I’ve thought myself out of writing on here for months. I overthink blog posts and discard the idea and I just need to write them.
Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. I was so happy for him. My undergraduate dissertation was on the use of memory in his novels and I really enjoyed writing it. Apart from The Buried Giant, I’ve read each of his books more than once so I feel like I know them inside out (I read The Buried Giant once and I didn’t include it in my dissertation because it wasn’t out then). I wrote an essay for Thresholds on his shirt story collection, Nocturnes. He’s the author I’m most familiar with. My first words to my husband when we met working in an Oxfam shop were about the Ishiguro books he was clutching in his hand, about to buy.
Ishiguro is a very respected writer, but he’s not a showy one. He’s not often in the news for writing something controversial. And some of his books have huge mass appeal. So I don’t know why I felt like liking his books was a bit of a secret. Maybe it’s because one of my favourites from him, The Unconsoled, was unpopular with critics and readers when it was released, but I agree with the critic quoted on my edition, calling it a masterpiece (even though I don’t think it’s massively useful to call a creative piece a masterpiece). Ishiguro thought that people hated that book and he rewrote it, lukewarmly, as the more palatable When We Were Orphans. Maybe his books felt a bit secretive to me because I knew more about them than a lot of people. Maybe secretive isn’t the right word. I think this relates to a Bjork quote I like: ‘there are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.’
Whatever, I’m happy he won.