OUSD > Urban Dreams > Language Arts > Extended Literature > Grade 12 > Ishiguro


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The memorial mindscapes of Kazuo Ishiguro's fiction find an appropriate metaphor in the tendency of Masuji Ono, the narrator of Ishiguro's second novel, An Artist of the Floating World: "It is perhaps a sign of my advancing years," admits Ono, "that I have taken to wandering into rooms for no purpose." Ishiguro's narrators do wander through the rooms of their memories, and their conscious intentions in doing so are often subverted by the profound workings of memory itself: its ellipses and elisions, its divisions and conflations, its distortions of the past and conflicts with present experience. In this intricate, ironic novel, Ishiguro explores the ways in which individual memory and national history can amount to acts of (necessary) self-deception.

Ono is an artist who had, in his youth, lived and moved in the "floating world": "the night-time world of pleasure, entertainment and drink which formed the backdrop for all our paintings," a realm of bohemian pleasure and remote purity that shaped the artistic aesthetic of pre-war Japan. But Ono's eventual rebellion against his teachers and his vision of a stronger, more vital Japan led him to turn his art into propagandistic campaigns, serving the imperialist movement that brought Japan into World War II. Now, living in an unnamed, devastated city in the post-war 1940s, surrounded by images of loss, paranoia, and recrimination, Ono finds himself reconsidering his life and work--his own part in creating a world that has come to reject him. More... (© Booker McConnell Prize Page)

Book Reviews:

Author Biography:

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain in 1960. At the time, his parents thought that they would soon return to Japan and they prepared him to resume life in his native land. They ended up staying, and Ishiguro grew up straddling two societies, the Japan of his parents and his adopted England.

Ishiguro attended the University of Kent at Canterbgury and the University of East Anglia. All three of his novels have received critical acclaim. His first novel, A Pale View of Hills, won the Winifred Holtby Prize of the Royal Society of Literature; his second, An Artist of the Floating World, won the 1986 Whitbread Book of the year Award; The Remains of the Day was awarded the 1989 Booker Prize. More... (Randall Bass, © Postcolonial Web)


Websites about Kazuo Ishiguro:

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