Information about the author.
As a child, Kathy–now thirty-one years old–lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.
And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled…[more]
In the face of the misery he saw in his homeland, the bohemian artist Masuji Ono envisioned a strong and powerful Japan of the future and put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II. Now, as the mature Ono struggles through the devastation of that war, memories of his youth and of the “floating world”—the nocturnal realm of leisure, entertainment, and drink—offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise as an artist. Drifting in disgrace in postwar Japan, indicted by society for its defeat and reviled for his past aesthetics, he relives the personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward.
The maze of human memory—the ways in which we accommodate and alter it, deceive and deliver ourselves with it—is territory that Kazuo Ishiguro has made his own. In his previous novels, he has explored this inner world and its manifestations in the lives of his characters with rare inventiveness and subtlety, shrewd humor and insight. In When We Were Orphans, his first novel in five years, he returns to this terrain in a brilliantly realized story that illuminates the power of one’s past to determine the present.
Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when his mother and father both vanish under suspicious circumstances. Sent to live in England, he grows up to become a renowned detective and, more than twenty years later, returns to Shanghai, where the Sino-Japanese War is raging, to solve the mystery of the disappearances. …[more]
The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving “a great gentleman.” But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness” and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.
In a sublime story cycle, Kazuo Ishiguro explores ideas of love, music and the passing of time. From the piazzas of Italy to the Malvern Hills, a London flat to the ‘hush-hush floor’ of an exclusive Hollywood hotel, the characters we encounter range from young dreamers to cafe musicians to faded stars, all of them at some moment of reckoning. Gentle, intimate and witty, this quintet is marked by a haunting theme: the struggle to keep alive a sense of life’s romance, even as one gets older, relationships flounder and youthful hopes recede.
The Unconsoled is the story of a man named Ryder. He is a pianist of international renown who, as the novel opens, has arrived in a European city he cannot identify to give a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give. In the days before the concert, he is led in and out of the lives of seeming strangers, but his fleeting recollections of them and of his purpose among them are invariably overwhelmed by their inexplicable knowledge and expectations of him. What they want of him (what they may already have) may be revealed somewhere amid the physical and emotional landscapes he finds himself traversing: by turns eerie and comical and, always, strangely malleable—as a dream might be, or a nightmare, or the day-to-day reality of a man whose public self has taken on a life of its own.