Like many of Kazuo Ishiguro's widely-acclaimed novels, Nocturnes
charts the nature of shifting relationships, the passage of time, real and perceived failures, the consequences of deferred dreams, feelings of estrangement, and the quiet but destructive erosion that occurs when truth is denied for too long, yet it does so with more attenuated gestures and less reflection.
In "Crooner" and "Nocturne" a singer and a saxophone player attempt to revitalize their careers by changing their lives. Though we may expect a certain degree of typecasting, these characters never entirely move beyond our preconceptions of Hollywood "has-beens" to become empathetic figures, nor do they push towards the extreme edge of the grotesquely satirical, as Gloria Swanson does in the role of Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard
, 1950). While plots about careers in decline could be made...
Beyond the Book
Born in Nagasaki, Japan on November 8, 1954, Kazuo Ishiguro moved to Britain in 1960 at the age of five when his father began research at the National Institute of Oceanography. His family had not expected to stay, but ended up making Britain their home. He was educated at a grammar school for boys in Surrey, and later read English and Philosophy at the University of Kent, Canterbury, during which time he was also employed as a community worker in Glasgow (1976). After graduating, he worked as a residential social worker in London and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he met his early mentor, Angela Carter....