Review: Kazuo Ishiguro’s “An Artist of the Floating World”

by writereaderly

kazuo ishiguro artist of the floating world

WARNING: Cover dysphoria.

Long a lurker on the TBR shelf, I was pleased to find – again – that I can’t go wrong with an Ishiguro. His writing is so assured, so refined; no word is mistaken, no sentence in error. An excellent writer. In this novel set in 1948-59 Japan, celebrated and controversial painter Masuji Ono comes to contemplate his role in the militarism of the 30s and 40s. Ishiguro is a master of subtext, so everything you learn about Ono’s past, his relationships with his teachers, students and family, his participation or not in now-dubious wartime enterprises, all comes from him *not* knowing it. And in the end, I was left not knowing what I knew, and whether it was me or Ono who had not understood – which was a good place to be. A fine novel, highly recommended.

Where it came from: A bookstall somewhere
Time and manner of reading:
A couple of days of bed, armchair, company reads
Where it went: SW
Reminds me of/that: KI’s own The Remains of the Day
Who I’d recommend it to: Readers after a well-weighted, contemplative read
Also reading: Rabbit #4; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades by Munya Andrews