Only two more to go--both of which I already own, happily, as ex-library copies. ^_^Ishiguro, Kazuo. An Artist of the Floating World. 1986. New York: Vintage International, 1989.Summary
: Aging artist Masuji Ono recalls his art-turned-propaganda with shame and worries that people are remembering him badly. Moreover, he is concerned that his past is interfering with his daughter's marriage prospects. But, in the end, he doesn't know if his own guilty conscience is coloring his memories, or if what he is remembering is literally true.Comments
: Now I'm wondering exactly why Ishiguro's family left Japan for England--because it's become abundantly clear after reading his first three novels that he is fascinated by shame and the reliability of memory. Ono is like the later Stevens and Lord Darlington of The Remains of the Day
combined, and his status as an unreliable narrator hits you in the gut when, at the end, he reports that his daughter doesn't understand why he's been behaving so strangely. In fact, his friend from the old days theorizes that the only people who remember or care are the ones who feel ashamed themselves, and the ultimate message that you take away is the same: That there's really no point in obsessing over the past if at least you believed you were doing the right thing at the time. There's more than a hint of the "Don't Look Back," go-go optimism of 80's Japan here; I can't help wondering that if Ishiguro had written this novel some ten years later whether or not the message would've been somewhat more nuanced.Notes
: trade paperback Rating
- An impressive work that displays the writer's firm control over his craft.