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An Artist of the Floating World Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
What I really enjoyed about this book was the narrator's voice. I could almost imagine myself sitting in a secluded bar with Ono telling me his life story, it is such a personal tone that Ishiguro employs. The story unfolds slowly and the realisation that Ono is in some ways considered a traitor to the state is revealed through subtle prose.
There are several moments in the story where you realise that history is repeating itself, as Ono reflects on his actions as a youth the reader will notice a similarity in those of youths that Ono encouters during his retirement.
Overall I enjoyed the book but gave it four out of five because I found Ono's self-effacing tone a little tiresome towards the end. His humility was a little difficult to believe (and this was probably Ishiguro's intention, who's to say?) and I wasn't sure if I was reading an unreliable narrator or not.
It is a quietly beautiful meditation on the effects of Japan after the war and I highly recommend it.
Ishiguro captures the essence of Japan well, and does a good job of conveying the underlying values and social niceties of a society very different from the modern western one. The narrator is a well constructed character - realistic and far from perfect, and throughout the book the reader comes to sympathise with him to some degree. The other characters, particularly his disapproving daughters and lively grandson, are very believable and I enjoyed reading their interaction.
At times the meandering, rambling nature of the narration can get irritating, but apart from that this is a well constructed, fascinating novel.
In "An Artist Of The Floating World" (only when you read the book will you know the proper way to place emphasis on the title) Ishiguro tells the story of a Japanese man, Ono, who has something to hide, something to do with the war... To say more would be to give away the plot, and part of the pleasure of the book - as fans of "Remains" or "The Unconsoled" will know - is in seeing how much you can work out for yourself from how little Ishiguro tells you.
Incidentally, the book introduces Ishiguro's brilliant facility for children's speech, with Ono's grandson (going on to perfect this technique with Boris in "The Unconsoled") - quite the best representation I have read of the illogicality, intemperance and, well, childishness of the way children speak.
A flawless gem, a buoyant confection, and a seemingly effortless work of art.
But as Ono works to finalise the marriage of his youngest daughter the issue of his pre-war allegiances arise and he is forced to come to terms with his responsibility for the militarist direction the 1930's took.
The question arises: what is the role of an artist in the wider political arena? Should the artist live solely for the reproduction of beauty, existing solely in a floating world divorced from society at large? Or should he become a conduit for change, a leader of public opinion? In the modern world where every rock star/artist/writer is expected to produce politically conscious work this is a valid and fascinating question.
An Artist of the Floating World produces a beautiful mirage, something like a Monet painting, with ideas and flawed characters flowing together in a silent, uneventful and almost heartbreaking novel. If you liked Remains of the Day then you will love this. It is absolutely fascinating to see the cultural comparisons between two such reserved societies on the verge of change.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ishiguro is a master of his craft. A stimulating and subtle novelPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
My wife has become a real fan of Kazuo Ishiguro. The story line flows in and out of disruptive world, a European world with a Japanese twist. Not sure? Give it a try.Published 5 months ago by Mark Le Sueur
Like all Kuzuo Ishiguro's work the novel is superficially of a simple story - of family life, in this case, behind which a deeper subject lurks, Japanese contribution to the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Elizabeth's honour
intersting book. We ahve also ead books about post war guilt in Europr in the book club,and this view was fascintaing.Published 5 months ago by Arbori
What an amazing book! Even better than The Remains of the Day, and that is fabulous.Published 8 months ago by mrs T
I have read this novel twice now and love the subtle creation of characters and of time and place, as well as the story which Ishiguro unfolds carefully. Read morePublished 8 months ago by johnstevensjs
Having watched, and being highly impressed by, Kazuo Ishiguro during an excellent one-hour TV programme I bought all six of his novels. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr. John Shaw