Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Never Let Me Go is a contemporary realist novel about a friendship and eventual love triangle among three former students of an exclusive boarding school; the novel traces the effects of their childhood and adolescence on their adult experiences as they re-enter… Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

A Note on Blade Runner 2049

A good, thought-provoking short essay by Christian Lorentzen. I disagree with his interpretation of Blade Runner 2049, though, which he sees as schmaltzy and simplistic. I certainly had problems with it—too slow; too lugubrious; too much spectacle and not enough story; at times while watching it I worried that "2049" might designate not the year… Continue reading A Note on Blade Runner 2049

Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Laureate: Notes Toward an Introduction

Last night I dreamed I woke up this morning to find that the Nobel Prize in Literature had been awarded to a little-known English poet named Thomas Plum. I'd never heard of Plum, neither had most of the world, and the general consensus was that he'd been garlanded for his anti-nuclear activism as much as… Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Laureate: Notes Toward an Introduction

In Defense of Pevear and Volokhonsky

Janet Malcolm contributes the latest polemic against Richard Pevear and Linda Volokhonsky (hereafter P&V), the famed husband-and-wife translators of the Russian classics, whose preeminence in their field is now being challenged by a number of critics. I have read the previous arguments with interest (for instance, by Gary Saul Morson and Helen Andrews), but they… Continue reading In Defense of Pevear and Volokhonsky

Poetry, Product, and the Novel: A Few Notes on Mark de Silva’s “Distant Visions”

Mark de Silva has written a superb polemic essay against the state of the literary novel in our time: “Distant Visions: Putdownable Prose and the State of the Art-Novel.” In it, he issues a challenge to the three-way convergence of memoir, journalism, and fiction today, which he sees as privileging easy-to-read prose and easy-to-identify-with situations, a… Continue reading Poetry, Product, and the Novel: A Few Notes on Mark de Silva’s “Distant Visions”

Kazuo Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 5 of 5 stars It's been a while since I read The Remains of the Day, but now that I've finally read it I think A Pale View of Hills may be my favorite of Ishiguro's early (pre-Unconsoled) novels. Having browsed some Ishiguro criticism over… Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the few living Anglophone writers I'd bet the proverbial farm on. If literature in this language is still being read in 200 years, they'll be reading him. His fiction has that quality that I've never been able to… Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

An Artist of the Floating World: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Aestheticism

Kazuo Ishiguro's second novel, An Artist of the Floating World (1986), is narrated retrospectively, from the post-war vantage of 1948-50, by the painter, Masuji Ono. Ono’s ambition caused him first to leave the commercial and auto-exoticizing “art for export” firm of Takeda for the art-for-art’s-sake milieu of Moriyama, which focuses on the ephemerally sensual “floating… Continue reading An Artist of the Floating World: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Aestheticism

Penitential Realism?

It's been almost fourteen years since James Wood warned us about "hysterical realism," presumably the major novelistic mode of the late twentieth century.  According to Wood, it is a mode devoted to information, coincidence, captial-P Politics, various forms of irrealism (caricature, fantasy, metafiction), and a breathlessness of tone: Rushdie, DeLillo, Pynchon, Wallace, etc. We're well… Continue reading Penitential Realism?