Dan Sandman

20: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

In Books, Fiction, Romance, Short Stories on 17/05/2013 at 12:00 pm

I’m a musician who loves to read books. So when I came across, in Swiss Cottage Market, a used book themed around music, by an author I liked, I was happy. Nocturnes is a collection of five short stories, written in 2009, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s seventh book. It’s a romantically tinged portrayal of life, a plotted-out and nostalgic comment on music, and a thoughtfully presented work of art.

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

However, I’d have liked Ishiguro to focus more on the interior world of the musician: the revealing close-up portrait; the mundane, daily, unexciting humdrum of struggling to make a living or harking back to glory days. Instead, partly due to limitations of form, Nocturnes presents the reader with, to draw an analogy, five landscape photographs, which, when taken as whole, merely represent an outsider’s perspective. So, although it was a good collection of short stories, I thought it could have been less picturesque and more cogent with its theme.

At times, the book is mostly concentrated on orchestrating character’s actions and ignoring their emotional interiors. And yet, perhaps, I was, as a reader, sometimes prejudiced towards impartiality. I may have became overly concious of the artist’s craft because I write, perform and produce musical art myself. It just goes to show, when you know about a fictional work’s subject, it’s easy to pick up on its flaws.

Part of the beauty of fiction is that it is just that, fiction.


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