The second novel by Kazuo Ishiguro won the Whitbread Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. As usual with his books, I was frustrated by the meandering style and vague plot. However, I found the content to be thought-provoking.
Narrated by Masuji Ono, a retired painter, the story examines Japanese attitudes to the past, the differences between generations, social etiquette and dealing with guilt. Ono goes back and forth between memories, which is sometimes a little confusing. He particularly dwells upon the fate of acquaintances he feels responsible for, although the explanations are very slowly revealed. The style is quite formal and conveys the suggestion that it was translated from Japanese.
I don’t know what else I can say about this book. It’s difficult to process because I find Ishiguro’s work so obscure, as if I’m trying to see it through fog. The book is masterful in its sensitivity and evocation of postwar Japan. The writing style is what I have trouble with.
First published in 1986. The 30th anniversary edition has an introduction by the author and has some odd typos.