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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (2009)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,2281046,962 (3.57)201
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.

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English (92)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Japanese (1)  German (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
I think I know Ishiguro's short stories now, and I enjoy their uniqueness tremendously. They start building up something, then suddenly take you on a completely different path and give you no closure whatsoever. It was baffling at first, and I still fail to expect this kind of not getting answers. I still care about the characters, because he brilliantly makes me to, and then just have to let them go on with their lives, as this is how it works in reality. I have never seen anyone else do a similar thing. Of course, one has to build up the setting, the characters, the story in a masterful way, and that is exactly what Ishiguro does. I'm in, bring me all the other writings. ( )
  blueisthenewpink | Jan 3, 2024 |
It's January 1st and I've already read my first book of the year. Nocturnes was a lovely book. It made me feel peaceful and somewhat sleepy, although this sleepiness was not induced by boredom, but from a feeling of relaxing, as if the book were helping me sink into a deep, soft mattress, surrounded by pillows and the right sort of blankets. I do realize that this is an odd way for a book to affect a person, but for me it was terrific. I'm anxiety-prone and never feel relaxed. I'm in the depths of nervousness almost every minute of every day, so for a book to bring that quietness to my soul is quite a feat.

Nocturnes is five connected short stories about nighttime and music. I don't generally go for short stories, certainly not in the same way when I discovered Thomas Hardy's and O. Henry's short stories when I was a young women, impassioned by the scope of the difficulty of writing a good short story, and overcome by the brilliance of Hardy and O. Henry. As I've aged, I've read longer and longer novels, and swayed somewhat into non-fiction. Ishiguro's short stories, these five, were almost perfect pieces.

As I'm going on about the perfections of Ishiguro, who is, after all, my favourite living writer, a person might wonder why I've only given this slender volume four out of five stars. It's because I'm not sure I understood the point of the stories, and in one case, didn't like the ending of a story. I'm one of those people who doesn't like endings of movies or books to be anything but comprehensible and final. It's the reason I like detective stories so much, because they wind up with an answer. Ishiguro's Nocturne's did not. I don't know what happened to any of the characters. I dislike that. I resent it. If you're going to tell me a good story, for goodness' sake put a proper, closed ending on it. Ishiguro did not.

I truly did enjoy the book. I liked the odd characters, most of whom were quite entitled people, believing that they, as musicians, were cut above the common person. There was an inherent snobbiness in the characters, and I disliked them, but thought that Ishiguro had drawn them beautifully. And now, in the quiet peacefulness induced by this book, I'm going to eat dinner and go to bed, dreaming of the sound of cellos. ( )
  ahef1963 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Well Observed, If Not Ishiguro's Best

After reading Never Let Me Go I wanted to get my hands on as much of Ishiguro's work as I could and this happened to be the second thing I picked up. Like most with most books, I jumped in knowing nothing and so was surprised that it was a short story collection, but not displeased. These se five well written, observed, and wonderfully performed stories about music and difficult emotions and characters of varying quality, each with its own fantastic narrator.

Star ratings are such a ridiculous thing to apply to art and I am conflicted about what to give this. It's not their best and, while I thoroughly enjoyed them, I would be lying if they weren't a little disappointing after Never Let Me Go and I wouldn't say that anyone absolutely needs to read this, unless they feel the need to devour everything Ishiguro has to offer, but these are nevertheless five wonderful stories. So 4
( )
  RatGrrrl | Dec 20, 2023 |
One of my favorite short story collections for sure. I love his writing. ( )
  Andy5185 | Jul 9, 2023 |
Ishiguro's stories lack significance and resolution, and his descriptions and characterizations are straightforward and artless. Not bad compared to most of what passes for fiction these days, but I expected more based on my reading of _A Pale View of Hills_. I'm holding out hope for _The Remains of the Day_. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (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 (6 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
Nielsen, Rose-MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabinovitch, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The morning I spotted Tony Gardner sitting among the tourists, spring was just arriving here in Venice.
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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.

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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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Average: (3.57)
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2 36
2.5 10
3 162
3.5 56
4 182
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