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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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1,201656,673 (3.55)135
Member:lrosenof
Title:Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Knopf (2009), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro (2009)

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English (58)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
When I Google the definition of Nocturne, I find it is “a short composition of a romantic or dreamy character suggestive of night”. This collection of short stories is aptly titled. The stories have a “romantic or dreamy character”, and they capture their subjects at midlife making perhaps their final attempt at realizing the dreams and ambitions of their youth.

Some of the stories are melancholy, while a couple lean more toward farce. Simon Vance seems to channel Basil Fawlty in his reading of “Come Rain or Come Shine”, and that's probably why it ended up being my favorite story in the collection. Kirby Heyborne's reading of “Malvern Hills” brought former teen idol Davy Jones to mind. I think the audio version enhanced my experience with the collection and I would recommend this format to others considering this book. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jan 22, 2015 |
I liked the listening very much, because before each of the five stories started there was music suitable for the story itself and the stories were very interesting. They are all related to each other because the relationship between the protagonists has to do something with music or were unfulfilled. Sometimes they were sad but also full of love for each character. There were also funny moments and situations where I could snort with laughter. ( )
  Ameise1 | Jan 17, 2015 |
This collection of short stories by Ishiguro is united by the theme of music. Two of the stories share characters; the others are stand-alones. As in most collections of this nature, some stories are more enjoyable than others. "Crooner" was probably the most enjoyable. "Nocturne" was the story with the same characters as "Crooner", but it was less enjoyable than the first. I also enjoyed "Malvern Hills" The stories read quickly and were overall a pleasant way to pass time. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 13, 2015 |
This was 5 separate short stories, two of which have a common character. They were each narrated by a different person and involve music and some form of shift or change in someone's life. Not necessarily the narrator's life, it could be that they were involved in a point of change in someone else's life. The first was quite sad, about an aging crooner and his wife who had decided to split (we'll he'd decided they;d split) for the sake of his career, this was narrated by a young musician who's mother had listened to the crooner's records in his younger days.
The second was a trifle silly, with a pair of university friends who had married and were now having trouble in their relationship inviting a third (the narrator) to stay. involving a diary and a recipe for wet dog, this was not terribly convincing.
The third involves a young man trying to make his way as a songwriter and guitarist. He's staying (rent free) with his sister and not pulling his weight, when he meets a Swiss couple. The initial meeting doesn't go well and he ends up recommending a really awful hotel to them. They meet again later and discover a shared interest in music. The couple have quite different outlooks on life and are clearly having some difficulties in their relationship and that with their son. Lots to reflect on in this one.
The forth was a bit on the odd side again. A jazz saxophinist has plastic surgery at the expense of his wife's new bloke, and finds himself in an hotel room next to Lindy Gardner, who's on her third face operation. There's little to do when you're swathed in bandages like a mummy (does that really happen?) and Lindy has taken to wondering the halls of the hotel at night. It gets a little more bizarre when the awards for Jazz musician of the year are due to be held in the hotel and the trophy goes missing... Almost farcical at times, I remain unsure what to make of this one.
The last one involves a cellist who meets a woman who professes to know what he needs to make him really great and so she tutors him - but ithout once playing the cello herself. turns out she's convinced she's a virtuoso cellist, but hasn't played since she was 11 - determined not to harm the gift she was born with. I was left with a sense of the fraudulent and the hope that she hadn't ruined the young man - but the chatter of the other musicians didn't bode well on that score.
I think the best I can do on this selection is that it was OK. None of them were standout good, all of them had some unrealistic elements, some were entirely unrealistic. Not sure the short story format suits him, the other novels of his I've read were far more finely crafted. ( )
1 vote Helenliz | Jan 7, 2015 |
this will take you like 2 hours to read. it's a slim short story collection (more like a song cycle than anything else). the three middle stories are excellent: "come rain or come shine" is hilarious, almost farcical, but also a little melancholy. What I like most is that Ishiguro doesn't really seem to have contempt for his characters the way that some other authors do. The characters are self-absorbed, ignorant, and careless, but they don't deserve our hatred. The bookjacket actually describe it best: we root for the characters because even as their "youthful hopes recede", they still struggle to "keep alive a sense of life's romance."

the weakest story in the collection is the last one ("cellists)-- it's a pity that the book has to end on such a --I apologize in advance-- sour note.

this isn't an ambitious book; you're not going to see anything new here. nonetheless, it's a lovely, gentle little collection. BASICALLY, IT IS A PERFECT SUMMER READ.

( )
  megantron | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Novellen ”Schlagersångaren” är suverän, men även de andra är speciella och mycket läsvärda. Samtliga har temat musik och uppbrott eller slut. En sorgesång över något som människan fabricerat åt helsicke. Musik ur ”Gudfadern” är kongenialt ledmotiv i boken.
 
Unfortunately for the reader, these stories do not share the exquisite narrative command, the carefully modulated irony or the elliptical subtlety of Mr. Ishiguro’s strongest works like “Remains of the Day” and “Never Let Me Go.” Instead they read like heavy-handed O. Henry-esque exercises; they are psychologically obtuse, clumsily plotted and implausibly contrived.
 
Ishiguro's battery of talents are applied in Nocturnes to one goal—the scrubbing away of false romance, of clichéd resolutions, in life and in his writing. The result is a pitch-perfect riff on the sheer quirkiness of reality.
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoppe, LincolnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabinovitch, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
In Nocturnes, 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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307455785, Paperback)

From the award-winning author of Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories, which is as affecting as it is beautiful.
 
With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo Ishiguro interlocks five short pieces of fiction to create a world that resonates with emotion, heartbreak, and humor. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junky with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent. For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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