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Customer Review

on 26 July 2011
This is an enjoyable collection of short stories based loosely around music and night fall but primarily its about the passage of time and how people deal with that. There is a dreamlike quality to the writing in places that reminds me a little of Peter Hoeg's Tales of the Night. For me its a little let down by character. They are not always convincingly drawn and seem a little cliched - the opening story 'Crooner' about a musician meeting with an ageing formerly famous singer was my favourite; it had a eerie, melancholic feel, although I was expecting a more compelling denouement, perhaps something darker as opposed to the banal. Ishiguro has I think ensured that whilst these tales are dream like, they also embedded and tied down to the realities of life - which is after all no bad thing but may indicate he's caught between two stools a little. This is maybe demonstrated via the character of Lindy Gardner who appears in the both 'Crooner' and the later story 'Nocturne'. In Crooner she is a femme fatale, almost tragic figure but she is virtually unrecongnisable in Nocturne as a shallow whacko. The less said about the story 'Come Rain or Come Shine' the better, except to say it is the least convincing portrayal of character or storyline I've ever read by someone of Ishiguru's stature. I'm probably missing something, but if so, count me out on this one. 'Malvern Hills' is a funny tale about a marriage on the wane and the final story 'Cellists' is a little like 'Crooner' with its meditteranean musical backdrop and a similarly mystical feel that ultimately goes nowhere but is a lovely distraction.
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