An Artist of the Floating World

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Paperback, 1989




Vintage International (1989), Edition: 1st, 206 pages


It is 1948. Japan is rebuilding her cities after the calamity of World War II, her people putting defeat behind them and looking to the future. The celebrated painter Masuji Ono fills his days attending to his garden, his house repairs, his two grown daughters and his grandson, and his evenings drinking with old associates in quiet Iantern-lit bars. His should be a tranquil retirement. But as his memories continually return to the past - to a life and a career deeply touched by the rise of Japanese militarism - a dark shadow begins to grow over his serenity.

Media reviews

Ishiguro describes the genesis of his second novel by referring to his first: “There was a subplot in A Pale View of Hills about an old teacher who has to rethink the values on which he’s built his life. 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.” ... Ishiguro’s fiction has certainly mined the complexities involved in the unreliable, first-person narrator. An Artist of the Floating World is perhaps the supreme example of his art. 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.
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“An Artist of the Floating World” is a sensitive examination of the turmoil in postwar Japan, a time when certainties were overturned, gender politics shifted, the hierarchy of the generations seemed to topple and even the geography of cities changed. All this is made more poignant when seen through the eyes of a man who is rejected by the future and who chooses to reject his own past.
In the second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, the teacher of discredited values is the narrator and main character. Mr. Ono is a retired painter and art master, and as in A Pale View of Hills, the story bobs about between reminiscences of different periods of the hero's life. Not that Mr. Ono is a hero: in fact, he is the least admirable and sympathetic of Ishiguro's chief characters, an opportunist and timeserver, adapting his views and even his artistic style to the party in power. So it comes that in the Thirties he deserts his first, westernizing master of painting for the strict, old-fashioned style and patriotic content of the imperialist, propaganda art.
It is not unusual to find new novels by good writers, novels with precise wording, witty phrases, solid characterizations, scenes that engage. Good writers abound - good novelists are very rare. Kazuo Ishiguro is that rarity. His second novel, ''An Artist of the Floating World,'' is the kind that stretches the reader's awareness, teaching him to read more perceptively.
The year 1945, like 1830 and 1914, now seems a natural watershed – above all in countries which experienced national defeat, social upheaval and military occupation. An Artist of the Floating World, a beautiful and haunting novel by the author of A Pale View of the Hills, consists of the rambling reminiscences of a retired painter set down at various dates in the Japan of the late Forties. Americanisation is in full swing, national pride has been humbled, and the horror of the bombed cities and the loss of life is beginning to be counted. The young soldiers who came back from the war are turning into loyal corporation men, eager to forget the Imperial past and to dedicate the remainder of their lives to resurgent capitalism. Ishiguro’s narrator, Masuji Ono, has lost his wife and son but lives on with two daughters, one of whom is married. Were it not for his anxieties over his second daughter’s marriage negotiations, Ono could be left to subside into the indolence of old age. As it is, ‘certain precautionary steps’ must be taken against the investigations to be pursued, as a matter of course, by his prospective son-in-law. The past has its guilty secrets which Ono must slowly and reluctantly bring back to consciousness.
....despite the rigidity of Ishiguro's prosewhich matches Ono's inflexibilitythe once famous artist gathers pathos as he moves through the pages of a novel that is both a reminder and a warning.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cameling
Having spent most of his youth and young adult life in a Japan where unquestioning duty to the national interest was instilled in everyone, artist Masuji Ono now an older man, struggles to understand post-war Japan and the modern views held by his old students, his daughters and why his grandson would want to pretend to be the Lone Ranger when he should more appropriately want to play at being a samurai warrior.

The marriage negotiations for his younger daughter, Noriko, the year before, were unexpectedly and suddenly called to a halt and he was comfortably assured that the reason for the break was because the other family did not feel their son was sufficiently worthy to be tied to Ono's. However, his older daughter, Setsuko, gently hints that there may be other reasons for the break following the traditional investigations into families that take place during Japanese marriage negotiations. Upon reflection, he starts to wonder if his nationalistic duty as an artist creating military and patriotic art, which provided him with not just fame but respect and influence then, could perhaps now be negatively considered as fascism.

He starts to question his own memories of his youth and his actions in the name of imperialist support for Japan's war efforts.

This is a superbly beautiful work.
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LibraryThing member lauralkeet
It's 1948, and retired Japanese artist Masuji Ono is watching his country rebuild -- physically, emotionally, and politically -- after the damage wrought by the second World War. He lost loved ones and his home was damaged, as were some of his regular haunts. Now his life revolves around his two adult daughters Setsuko and Noriko, and his young grandson Ichiro. Setsuko and Ichiro live far away, but Noriko lives with her father. A marriage deal is in the works, but the sisters are nervous because a previous negotiation fell through. Ono is oblivious to the risk, and even more importantly fails to grasp that his own pre-war activities could be damaging Noriko's prospects.

Ono provides the narrative, and while there's plenty of dialogue, a great deal is inside his head. Details drip out like water from a leaky faucet. He goes off on tangents, and sometimes references important events or conversations, but doesn't fill in the details until later. He often ends a long story by saying it may not have happened exactly as he remembered it. Kazuo Ishiguro uses Noriko and Setsuko to fill in the blanks through conversations with their father. And his portrayal of the Japanese father-daughter relationship is brilliant. When Ono's daughters challenge him, they do so in a very indirect way. They make suggestions instead of overt requests, even when the matter is of the utmost importance. As Noriko's marriage negotiations begin, Setsuko is clearly worried about something from their past, and wants Ono to clear things up with certain associates:
"I wonder how Mr Kuroda is these days. I can remember how he used to come here, and you would talk together for hours in the reception room."
"I've no idea about Kuroda these days."
"Forgive me, but I wonder if it may not be wise if Father were to visit Mr Kuroda soon."
"Visit him?"
"Mr. Kuroda. And perhaps certain other such acquaintances from the past."
"I'm not sure I follow what you're saying, Setsuko."
"Forgive me, I simply meant to suggest that Father may wish to speak to certain acquaintances from his past. That is to say, before the Saitos' detective does. After all, we do not wish any unnecessary misunderstandings to arise."
"No, I suppose we don't," I said, returning to my paper.
I believe we did not discuss the matter further after that. Neither did Setsuko raise it again for the remainder of her stay last month. (p. 85)

As Ono reminisces on his pre-war artistic career the reader comes to understand his daughters' concerns. But Ono is more savvy and self-aware than he lets on, and takes a personal risk at what he judges to be a critical point in the marriage negotiations.

This is one of Ishiguro's early novels, and its style is much like The Remains of the Day, which is one of my all-time favorite books. An Artist of the Floating World is nearly as great, and highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member browner56
Masuji Ono, retired and living in Japan shortly after the end of World War II, is reflecting on the course of his life. Once a celebrated painter who devoted his art to the imperialist regime before and during the war, he is now largely disgraced and blamed for his role in supporting a losing cause. Spending most of his days repairing his bomb-ravaged home on the outskirts of the “floating world” pleasure district, Ono’s thoughts lead him on a difficult emotional journey from outright denial to acceptance of the cost that his actions have imposed on his family, his colleagues, and his country.

An Artist of the Floating World is a beautifully written book with prose so subtle and delicate that is easy for the reader to lose track of the powerful themes it explores. Who bears the responsibility for the consequences of misplaced loyalty? Do sons and daughters inevitably pay for the past sins of their parents? How do we reconcile the internal conflict between the desire to pursue both pleasure and higher meaning in our lives? Ishiguro does a masterful job of addressing these issues while evoking the details of a long-forgotten era. While not as compelling as the author’s more celebrated The Remains of the Day, reading this novel was a highly satisfying experience nonetheless.
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LibraryThing member SqueakyChu
Following World War II, Masuji Ono, father of two grown daughters, slowly reflects on his life as an artist though he is now retired. Setsuko, the older of his daughters is married with one son. Noriko, the younger of his daughters has recently been rejected by the family of man to whom she would have been given in marriage. As time draws near again for marriage negotiations with another man, hence with a second family, there is speculation that things might go awry because of Ono's past as an artist.

What follows is a very quiet, subtle story of family, art, friendship, tutors, and passion. It is told gently, mostly through conversation and recall. It's the kind of story that holds you in its murmurings, but doesn't quickly or overtly reveal what you more and more ache to know. The beauty of the way this story unfolds is its special charm and what has made it by far my favorite of the four books I've now read by this native Japanese, British author.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
A lovingly yet uncompromisingly rendered little (even at 200 pages) story about ambition, legacies, fathers and sons and trying to let go of the old life after it's all been swept away while still salvaging something of all those efforts to be proud in. And coming to terms with the evil you've done, or not. And finding a way to relate to your successors in a sprirt of generosity, and let go of your resentment, and be old and pass away, and whether they repeat your awful mistakes or build something you would't approve of, just not being weird about shit. Uncomfortable and inspirational.… (more)
LibraryThing member phebj
This is the second book I've read by Kazuo Ishiguro. The first was "The Remains of the Day", which is one of my favorite books. There are similarities between the books. Both tell the stories, in first person, of "older" (50 or 60-ish) male narrators as they look back over their lives and are forced to re-evaluate some of their actions. Both books also take place after the Second World War, one in Britain, the other in Japan, as those countries struggle to adjust to their new, diminished positions in the world order.

What I love about Ishiguro's writing style is how he gets inside his character's heads. You immediately become sympathetic to them and it's only as the books go on that you start to realize (often along with the narrators) that they may not be seeing things the way everyone else does. His narrators are proud men and their accomplishments are important to them.

In "An Artist of the Floating World", Masuji Ono wanted to be an artist since he was a boy despite his father's belittling of the profession. He becomes one of the successful artists of the floating world--"the night-time world of pleasure, entertainment and drink"--of an unnamed city in Japan (Wikipedia says its Nagasaki--where Ishiguro was born). Eventually, Ono decides to leave the floating world and begins working for the Japanese government creating propaganda paintings in the lead-up to Japan's entry in the Second World War.

The book takes place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, after the "surrender", when public opinion has changed drastically about the wisdom of Japan's actions in the War. One of Ono's current worries is that he played such a vital role in pre-war Imperial Japan that he is jeopardizing his daughter's chances of finding a suitable marriage partner. His pride prevents him from seeing his role the way others do. As a colleague of his during those days says to him:

"Army officers, politicians, businessmen . . . They've all been blamed for what happened to this country. But as for the likes of us, Ono, our contribution was always marginal. No one cares now what the likes of you and me once did. They look at us and see only two old men with their sticks. . . . We're the only ones who care now. The likes of you and me, Ono, when we look back over our lives and see they were flawed, we're the only ones who care now."

This is a beautifully written, compelling story and I'm giving it 4 1/2 stars.
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LibraryThing member KLmesoftly
The story of a Japanese Nationalist painter post-WWII as he adjusts to a Westernizing nation and attempts to help his youngest daughter marry despite his own now-distasteful background.

I recently finished a course on twentieth century Japan, and I have to say, Ishiguro has done an amazing job of capturing the atmosphere and character of the time. The protagonist is imperfect but endearing; I felt for him, and found myself missing the (inevitably destructive) ideals that he felt that Japan had lost. Other reviewers have expressed annoyance at the way the main character's daughters treat him--I'll second that, but with a note that the situation does closely echo that faced by many Japanese adults in the mid-twentieth century.

I want to recommend this to anyone interested in Japanese history, a different perspective on World War II and its cultural impact, or merely an engaging story told well.
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LibraryThing member klarusu
In this book, Ishiguro brings alive post-war Japan from the Japanese perspective. It focuses on the life of Masuji Ono, an artist, father and grandfather. Set in the backdrop of a changing Japanese society, he retells his personal history in excerpts between descriptions of the marriage negotiations for his second daughter. Through these insights, we learn of his family history, his personal and professional history and Japan's own history.

This is an intimate portrayal of a relationship between a father and his daughters, highlighting the miscommunication that generational differences can cause. The unwritten suggestion is that Ono's relationship with his son would have been easier, had he survived the war and that his wife, had she too survived, would have placated his daughters. It is backed by a changing world where the alienation of the older generation is all the more acute as Japan progresses through not just modernisation but westernisation. There is an constant echo of the country's collective guilt over acts during the war years in Ono's personal guilt over his own past. It is clear that Ono's view of his own past and guilt is coloured by his present day feelings - the reader is left unsure whether Ono is giving an accurate representation of the opinions and actions of others or merely creating 'demons' from his personal view of his culpability.

This personal struggle for justification and absolution is set as a counterpoint to a sensitive portrayal of social relationships in Japan at the time. At all times, the distance between the old and the young is apparent; both socially as a result of the old social structures in Japan and in a temporal sense - the young being more forward and westward thinking, happy to devolve themselves from the Japan of the war years in the name of progress. There is also a sense of anger amongst the young about the lost generation of their peers who, like Ono's son, never survived the war.

This is a quiet work of brilliance. Ishiguro uses understated prose to convey atmosphere and skilfully draw the main characters. It has certainly moved me to read more of his work and so this is definitely to be recommended.
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LibraryThing member chrisblocker
Writing a review of a Kazuo Ishiguro book is like reading a Kazuo Ishiguro book: it's the same thing as the last time. What can I say different in this review? It's mostly the same: Ishiguro is a brilliant author with a gorgeous understanding of the language; he drops that displaced unreliable narrator right into the middle of your living room to win your affection and confuse the hell out of you; then he pulls the thread holding everything together and it all crumples. It always works, sometimes better than others. This is my fifth outing with Ishiguro and it's always similar. Each time, the primary departure from the previous story is a variation in time and place.

What makes An Artist of the Floating World different? Well, in this one the time and place is post-WWII Japan. The story centers on Ono, an imperialist who is trying to find his place in a Japan dominated by the politics and culture of its American occupiers. The story has obviously wonderful dynamics and Ishiguro's outsider status—he hadn't seen Japan since he was five years old—lends emotional strength and believability to the plight of Ono.

How does it compare to other works of Ishiguro's? This one falls right in the middle for me. It has a much more interesting and well-built story than the author's first and his most recent, A Pale View of the Hills and The Buried Giant respectively. Also, Ono's narrative is thoroughly engaging. The novel does not, however, have nearly the emotional weight that Ishiguro's two most famous novel have. The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go both carry such an unexpected punch that I found it difficult to distance myself from them afterwards. Ono's unreliability is established so early and mentioned so frequently that I think it's hard for the reader to ever fall completely under his spell. In the end, you're not quite sure what the truth is. With Remains...'s Stevens and Never Let Me Go's Kathy, the truth was painfully clear to everyone but the narrators themselves. An Artist of the Floating World lacks this subtle brutality, but it is still a wonderful story that effectively addresses the changing views of Japanese art and culture during reconstruction.
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LibraryThing member montymike
Told in the form of a memoir, we are given an insight into the life of a renowned Japanese artist just after the end of WWII. He drifts between the present (late-1940's) and the past (pre-WWII), often looking back over periods of his life in a very nostaligiac mood. It is beautifully written and takes you deep into the heart of the Japanese culture and psyche at the time. Although bitter at times (Japan have just surrendered the war), it is fundamentally a story full of optimism and warmth for the future and its generations. A very warming and positive read. I think one that probably will linger in the mind for years to come. Highly recommended, painful to put down.… (more)
LibraryThing member cestovatela
I appreciate this book in retrospect more than I did while I was reading it. It's unique because it's the only book I've ever read that considers Japan in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Masuji Ono begins the book as a rebel, first against his father when he chooses a career as a painter, then against his teacher when he insists that art must chronicle real-world suffering and be a part of the fight for a better Japan. But without even realizing it, rebellious young Ono becomes a literal poster boy for the establishment, winning fame by painting war propaganda posters. An Artist of the Floating World is Ono's attempt to make sense of his part in encouraging a war that nearly destroyed his family and his country. But, as much as I appreciate the uniqueness and complexity of the novel, I found Ishiguro's storytelling skills uncharacteristically lacking. Although the prose itself is beautiful, something's wrong with the pacing. I spent too much time wondering where this story was going, only to have a spelled out a little too clearly in the final pages. The book needs a little more dramatic tension to be truly compelling, but it's still definitely worth a read.… (more)
LibraryThing member Eoin
What a subtle and elegant book. I have, until now, thought of Ishiguro in the British tradition, what with all the scrupulous decorum and grand hopes. I suppose that is the danger of reading an author out of order. This book was very Japanese in the mono no aware way. This is not to say Ishiguro is not so very British, but rather that he is able to write more than one kind of book well, a rare and wonderful talent.… (more)
LibraryThing member sturlington
Like his later and more well known novels, Artist displays Ishiguro’s lyric command of language that just draws you in. But in this case, I wanted a little more. I wished for more context, more background, more descriptions of what people looked like and how they moved, even more descriptions of the controversial art at the center of the story, so I could better understand the two worlds Ishiguro is painting for us: the artist’s floating world and the contrite, beaten-down world of post-war Japan.… (more)
LibraryThing member Davidgnp
Nothing much happens in this slim novel but the tone, the phrasing and the subtle characterisation make the book a delight to read. It's clear that Misuji Ono, first person narrator and artist of the title, is a prototype for the butler Stevens in the more ambitious 'The Remains of the Day', and I have seen this confirmed in an interview with Kazuo Ishiguro in The Paris Review. Both men are precisely spoken, nostalgic observers of their own life, evincing a mixture of pleasure and regret, with undercurrents of self-regard and disappointed entitlement. Both are unreliable narrators, apologists to 'mistakes' in some of their life choices while drawing a veil over certain details and retouching others to better effect. Both are left-behinds in a rapidly changing environment. Despite their faults and peccadillos you can't help but ache with them as they wistfully watch their world recede down the stream of change.… (more)
LibraryThing member madhuri_agrawal
Each of Kazuo Ishiguro's book is so different and varied, that it is a delight to read. This one was about a Japanese artist who once inspired Japanese youth to rise to action through his paintings, but after the disastrous consequences of the war, felt mired under guilt and the dominant hostility of the youth for the seniors who had misled them.
The book moves back and forth amongst events - the way a mind will move from a memory to memory, and that particular effect is very interesting.
The writing is successful in transpiring the helplessness and guilt felt by a man in his sunset years and his struggle to own up and feel proud of his life's work again. The effect is both touching and striking.
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LibraryThing member dczapka
Ishiguro's second novel, his second foray into a fictional Japan and the one that would immediately precede the wonderful Booker Prize winner The Remains of the Day, is somewhat a lesser achievement than that great work but is still a subtle and intriguing look at cultural change.

Several tropes of Ishiguro's writing, including first-person point of view and an increasingly insular and unreliable narrator, take center stage here as the retired artist Masuji Ono tells the story of his somewhat stilted present while gesturing constantly towards a particular detrimental event in his past. The constant reference to "the past," without any specific point of entry, helps reinforce the metaphor of pre-World War II Japan as a different and indescribable thing, but also forces Ono, and the reader, to consider how the present reflects on what has happened, and how that story changes depending on perspective.

Ono's daily life has been drastically impacted by what has happened and there are many moments in which those he taught and worked with appear to have changed as well, but though we are allowed to see into Ono's memories, we never learn exactly what he's done that's turned out so detrimentally. The tactic is frustrating but consistent, forcing the reader to question the narrator's accuracy, particularly in scenes late in the novel in which the severity of his acts come into question.

This, coupled with the highly digressive nature of the narrative and the role of those digressions in advancing the action, make this much more interesting as a character study than as an examination of the ethics of family, marriage, occupation, and social life in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While the novel's political and social messages don't quite hit the mark because of this vagueness, the beauty of Ishiguro's writing and the consistency of Ono's voice propel a novel that is brief but powerful, a meditation on age and time that is uneven but nonetheless moving.
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LibraryThing member DRFP
I believe this book to be another wonderful character study by Ishiguro, and one that's more interesting to read than The Remains of the Day (heresy though it might be to say so).

Ishiguro's story about Japan's war guilt, among other things, is an engaging read both in an emotional and historical sense.… (more)
LibraryThing member MickyFine
In Japan after the decimation of WWII, the country is beginning to rebuild itself and Masuji Ono, a retired painter, fills his days with his house and garden, his two adult daughters, and spends his evenings in the last remaining bar in the district. But in the quietness of his retirement, he also finds himself reflecting on the past and re-evaluating his life as an artist and his role in the rise of militaristic Japan.

Ishiguro is a master of subtle prose. This novel is never a dense read and the narrative flows smoothly and yet there are deep and swift currents beneath the surface that will catch the reader and leave them asking questions about Masuji Ono if they care to dip deeper. The novel is a character study of a man who has lived his life, done his best for his country, and then found himself on the wrong side of the line. At the same time, it is also a reflection on the realities of post-war Japan and the effect of their loss (and subsequent American occupation) on the national psyche. With elegant and evocative writing, Ishiguro once again creates a beautiful novel that haunts the reader after the final page.
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LibraryThing member Milda-TX
Japan, 1948-50, and how the war affected the generations differently. Fantastic, amazing, couldn't put it down. Had to hold my breath while the background stories unfolded, wondering how badly the marriage negotiations would go.
LibraryThing member baswood
At a previous meeting of our bookclub B. had suggested we read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; one of her favourite authors. When we came to talk about the book, it soon became apparent that no-one had liked it, but B had come prepared, recognising it was a clunker she had brought with her most of Ishiguro's previous novels and I found "An Artist of the Floating World being thrust into my hands with the assurance that it would be much better..... Well it was better.

Ishiguro explores the generation gap in post second world war Japan. The older generation who supported the war effort are being vilified by a younger generation determined to put the past behind them as they build a new Japan. Ono a retired former artist lives in a large house with his remaining daughter Noriko and is involved in some delicate wedding negotiations with the Saito family.

Ishiguro tells the story through Ono in the first person and we see the world through his eyes. We first see him with his family trying to establish a relationship with his grandson; there are difficulties, but it soon becomes apparent that there are greater difficulties with his kinship with his two daughters. Ono had been an artist of some repute, when he was seduced by the Japanese war machine into producing paintings for propaganda purposes. He was proud of his achievements and proud of the esteem in which he was held by his students and supporters. Over the course of the year long wedding negotiations Ono comes to realise that the new generation are at worst hostile and at least embarrassed by the work he did during the war. He is desperate to marry off Noriko and so he must come to terms with the decisions he took during the war years.

Ishiguro creates for the Western reader an unfamiliar world where honour and family are of primary importance. He portrays a rapidly changing economy where old structures and communities are fast disappearing, but society is still based on traditional values. Ono's changing world is very well described and he takes us back to previous times when he was a student and then a teacher and established artist. We are enchanted by his love of art and his generous support to his peers, but at the same time we are discomfited by his naivety and unworldliness. Now he not only has to come to terms with his declining reputation, but must also be prepared to refute his role during the war years in order to come to some sort of terms with the younger generation. Our sympathies are with Ono who has not understood the ramifications of the actions he has taken, but now must reconcile them in order to achieve closure for past actions.

Ishiguro's spare style suits the discreet manners of the Japanese society that he portrays, where few words are needed to inflict dishonour and opprobrium, however it also holds back Ono from expressing his thoughts to us readers in a way that would be more emotionally involving. I enjoyed the book but I will need to be careful what I say to B. when I give it back. I do not want to be too fulsome in my praise or I will be given another Ishiguro novel to read and I feel there are more rewarding reads waiting for me out there
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LibraryThing member bibliobibuli
I haven't read this up for 20 years or so, but the first time round it blew me away. It's one of Ishiguro's strongest novels, second only I think to Remains of the Day.

Now I have a new copy it's high time for a reread!
LibraryThing member LynnB
This is the story of Mr. Ono, a retired artist in post- WWII Japan. As his younger daughter's wedding plans have fallen through, he is forced to look back on his political positions and actions prior to the War and how they may be haunting his family today. The book is beautifully written. Told from Ono's perspective, we are brought into his present life and, through his recollections, to his past. This is a fascinating exploration of a Japanese family trying to find its way in a society struggling to do the same in a time of powerful change.… (more)
LibraryThing member jtho
Kazuo Ishiguro is the master of the first-person narrative. He tells the story of Masuji Ono, a Japanese artist now in his retirement years looking back at the art and the mistakes he's made over his life. As with Ishiguro's other novels, the protagonist doesn't tell you much of the story. Instead, we find out the full details from what other characters say (and don't say) to him. The artist's proud voice never once falters. This isn't my favourite of Ishiguro's novels, but if you've enjoyed others, you'll appreciate this one too.… (more)
LibraryThing member Mindsetter
I have read this book four times and enjoyed it more each time. Delicate, haunting, beautifully realized. About reputation, honor and memory. The realization that one has devoted every ounce of one's talents to a cause that turns out to be wrong.
LibraryThing member mels_71
Nothing much happens here but this beautifully written story meanders along at a leisurely pace giving a snapshot of postwar Japan. A short read, the easy style leaves you with the impression of a relaxed conversation with a good friend including related tangents and asides.


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