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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Kazuo Ishiguro
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 5 2009 0307397874 978-0307397874
In this sublime story cycle, Kazuo Ishiguro explores love, music and the passage of time. This quintet ranges from Italian piazzas to the Malvern Hills, a London flat to the “hush-hush floor” of an exclusive Hollywood hotel. Along the way we meet young dreamers, café musicians and faded stars, all at some moment of reckoning.

Gentle, intimate and witty, Nocturnes is underscored by a haunting theme: the struggle to restoke life’s romance, even as relationships flounder and youthful hopes recede.

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A New York Times Notable Book

"A fine and moving collection of stories, displaying [Ishiguro's] unique combination of the sad, the stoic and the consoling. It's about failure, but it dignifies failure, and with it, the human condition. There is nobody like him."
— Margaret Drabble, The Guardian Books of the Year
"Each of these stories is heartbreaking in its own way, but some have moments of great comedy, and they all require a level of attention that, typically, Ishiguro's writing rewards."
— The Observer

"An amusing read, at times very funny.... There are a number of scenes in Nocturnes that are almost worth the price of admission on their own."
— The Globe and Mail

About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of six novels, including the international bestsellers The Remains of the Day (winner of the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go. He received an OBE for service to literature and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars; interesting concept Aug. 25 2009
By Andrea
[also posted on LibraryThing and LivingSocial]

This is Ishiguro's latest, a collection of five short stories all built around the theme of music. According to [...], a nocturne can be a "painting of a night scene" or an "instrumental composition of a pensive, dreamy mood." Despite the book's subtitle being Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, only two of the five stories have their main events occurring at night. It is the second definition which better suits this collection. Each story is well written, as you'd expect from Ishiguro, and each one forces you to think about it afterwards; they are deceptively simple. Ishiguro's writing is very subtle and understated, there is a lot more between the lines.

My favourite story was the third one, "Malvern Hills", in which a young, struggling musician has an interesting encounter with a couple of Swedish folk singers in England's Malvern Hills. That one was quite moving. Two of the stories, "Crooner" and "Nocturne" are loosely connected through one of the characters, which was a pleasant surprise. "Nocturne" was the most entertaining of the collection, for me, and left me wanting more because it ended without revealing the narrator's fate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars These stories live up to the book's title Jan. 2 2011
By Sears Braithwaite (of Bullard) TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read The Remains of the Day many years ago and loved his style. I was curious what his short stories would be like, after reading an interview where Ishiguro said these were basically his first ever stories--he has only written novels.

The surprise in the interview was that he originally wanted to be a musician, in fact, a rock star, rather than a writer. He worked at this for a time but gave it up.*

That background seems to inform these stories. All are about musicians and their struggles. Frustration and failure pervade their atmosphere.

Lovely stories. Worth reading and re-reading. But somehow they fall a little flat. They left me feeling that something was missing.

*So that's him and Dan Brown both. Wow. Some academic should write a thesis.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nocturnes. Sept. 3 2010
It arrived promptly. I haven't read it as yet. It's a selection for our book club and isn't due to be presented until later
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