This is yesterday’s news, but I just wanted to say I’m very happy about it. Japanese-born British author is not really a genre writer, but his latest novel, The Buried Giant, gave me the pretext to devote one review to him. Book Ola liked even more than I did, a rare occurrence 😉
It is a very literary fantasy novel, and he also published dystopian kind-of s/f Never Let Me Go. In the genre world he is, nevertheless, an outsider, possibly a newcomer, albeit a very friendly one. I heartily recommend an excellent interview conducted by David Barr Kirtley on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, after a very interesting talk Ishiguro asks Kirtley for genre recommendations. So, you know, if the Swedish Academy is too dumb to give the prize to Le Guin, Ishiguro is also a very good choice 🙂 A writer, who
in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world
That’s what we read in official communique, and Sara Danius from the academy added:
If you mix Jane Austen and Kafka, you have Ishiguro — but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir, but not too much, and then you have his writings. He’s developed an aesthetic universe all his own. He is exploring what you have to forget in order to survive in the first place as an individual or as a society.
A lot of mixing, more than necessary, but I fully agree with the final part, and The Buried Giant is the best example of this, and in addition to being an excellent fantasy novel, it can be easily understood by thinking people from every country with skeletons hidden in its collective memory – so probably any country ever.
The easiest way to quickly familiarize oneself with a bit of Ishiguro is to see the movie The Remains of the Day, adaptation of his novel of the same title, with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The book is, of course, even better. Not a genre piece at all, it’s about aristocracy and servants, memory and blind devotion, and Nazism.
Not everybody is as happy as I, the snobs grumble. The funniest complaint, titled A shot missed [Nobel prize for Kazuo Ishiguro], is, regrettably, in Polish, but the gist of it is – Ishiguro carefully constructs his novels and does not shy away from alternative realities (both are bad things), but at least his better than Robert Ludlum. Buried Giants are a variation on the Arthurian legends, and if the prize had to go to some pleb author from UK, it could have at least been Rushdie. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Satanic Verses, but my reaction is – any novel can be brushed off with some snide remarks, but nothing goes as well with a good fantasy book as a drink distilled from the tears of literary snobs.
So – congratulations, Mr Ishiguro, and thank you for your books!
For dessert – a song with lyrics written by Kazuo Ishiguro: