Friday, November 9, 2007


A renowned and retired Japanese painter struggles with the aftermath of the war, his relationships with his daughters and grandson, and the legacy of his career.

I've come to realize with this, my third Ishiguro book, that he has a very distinct technique (quiet plot, slightly self-righteous but eventually sympathetic first person male narrator, dishonest manliness to disguise weakness and tragedy). I liked this one because it's a tiny and barely delineated sphere of Occupation-era Japan. By "barely delineated" I mean that he manages to only convey certain details and never gives the impression of world-building or expository description--his world-building just happens. He also is so deliberate with his dialog that it not only sounds real, it sounds like Japanese.

I liked this. It's an interesting reminder of cultural guilt and the smaller, immortal ramifications of war.

1 comment:

Leigh Russell said...

I love Ishiguro's delicate understated style and he is brilliant at creating narrators who suit his style. The parallels between the English society of Remains of the Day with the hierarchical Japanese society is interesting. I found An Artist of the Floating World a haunting narrative, as I do all his books. I struggled slightly with the background - entirely due to my own ignorance - and had to work harder than perhaps was intended to keep up with the political backdrop, but that added another dimension to the book.