Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017. His novels include An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day (which won the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go.


Kazuo Ishiguro, 1 August 1985

The British and the Japanese may not be particularly alike, but the two races are exceedingly comparable. The British must actually believe this, for why else would they be displaying such a curious desperation to deny it? No doubt, they sense that to look at Japanese culture too closely would threaten a long-cherished complacency about their own. Hence the energy expended on sustaining an image of Japan as a place of fanatical businessmen, of hara-kiri and sci-fi gadgetry. Books, articles and television programmes focus on whatever is most extreme and bizarre in Japanese life; the Japanese people may be viewed as amusing or alarming, expert or devious, but they must above all be seen to be non-human. While they remain non-human, their values and ways will remain safely irrelevant. No wonder the British are so fond of the ‘inscrutability’ of Japanese faces.

It may be inherently impossible to write a novel that openly poses such questions as whether robots can be said to have souls, or to be conscious, or capable of feeling love, or of inspiring and reciprocating...

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Micro-Shock: Kazuo Ishiguro

Adam Mars-Jones, 5 March 2015

It’s typical​ of Kazuo Ishiguro’s low-key, misdirecting approach to the business of fiction that, although the book contains such creatures as dragons and pixies, the buried giant...

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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...

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Outrageous Game: Ishiguro’s Nightmares

Frank Kermode, 21 April 2005

All of Kazuo Ishiguro’s six novels are first-person narratives. For the most part the voices of these narrators are quiet, civilised, rather formal. This is so whether the speaker is the...

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Something Fishy

James Francken, 13 April 2000

China was a surprise to Auden and Isherwood – it reminded them of Surrey. Faber had commissioned them to write a travel book about the Far East early in the summer of 1937. The Japanese...

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Unlike Kafka

Amit Chaudhuri, 8 June 1995

The shame of being on the wrong side of history: this is what Kazuo Ishiguro’s first three novels have been about. It is not a condition that has been written about a great deal in English,...

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In Service

Anthony Thwaite, 18 May 1989

There’s an Auden sonnet, written in 1938 as part of the ‘In Time of War’ sequence, in which the setting seems to be a country house where great matters are being discussed: ...

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Manly Scowls

Patrick Parrinder, 6 February 1986

Now that the three-volume novel and the circulating library are dead,’ I imagine someone as saying around the year 1900, ‘novels will have to be shorter, sharper, more up to date. The...

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