/ Kazuo Ishiguro and the Nobel prize

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Hooo - on 09 Oct 2017
I don't know what's going on with Bob Dylan and now Kazuo Ishiguro getting Nobel prizes. That's two of my favourite writers winning, maybe it's a sign I'm finally acquiring some taste in my old age

Never let me go is one of my favourite books of all time, and one I've persuaded many people to read. I thought The Buried Giant was even better, an absolute masterpiece, but this seems to be less ... how do i put it... accessible. I recommended it for my wife's book club and it didn't go down well at all. Is that what it takes to win the Nobel prize then? Write stuff that a lot of people don't "get", so that those that do can feel superior? I don't think that's what Ishiguro intented, BTW, and it's not what I felt when reading it, but I couldn't see him getting the prize for The remains of the day.
Chris the Tall - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:


> Never let me go is one of my favourite books of all time, and one I've persuaded many people to read.

Likewise. Whenever I see a plastic bag caught on a barbed wire fence it sends a shiver down my spine

As to Bob Dylan - Leonard Cohen, Billy Bragg and Nigel Blackwell have all written much better lyrics
Jon Stewart - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

The Unconsoled is an all time favourite of mine. Most people think it's a load of nonsensical babble, but I loved it. Bizarre, poignant and hilarious. No idea whether it's worth a Nobel prize though!
alexm198 - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

Have you read An Artist of the Floating World? I thought that was an absolute gem. The Buried Giant has been on my list for a long time now - I really should get around to it!
Andy Clarke - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

> Is that what it takes to win the Nobel prize then? Write stuff that a lot of people don't "get", so that those that do can feel superior?

I think the only way that some truly great novelists can do justice to the complexity of the world is to produce difficult masterpieces eg Joyce with Ulysses and the Wake, Pynchon with Gravity's Rainbow et al, Will Self's just completed trilogy. It's up to readers to put in the work necessary to "get" them. But I'm delighted to see Ishiguro get the Nobel Prize - as I was when Dylan won it last year.

BnB - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to alexm198:

> Have you read An Artist of the Floating World? I thought that was an absolute gem. The Buried Giant has been on my list for a long time now - I really should get around to it!

Spare yourself the tedium. KI is a terrific writer but The BG is by some way his weakest novel. As if it weren't awful enough for the author to probe a Tolkeinian middle earth, complete with dragons, in the shape of post-Arthurian England, his efforts to evoke a mysterious stupor that holds the warring tribes and religions from descending into violence only sends the reader into a deep torpor. Avoid.

Remains of the Day is magnificent however.
Greasy Prusiks on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to BnB:

Have to say I disagree with you on that. Fantasy gets looked down on quite a lot but BG is no more a fantasy book in that sense than NLMG is Sci Fi.

Personally it's my favourite, I thought it's messages about forgiveness, guilt and a nations memory were really relevant and still give me things to think about. It genuinely shifted my world view. Beautifully bitter sweet story as well.

Anyway definitely agree that KI is a brilliant author.
Hooo - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'd never heard of Ishiguro when I picked The Unconsoled at random from a friend's bookcase. A bizarre experience, and when I finished it i decided I should read everything he'd written.
Flinticus - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

Two of my favourite books. Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. Enough by themslves to deserve the Noble.

The Buried Giant I could not finish.
sg - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yes, Unconsoled brilliant - hard work but once you can get immersed in it, it's amazing. Part Kafka, part Joycean stream of consciousness, but mostly your most baffling anxiety dream / nightmare. Very cleverly worked, like any dream you continually feel as though you're not quite able to fully grasp reality and it's very disorientating.

Pale view of hills I liked as well and also enjoyed When we were orphans but that may have been because it took me back to when we travelled through Shanghai years before.

Hooo - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to BnB:

Have to disagree there. I think the problem is that you've seen the dragons and put it on the Tolkein box. I can't be doing with fantasy, especially not Tolkien, but the BG is most definitely not fantasy. It's a deep and magnificent novel. With dragons in it.
Hooo - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

The thing Ishiguro is so great at, and he surpasses himself in The Buried Giant, is in letting the characters stories fill in bit by bit without it ever feeling contrived. By the time you reach the end, there's no surprise - you feel that you really knew all along. The story has been told so beautifully that you didn't see any of the workings.
I don't want to spoil the ending of The Buried Giant, but it is his greatest feat as far as I'm concerned, incredibly moving.
john arran - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

His greatest feat for me is in the Remains of the Day, where he focuses on a story in which absolutely nothing happens, but he describes the suspense so beautifully and compellingly that, when it finally dawns on you that there's no Hollywood Ending, you're neither surprised nor disappointed.
Never Let Me Go is equally brilliant, but that has such a great underlying storyline it surely must have been easier to craft into a compelling tale.
And the most amazing part of all is that English is his second language!
Genius.
BnB - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:

> Have to disagree there. I think the problem is that you've seen the dragons and put it on the Tolkein box. I can't be doing with fantasy, especially not Tolkien, but the BG is most definitely not fantasy. It's a deep and magnificent novel. With dragons in it.

Read my comment again and ask yourself if I really did categorise it as fantasy, rather than placing it in an Arthurian realm. It's more in the mode of Gawain and the Green Knight if we're going to get literary.

But it's still yawningly dull owing to the radio play-like simplicity of the dialogue allied to KI's efforts to evoke his amnesiac mist. The problem is, he's too successful in this latter objective and, even as the plot finally thickens, mere pages from the end, I threw the book away out of boredom. The critics haven't been kind overall.

Believe me, I'm a fan. I loved When We Were Orphans and NLMG. But not this last one. It just isn't very good.
planetmarshall on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Hooo:
> Is that what it takes to win the Nobel prize then? Write stuff that a lot of people don't "get", so that those that do can feel superior?

At least it means Dan Brown will never win one.
Post edited at 12:36

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