One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character.
A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him . . . A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple hes only just met . . . A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career . . . A young cellist whose tutor promises to unwrap his talent . . .
Passion or necessityor the often uneasy combination of the twodetermines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp.
An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguros acclaimed works of fiction.
The morning I spotted Tony Gardner sitting among the tourists, spring was just arriving here in Venice. Wed completed our first full week outside in the piazza a relief, let me tell you, after all those stuffy hours performing from the back of the cafe, getting in the way of customers wanting to use the staircase. There was quite a breeze that morning, and our brand-new marquee was flapping all around us, but we were all feeling a little bit brighter and fresher, and I guess it showed in our music.
But here I am talking like Im a regular band member. Actually, Im one of the gypsies, as the other musicians call us, one of the guys who move around the piazza, helping out whichever of the three cafe orchestras needs us. Mostly I play here at the Caffè Lavena, but on a busy afternoon, I might do a set with the Quadri boys, go over to the Florian, then back across the square to the Lavena. I get on fine with them all and ...
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... Fans of his novels may enjoy the change of pace offered by this debut, but newer readers may prefer to begin with his previous works, which better exemplify his talents.
(Reviewed by Karen Rigby).
Full Review (604 words).
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.
Ishiguro is the author of three stories published in Introductions 7: Stories by ...
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