Like figures on a Japanese screen, the painter Masuji Ono and his daughters Setsuko and Noriko are fixed in the formal attitudes that even their private. The Booker Prize-winner The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro’s most famous novel, but An Artist of the Floating World is his one book that. From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize– winning novel The Remains of the Day In the face of the.
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K azuo Ishiguro is best known for The Remains of the Dayhis Booker prizewinner; The Unconsoleda very long novel of hallucinatory strangeness; and Never Let Me Goa contemporary favourite widely taught in schools.
This, as its title suggests, is a tour de force of unreliable narration, set in post-second world war Japan, during the American occupation. Masuji Ono, a respected artist in the 30s and during the war but now retired, is garrulously recalling the past, from a highly subjective point of view. Ono, who passes his time gardening and pottering, opens his narrative with a low-key sentence whose meaning will resonate throughout the story: This kind of hesitation and uncertainty runs through everything that follows.
An Artist of the Floating World | The Japan Times
Everything, for Ono, is provisional and troubling: An Artist of the Floating World presents, with the menace of an almost dream-like calm, the reminiscences of a retired painter in the aftermath of a national disaster. A new generation of young veterans wants to forget the imperial past.
At the same time, in the tranquil seclusion of house and garden, Masuji Ono has time for some increasingly troubled reflections. He has lost his wife and son in the war, but lives on with two daughters, one of whom is married. While Ono grapples with the challenges of peacetime, and Noriko begins to negotiate her marriage, this crucial rite of passage forces Ono to reflect on his former role as a pro-government artist who advised the Committee on Unpatriotic Activities, and who the reader discovers once betrayed one of his proteges to the secret police for imprisonment and torture.
His reminiscences are teasingly equivocal, for instance: Ono is forced to revise his memories, with increasingly wretched personal recognition. kazuoo
In an interview with the Paris ReviewIshiguro describes the genesis of his second novel by referring fhe his first: I said to myself, I would like to write a full-blown novel about a man in this situation — in this case, an artist whose career becomes contaminated because he happens to live at a certain time. An Artist of the Floating World is perhaps the supreme example of his art.
An Artist of the Floating World
It is, at face value, deeply Japanese, but many of its themes — secrecy, regret, discretion, hypocrisy and loss — are also to be found in the 20th-century English novel. Kazuo Ishiguro may have been born in Nagasaki, but the discreet and subtle complexity of English and Japanese life is his subject.
Topics Kazuo Ishiguro The best novels. Order by newest oldest recommendations.
The 100 best novels: No 94 – An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (1986)
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