I have just finished reading my third book (fourth if you count my having seen the movies The Remains of the Day) by Kazuo Ishiguro, and emerge from the experience bewildered, and yet bedazzled and unable to put the whole experience out of my mind. It also got me remembering my past experiences and got me thinking and needing to write.

I have often told my students that the death knell for a writer is indifference and being ignored. It’s far worse than the ability to inflame, incense, infuriate and other in-terms of the negative nature. (This brings up a troubling moment of self-reflection and criticism about my previous post but having written it I’ll stand by it). Anyway, it’s true of my reaction to Ishiguro – I have come out of his books feeling like I’ve run an unsatisfying race or trekked up a particularly arduous trail and not entirely certain of what I’ve gotten from the experience. Certainly not simple enjoyment…nothing about his books are simple. Nor have they been uplifting (with the exception of some of the stories in Nocturnes, the one book I have unequivocally loved).  But there is something about every one of them that is compelling and in case of the book I read today, Never Let Me Go, haunting and troubling. And I cannot let it go …

Not emotionally in any event. I remember feeling the same way about When We Were Orphans – which I heard as an audio-book – even if I found so many elements puzzling, even downright bizarre. But that is the peculiar power of Ishiguro’s writing I think. Even when it’s hard work, he draws you completely into the half-formed worlds of his narrators (virtually everything I’ve read by him has been in first person). His prose is spare and beautiful, like a particularly raw work of ikebana, I think, stark and knobby but demanding attention all the same.

I think I’m making a hash of this, so I’ll leave off now, I do invite comments from others if you’ve read these or his other books. One of these days, though not too soon, I’m bound to return to one of his other novels, though I’m not sure which one. I any of you have thoughts or suggestions, do bring them on…

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