand at science fiction in the novel “ Never Let Me Go”.

The Author today

He lives in London with his wife and partner of twenty years and daughter. He drives, it might intrest the fans to know, a Saab.