Review: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Art & Lit Literature

Nocturnes is comprised of five short stories all focusing on a scene set at the close of the day, are linked by the haunting presence of either music or musicians as sound plays an integral role in each of the character’s lives.

The landscape moves from a café muscian amidst the gondolas and piazzas of Venice, to the streets of London, then to the hills of the British countryside where unsuccessful rock musician is despondantly decamping, to a saxophonist recovering from plastic surgery in the elite and polished scenes of an upmarket Hollywood hotel and finally to a Hungarian cellist. The portraits are all very different but also very similar in as each male narrator although separated by time and space conveys the same understanding about the eventual passage of time and their small place within the world.

These five stories ‘Crooner’, ‘Come Rain or Shine’, ‘Malvern Hills’, ‘Nocturne’ and ‘Cellist’ are all quite different to Ishiguro’s previous novels leaving you on a somewhat quiet but haunting musical note. He manages to capture these small snapshots in time and the picturesque waters of Venice seem equally as tangible as the air-conditioned and expensive surfaces of a Beverly Hills hotel suite. This is the kind of book that makes easy reading around tutorial essays as you can simply dip in an out of all the short stories which are each no longer than sixty pages each, they are also, whilst quite different to Ishiguro’s other writings, extremely enjoyable and entertaining.

[Photo: dalcrose]