Exercises and Excesses

Frank Kermode

  • Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Faber, 221 pp, £14.99, May 2009, ISBN 978 0 571 24498 0

In this brilliant new book Kazuo Ishiguro maintains his preference for first-person narrative. The voice of both the first and last of this suite of five stories is that of a guitarist who plays in a café orchestra in the Piazza San Marco in Venice. He knows a lot about guitars and enough about the class of music appropriate to the setting. The first tale he tells concerns a crooner, and when he returns in the fifth, the least successful of the five, he is revealing an interest in the life of a classical cellist.

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