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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. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in h 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. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him . . . A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he’s only just met . . . A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career . . . A young cellist whose tutor promises to “unwrap” his talent . . . Passion or necessity—or the often uneasy combination of the two—determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp. An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed works of fiction.


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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. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in h 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. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him . . . A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he’s only just met . . . A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career . . . A young cellist whose tutor promises to “unwrap” his talent . . . Passion or necessity—or the often uneasy combination of the two—determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp. An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed works of fiction.

59 review for Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ‘’So a moment like that comes as an unwelcome reminder of how quickly things change. How the bosom pals of today become lost strangers tomorrow, scattered across Europe, playing the Godfather theme or ‘Autumn Leaves’ in squares and cafes you’ll never visit.’’ I believe that most of us have a writer that acts as a comfort. A writer whose work we choose to revisit once we feel that nothing is as it should be. This is a period which has taken a significant toll on me on a number of levels. Kazuo Is ‘’So a moment like that comes as an unwelcome reminder of how quickly things change. How the bosom pals of today become lost strangers tomorrow, scattered across Europe, playing the Godfather theme or ‘Autumn Leaves’ in squares and cafes you’ll never visit.’’ I believe that most of us have a writer that acts as a comfort. A writer whose work we choose to revisit once we feel that nothing is as it should be. This is a period which has taken a significant toll on me on a number of levels. Kazuo Ishiguro and his tender, sensitive, hopeful writing felt like a suitable choice. It goes without saying that this collection is one of my favourite creations by this master of Literature. In five stories, Ishiguro writes about love, loss, uncertainty, change, and music. Music above all. As the beautiful title of this collection reveals, these are stories centered around musicians and the turning point in their lives. The crucial moments in each story take place during evenings filled with memory, sadness and the glimpse of a fragile hope that everything may actually become whole again. In each story, the shaky relationships are witnessed by a ‘’bystander’’ that reflects on love and the human tendency to break apart what we’ve managed to build over the years. Why? Just because we can, apparently… Crooner: In Venice, a musician from a country of the former Iron Curtain meets an American singer. A story of memories, aspirations, and disappointments. Come Rain or Come Shine: A very sympathetic academic is the reluctant witness of his best friends’ desperate fight to tear down their marriage, despite the fact that they are obviously obsessed with each other. A darkly humorous story where CDs may very well be the absolute victims… Malvern Hills: A young, aspiring musician meets a middle-aged couple of professional musicians while working in his sister’s inn. A couple that is obviously miss-matched but united in their love for music in an extremely ‘’picturesque’’ story. Nocturne: An underachieving musician is advised to consider a plastic surgery to become more handsome...And he accepts. He meets a famous woman whose nocturnal escapades in their hotel provide a chance for contemplation and a possible moment of realization regarding fame and vanity. Cellists: A young Hungarian musician meets a beautiful cellist. But nothing is as it seems. This was my favourite story in the collection, its ending almost brought tears to my eyes. Ishiguro’s stories take us to Italy, to England, to Austria, to Eastern Europe with its tremendous musical tradition. Couples are dancing under the summer nightly sky, they explore hotels in the middle of the night, they try to regain confidence in themselves and the others. Some succeed, some fail. Through Ishiguro’s quiet, powerful writing, the characters become our friends, people we care about. Love and music go hand-in-hand. Nightfall is the most suitable chaperone for both. Upon finishing Nocturnes, I felt a little lighter, a little more optimistic… ‘’But for another few minutes at least, we were safe, and we kept dancing under the starlit sky.’’ My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 5 out of 5

    İntellecta

    I´ve read the book “Beim Anbruch der Nacht” written by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is based on 5 short stories, which are all about music and musicians. In comparison to his novels you can see a completely different side of the author, but I have to say that his other literature and Romans are on higher level. In this other side, I did not get closer to Ishiguro. His characters seem artificial, even linguistically I found these stories not strong enough. I had read much better of him before.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    I have a problem with Kazuo Ishiguro. And my problem with Nocturnes is the same one I had with his last novel, Never Let Me Go: I can't figure out why I didn't like it more. Despite his deceivingly simple prose I am very aware of his tremendous skill. I find many of his themes fascinating. I am sufficiently interested in his characters to keep on reading. I admire his resistance against easy resolutions or explicative characterizations. I marvel at his ability to create moments that are truly fu I have a problem with Kazuo Ishiguro. And my problem with Nocturnes is the same one I had with his last novel, Never Let Me Go: I can't figure out why I didn't like it more. Despite his deceivingly simple prose I am very aware of his tremendous skill. I find many of his themes fascinating. I am sufficiently interested in his characters to keep on reading. I admire his resistance against easy resolutions or explicative characterizations. I marvel at his ability to create moments that are truly funny or touching or absurd without overplaying those moments. But his words don't bubble in my brain days after I've consumed them. The people in his stories seem like interesting strangers who pique my curiosity only for the length of time that they are in front of me. I don't doubt their authenticity as real people but I don't necessarily want to form long-term relationships with them. Something seems to keep me from fully connecting. One of his favorite themes seems to be denial. The way we deny our own mortality, the realities of the life we lead, the disconnect between our own grand perception of ourselves and our lowly stations in the eyes of the world. Fascinating stuff, I think, and aptly realized in these stories yet at the conclusion of each I invariably think, "so what?" Perhaps the problem is that he raises questions but refuses to provide answers, or even the slightest inclination of a hint. Perhaps the problem is that denial and impotence are so omnipresent in the worlds he creates. When every single character seems to be living an unfulfilled life it's hard to sympathize with any one. Perhaps the only way I can appreciate Ishiguro is to take his ideas outside of the world of his stories, to leave behind the stories altogether, and consider them in another way that is meaningful to me. But to do that would contradict my belief in what stories, and fiction writers, should do. Like I said, it's my problem.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    The music of the past will always remain in the past. In the future new notes can and will be played. Ishiguro explores the themes of love and loss. In letting go of the past, one can move forward and embrace new things. Getting stuck is detrimental, and sometimes love is forsaken (foolishly?) for the sake of such things. So this collection of stories is deep and, at times, deeply moving. The first few had a haunting like effect. They played on my minds for days, as I imagined what I would do in The music of the past will always remain in the past. In the future new notes can and will be played. Ishiguro explores the themes of love and loss. In letting go of the past, one can move forward and embrace new things. Getting stuck is detrimental, and sometimes love is forsaken (foolishly?) for the sake of such things. So this collection of stories is deep and, at times, deeply moving. The first few had a haunting like effect. They played on my minds for days, as I imagined what I would do in such a situation. Central to each one was a failure or a misjudgement; the relationships break down in each case because of an over concern with image or societal success. Lovers become disenchanted, husbands become inadequate and wives become intolerable. Achievements (or lack thereof) are placed above individuality, character and personal feelings. Music is used to show alternate roads characters could have taken; it triggers memories and feelings often repressed and forgotten. It’s also a way of connecting with people, of a moment in time, the music symbolised a ling held bond as the notes reinforce states that will never die. It’s also a way of life for a musician; it is their passion and their means for survival. By exploring such themes Ishiguro weaves five very individual stories together but some are very forced. For example, the idea of “five stories of music and nightfall” imply a certain atmosphere the stories did not deliver. Granted, some were more successful than others and each was told with an eloquence of expression only masterful prose writers can achieve. That being said though, the themes were pushed to breaking point. Seemingly, it was like the stories were stretched around the ideas behind them rather than the writing being produced with a sense of naturalness. I found this particularly so with “Cellist” and “Nocturnes.” They let the collection down. Personally, I don’t feel like this is much of a collection. The stories don’t work together despite crossovers in characters on a couple of occasions. This book could have been great, but the writing shies just short of such a thing. Ishiguro can, and has, done much better in the past.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sawsan

    خمس قصص تجمع الموسيقى بين أحداثها وشخصياتها الموهبة والأحلام والخسارة والبحث عن الفرص الممكنة الحب والحزن ومرور الزمن والعلاقات المنتهية سرد يدخل عالم الموسيقى ويصل لنهايات مفتوحة

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    I’ve always associated the word Nocturne with sadness, sublime sadness, deeply felt sadness, but sadness, none the less. I think that Kazuo Ishiguro may share this feeling, even though, given that the term Nocturne when it started out simply meant a piece of music in several movements played by an ensemble at an evening party and that several of these stories revolve around ensembles playing music in the evenings, he may intend a simpler meaning. But I don’t think so. A character in one of the st I’ve always associated the word Nocturne with sadness, sublime sadness, deeply felt sadness, but sadness, none the less. I think that Kazuo Ishiguro may share this feeling, even though, given that the term Nocturne when it started out simply meant a piece of music in several movements played by an ensemble at an evening party and that several of these stories revolve around ensembles playing music in the evenings, he may intend a simpler meaning. But I don’t think so. A character in one of the stories says: “We were especially pleased when we found a recording - like Ray Charles singing ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ - where the words themselves were happy, but the interpretation was pure heartbreak.” In these stories, as if in a deliberate reversal of this statement, the interpretation is lyrical, harmonius, light of touch, but the the meaning buried behind the words is pure heartbreak. I'm gonna love you, Like nobody's loved you, Come rain or come shine. Happy together, Unhappy together, And won't it be fine? Days may be cloudy or sunny. We're in or we're out of money. But I'm with you always. I'm with you rain or shine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    Life's disappointments have never been chronicled in a more elegant manner. The stories feel like dreams. You close your eyes and take the journey, but just when you're about to see the summit, suddenly you're jolted awake to reality filled with a sense of disillusionment and regret. Simple, devastating, lingering, it's a pity that some stories pale in comparison to others.

  8. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    A nocturne is a “composition of a dreamy character, expressive of sentiment appropriate to evening or night”. Traditionally such nocturnal sentiments include regret, chagrin, melancholy, perhaps a dash of ennui – the pastel twilight tones at the lighter end of the spectrum that darken to gloom, rage and black despair. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is the first collection of short stories by the Japanese-English novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro. As the subtitle indicates, it is composed A nocturne is a “composition of a dreamy character, expressive of sentiment appropriate to evening or night”. Traditionally such nocturnal sentiments include regret, chagrin, melancholy, perhaps a dash of ennui – the pastel twilight tones at the lighter end of the spectrum that darken to gloom, rage and black despair. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is the first collection of short stories by the Japanese-English novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro. As the subtitle indicates, it is composed of 5 "immaculate" (prose-wise) stories whose common denominators are music (what it promises to the characters) and nightfall (the regrets, the failures, the unrealized potentials, the possibilities at the midlife or at the crossroads of its characters' lives). This is my 3rd book by Kazuo Ishiguro and I agree with one of my Goodreads friends that he indeed is one of the authors who do not re-write themselves. Remains of the Day is about an aging butler and his reflection in his twilight years while Never Let Me Go is about three young kids who were raised solely to be organ donors. The 5 short stories here are all about musicians, their lives and their struggles to stay afloat (Story#1: "Crooner"), how to spend time waiting for a big break (Story#2 : "Come Rain or Shine"), how a young musician can relate to old aging ones (Story#3: "Malvern Hills"), how physical appearance is seen as ticket to hit it big in the music industry (Story#4: "Nocturne"), or how to get the right coach or the better way of coaching (Story#5: "Cellist"). They have common denominators and some even share a character or two, e.g., the guitarist in Story#1 reappears in Story#5. The aging but still beautiful woman about to get divorced by his crooner-husband in Story#1 also appears as a cosmetic surgery patient in Story#4. I enjoyed reading this book because of Ishiguro's style of presenting his short stories. He aptly calls this collection as story cycle. Unlike Murakami, he just did not collate all his stories from his dreams, released them in one book and call the whole book by one of the titles in the collection. In Nocturnes, the stories seem to be part of an astoundingly pleasing orchestra piece with each story beautifully complementing the totality of the masterpiece by forming five distinct variations in tunes. Stories #2 and #4 are funny and playful. Story#1 is downright sad and gloomy. Story#3 is open-ended (with the end note in high pitch floating in the air) while Story#5 recaps the 4 by having more musician-characters as if providing the climax and conclusion to the piece. Just like Remains of the Day and to a lesser extend, Never Let Me Go, this book will not elicit a strong emotion from its reader. You will not feel downright sad or happy. You will not laugh out load, cry a tear or even smile. You will not need to fold a page to remember where that beautiful quote is. However, after reading the book, Ishiguro will make you reflect in your own life and will make you ask yourself questions like where your present life is heading or how to achieve your dreams. Despite having crossed the midpoint, is there still a dream worth pursuing? Is there still a chance for you to peak? That is if you haven't reached your peak? It is this subtlety that I appreciate in his writing. He neither states the obvious nor preaches. He will make you think of life's deeper meanings without going philosophical or peppering his book with profound quotes. Reading him in this book is like sipping a warm well-blended coffee in a fine easy Sunday morning while sitting in a cold plaza or in your front porch. With the cold December air, this book is a right read during this holiday season especially with the New Year soon unfolding. Makes you think of your first step for 2011.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, Kazuo Ishiguro Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a 2009 collection of short fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro. After six novels, it is Ishiguro first collection of short stories, though described by the publisher as a "story cycle". As the subtitle suggests, each of the five stories focuses on music and musicians, and the close of day. The hardback was published by Faber and Faber in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2009 and in the United States Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, Kazuo Ishiguro Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a 2009 collection of short fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro. After six novels, it is Ishiguro first collection of short stories, though described by the publisher as a "story cycle". As the subtitle suggests, each of the five stories focuses on music and musicians, and the close of day. The hardback was published by Faber and Faber in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2009 and in the United States by Knopf in September 2009. Five stories: "Crooner"; "Come Rain or Come Shine"; "Malvern Hills"; "Nocturne"; and "Cellists". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و نهم ماه نوامبر سال 2011 میلادی عنوان: شبانه ها: پنج داستان درباره موسیقی و شعر؛ کازوئو ایشی گورو؛ مترجم: خجسته کیهان؛ تهران، کتاب پارسه، 1389؛ در 198 ص؛ شابک: 9786005733068؛ مترجم: علیرضا کیوانی نژاد؛ تهران، چشمه، 1389؛ در 223 ص؛ شابک: 9789643627331؛ داستانهای: آوازخوان؛ چه بارانی باشد چه آفتابی؛ شبانه؛ نوازندگان ویلون سل؛ تپه های مالورن؛ ا. شربیانی

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Wow! That first short story was fantastic! Too bad the rest of this story-cycle collection of five didn't maintain that same high standard in my first foray in reading Kazuo Ishiguro's work. In case you're interested, here is Wikipedia's synopsis of each story: "Crooner" - Set in Venice, a fading American singer co-opts a Polish cafe musician into accompanying him while he serenades his wife (whose relationship is disintegrating) from a gondola. "Come Rain or Come Shine" - In London, an expatriate Wow! That first short story was fantastic! Too bad the rest of this story-cycle collection of five didn't maintain that same high standard in my first foray in reading Kazuo Ishiguro's work. In case you're interested, here is Wikipedia's synopsis of each story: "Crooner" - Set in Venice, a fading American singer co-opts a Polish cafe musician into accompanying him while he serenades his wife (whose relationship is disintegrating) from a gondola. "Come Rain or Come Shine" - In London, an expatriate EFL teacher is invited to the home of a couple whom he knew whilst at university. However the couple's tensions affect the visitor, leading to a rather awkward situation. "Malvern Hills" - A young guitarist flees London and lack of success in the rock world to the Malvern countryside cafe owned by his sister and brother-in-law. Whilst there he encounters Swiss tourists whose behavior causes him to reflect on his own situation. "Nocturne" - A saxophonist recuperating after plastic surgery at a Beverly Hills hotel becomes involved with a wealthy American woman (the now ex-wife of the crooner in the first story) and ends up in a rather bizarre confrontation on stage of the hotel (involving an award statuette and a cooked turkey). "Cellists" - A Hungarian cellist falls under the spell of a fellow cellist, an apparently virtuosic American older woman, who tutors him. He later realizes that she cannot play the cello as she was so convinced of her own musical genius, no teacher ever seemed equal to it, and so rather than tarnish her gift with imperfection, she chose never to realize it at all. I LOVED "Crooner"! It was clear from the start that Ishiguro excels at setting a scene and quickly building fairly full-formed characters, at least as full as is needed for a short. He handles mood like it's putty in the hands of an accomplished sculptor. Some reviewer for a UK paper, I think it was The Guardian or something, said "Nocturne" was the funniest story. What the heck was this person thinking? "Nocturne" had a brief moment of humor, but it was otherwise long and lame. "Come Rain or Come Shine" was the one I found funniest. Its main character is like someone Ricky Gervias would've created and is almost as put-upon as Bertie Wooster. In fact, this particular story is very Wodehousian and quintessentially British in its dry humor. "Malvern Hills" and "Cellists" are pretty enough in their imagery and sadness, but they don't quite come up to the mark of "Crooner". All in all, this wasn't the best introduction to a new writer for this particular reader, but its quantity of quality was enough for me to seek out another book by Kazuo Ishiguro for a second chance. Starting out as great as it did, after the story story I was ready to give Nocturnes 5 stars. Reading a couple more, I felt like this was a solid 4 stars. Struggling through the forth story dropped the overall score down to 3. Finishing off the book with a story that struggled to keep my attention didn't improve my opinion enough to raise it up to 4, so I'll call it 3.5 stars.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    I think if you look at my ratings on Goodreads you'll see that I'm much more sympathetic to short story collections. A good short story collection often shows an author's commitment to craft. You can see how much care the author takes with every word, you can get a sense of his or her range when dealing with subject matter and characters. You can get a sense of how their style carries from one kind of story to another. There is another reason -- there is very little money in short stories, even f I think if you look at my ratings on Goodreads you'll see that I'm much more sympathetic to short story collections. A good short story collection often shows an author's commitment to craft. You can see how much care the author takes with every word, you can get a sense of his or her range when dealing with subject matter and characters. You can get a sense of how their style carries from one kind of story to another. There is another reason -- there is very little money in short stories, even for established writers. Thus, writers write short stories "for the love of the game". For the most part, the stories in this collection share a kind of tonal consistency. Each story tells a tale of disappointment, subtle loss, memory, and the way we look foolish in pursuit of a dream. All the stories share musical elements and songs. Various songs and melodies tie these stories together. But this short story collection could also have been about the travails of writers and writing. The story "Come Rain or Come Shine" stuck out for me as a bit awkward. It wasn't poorly written. It featured compelling characters and fantastic dialogue. However, because the short story takes place in a single space and is mostly dialogue, I felt that the story would have been better as a one-act play. (In some ways, it reminded me of the low-budget, but clever movie "Tape" with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman). The story also features an absurd scene that doesn't quite work prose fiction but might have seemed less absurd and entertaining as a piece of theater physical comedy. You'll know the scene as soon as you read it. There are some compelling reasons to stay away from these stories. One -- the emotional journies in these stories are subtle. There is rising action and things do happen, but by the end of the story, you often get the impression that the things that were left unsaid and that didn't happen were just as important. As a writer, I love these stories. I also appreciate how hard they are to pull off. Also -- the endings are not traditional endings. They may even feel like non-endings to some readers. If you are a writer, there is also a compelling reason to read this book. A close reading of these stories will help you master your craft. In particular, these stories will help you master the craft of dialogue, character, and how to use compelling details. Happy readings!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Let’s start with the obvious, I love this guy’s writing. I mean, he could write a book about the problems associated with the Estonian public transport system as a legacy of Soviet era planning and I think it is just possible I would still be utterly enthralled. I’m saying this because it is pretty important you understand that this isn’t really going to be an ‘objective’ review – whatever that might mean. This one was nothing like any of the other books of his I have read. That might seem fairly Let’s start with the obvious, I love this guy’s writing. I mean, he could write a book about the problems associated with the Estonian public transport system as a legacy of Soviet era planning and I think it is just possible I would still be utterly enthralled. I’m saying this because it is pretty important you understand that this isn’t really going to be an ‘objective’ review – whatever that might mean. This one was nothing like any of the other books of his I have read. That might seem fairly obvious given this is a book of short stories and the others were all novels, but I mean even for a guy who tends to mix up his style of writing, these were still a bit of a surprise. I’m reading some Bourdieu at the moment, his Distinction, and he is talking about how music is one of those things that really distinguishes between social classes. He says this is partly the case because music is so difficult to talk about. Even when you know lots about music, after you have talked about technique you are often left with adjectives and little else. Roland Barthes says much the same thing. But one of the things that certainly distinguishes social classes when it comes to music is that the further up the ladder you go, the more likely you are to have played a musical instrument and therefore the more likely you are to have had a kind of intimate relationship with music that others who have never played a musical instrument are unlikely to have had. There is a story in this collection that puts this idea to the test, but clearly, how characters relate to music is one of the driving ideas of this book. There are unexpected links in these stories. Sometimes it is the music, sometimes a setting, sometimes a character will reappear, or rather be seen afresh. I kept thinking during this that a lesser writer might have overdone this. The other thing is that none of these stories really resolve – at least, not in that satisfying way that lets you close a book and feel all the pieces of the story have fallen into place. It is also true that very many of the characters here are not at all ‘nice’. This is particularly true of a couple of the narrators who are really annoying, (part of the reason this is getting four stars) almost exactly the sorts of people that you would run a mile from rather than talk to. It is a rare author who can put you in the head of such a character and not have you pack in the story half way through. I never wanted to stop reading, but still, I didn't enjoy being in some of these characters' heads. Some of the most interesting characters here are women – but interestingly, we invariably get to see these women through the eyes of a male narrator. Often this narrator is a couple of degrees of separation away from the actual woman we are interested in. A useful question to ask when you are reading fiction is ‘how could they know that?’ – I think that question is particularly useful in reading these stories. All the same, it is interesting to notice how often in these stories women are expected to give up virtually everything to help the man in their life achieve what they were setting out to achieve. Even when the women barely know the man and is insulted by him, there is still an expectation she will 'come good' for him and help him succeed. This book could have been called, “The women behind the men.” There is barely a male in the book that is not, in one way or another, dependant on a woman to achieve some form of success, at least in theory. And success is the other big theme here. It is funny how we associate music with success. Like The Beatles or Glenn Gould or Gershwin, to be a musical success, a ‘rock star’, is to have achieved the ultimate in success. This is a book that constantly asks us to reflect on just what success is, how is it measured and who gets to decide if we are successful or not – often quite literally – although sometimes more figuratively. Music, it seems, is rarely just about music, often it is about resentment too. I want to end by saying something about what I particularly like about short stories. It is that very often in short stories there is a kind of doubling. There will be a woman who has been slapped by her husband, say (this doesn’t happen in any of these stories, this isn’t a spoiler in the traditional sense) and it will mean something at the time. Then later there will be another slap. She might slap her own child, she might see someone slap their own knee, she might slap her husband back, but however it happens there will need to be a second slap and it can’t mean the same thing as the first slap, but rather it will make new sense of the first slap. The second slap will change the meaning of the first slap in some way. I think we have been trained to look for these doubles – stories by people like O’Henry often overdo these so that there is a kind of inevitability to what is coming next that makes you cringe in anticipation. Well, a couple of times during this I had the horrible feeling that it was obvious how things were about to turn out. There was an inversion that would be just too neat and just too pat. Fortunately, none of these were ever actually realised. These aren’t the greatest short stories ever written, but they are good and, as I said at the start, this guy can write and he does, quite beautifully.

  13. 4 out of 5

    amapola

    "…and I slip just like the stars into obscurity". Cinque racconti che parlano di amori patetici o al capolinea, di amicizie fugaci o durature, di musica o di passione per la musica, del crepuscolo quando si trasforma in notte. Un po’ grotteschi, un po’ malinconici, un po’ ironici (con punte di comicità vera e propria). Racconti dal finale aperto (quattro su cinque), che Ishiguro lascia all’immaginazione del lettore. Non la definirei una lettura imprescindibile, ma la delicatezza e la sensibili "…and I slip just like the stars into obscurity". Cinque racconti che parlano di amori patetici o al capolinea, di amicizie fugaci o durature, di musica o di passione per la musica, del crepuscolo quando si trasforma in notte. Un po’ grotteschi, un po’ malinconici, un po’ ironici (con punte di comicità vera e propria). Racconti dal finale aperto (quattro su cinque), che Ishiguro lascia all’immaginazione del lettore. Non la definirei una lettura imprescindibile, ma la delicatezza e la sensibilità (la grazia) della prosa di Ishiguro mi coinvolgono, di nuovo. Libro dalle atmosfere lunari. E la musica di un pianoforte che proviene da un’altra stanza. https://youtu.be/TKQaSZXEK2s

  14. 5 out of 5

    Greta G

    Based on the title, you'd expect something like this : https://youtu.be/4obAjW07-tg Actually though, it's more like this : https://youtu.be/rjiy3ELROuo Based on the title, you'd expect something like this : https://youtu.be/4obAjW07-tg Actually though, it's more like this : https://youtu.be/rjiy3ELROuo

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jinghua

    This was the first I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I remember thinking "how did this guy win a Booker?" but then I read The Remains of the Day immediately thereafter, which I loved. But I found this collection of short stories very weak -- there's a couple of good scenes and clever ideas but by and large it's readable but really quite ordinary. My main gripe would be that all the stories are too similar. As well as the motifs of music and nightfall flagged by the title, there's several common theme This was the first I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I remember thinking "how did this guy win a Booker?" but then I read The Remains of the Day immediately thereafter, which I loved. But I found this collection of short stories very weak -- there's a couple of good scenes and clever ideas but by and large it's readable but really quite ordinary. My main gripe would be that all the stories are too similar. As well as the motifs of music and nightfall flagged by the title, there's several common themes -- yearning, romance, loss -- and a couple of recurring characters. In fact at least a few of the (non-recurring) characters are so underdeveloped that they're distinguished primarily by their positioning, so it feels almost like it could be the same character, some years older and moved to a different location, put in a different situation. Emotionally I felt like all the stories were pushing the same buttons and not so successfully at that. The tone was muted in a way that I often enjoy in a longer work but the character or plot development wasn't there either -- resulting in a series of sketches that come across as limp and lifeless. So yes, this really fell flat for me. I feel sure I've read better collections of short stories that deal with similar themes, but I can't bring them to mind. I know I've heard a lot of songs that say more about music and nightfall in three minutes than this book does in five stories.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Τόσο όμορφα και λυρικά διηγήματα που διαβάζονται μονορούφι - άσχετο αν εμένα λόγω εργασίας με πήρε κοντά 20 ημέρες. Ιστορίες μουσικής και νύχτας, ο, τι πιο όμορφο για να διαβάσεις με κατάλληλη ατμόσφαιρα! Ιστορίες νοσταλγίας, με επίκεντρο τον άνθρωπο που προσπαθεί να μείνει αναλλοίωτος μέσα από τη μουσική του, να βρει αυτό το μοναδικό κίνητρο της ζωής, να βρει τον εαυτό του. Πρώτη επαφή με τον Ισιγκουρο και σίγουρα θα υπάρξουν κι άλλες συναντήσεις!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    A crooner and his wife take a sad holiday together; an old friend is drafted in to help out a failing marriage – with hilarious results; a budding songwriter meets an elderly married pair of Swiss musicians on holiday in the English countryside; an unsuccessful musician resorts to plastic surgery in a desperate bid for fame; a young cellist meets an older woman who claims to be a virtuoso cellist herself – except she can’t play the instrument! These are the five stories that make up Kazuo Ishigu A crooner and his wife take a sad holiday together; an old friend is drafted in to help out a failing marriage – with hilarious results; a budding songwriter meets an elderly married pair of Swiss musicians on holiday in the English countryside; an unsuccessful musician resorts to plastic surgery in a desperate bid for fame; a young cellist meets an older woman who claims to be a virtuoso cellist herself – except she can’t play the instrument! These are the five stories that make up Kazuo Ishiguro’s collection, Nocturnes. And it’s not bad. I recently read and adored Come Rain or Come Shine from the new Faber Stories range which spurred me on to check out this book, where it was originally published, hoping (naively) that the others would all be as brilliant. Alas, they’re not – Come Rain or Come Shine is still the best of the bunch. In that story, a man finds himself drawn into the troubled marriage of two old university friends with the expectation that he somehow fix things – except he manages to turn the situation into a farce! It’s such an unexpectedly funny and entertaining story from the normally rather reserved Ishiguro – I’d recommend just reading this story over any of the others. Because you’re not really missing much there! Not that they’re bad – they’re well-written with enough happening to more or less hold the attention – but they’re not anywhere near as compelling as Come Rain or Come Shine. Crooner is more like the maudlin Ishiguro I’m familiar with and it’s kinda sweet but also quite dull. I’ve no idea what the point of Malvern Hills and Cellists were – the dialogue is strong, some of the imagery lingers but they’re quite unmemorable stories. Nocturne was the only other somewhat fun story. The Crooner’s wife from the first story, Lindy Gardner, is having plastic surgery done and is convalescing in the same LA hotel as the musician who’s gotten work done too. They talk about who “deserves” success in the entertainment business and get into some night-time shenanigans during the preparations of an awards ceremony. I’m not totally sure why the subtitle emphasises “music and nightfall” as the links to both seem quite tenuous and unremarkable. It could just as easily reference relationships/marriages, and American women in particular, given the focus on them! None of the stories in Nocturnes are that bad but if it weren’t for the standout Come Rain or Come Shine this collection wouldn’t be worth picking up. I recommend checking it out for that story alone or get the recent Faber Stories edition of it instead.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cláudia Azevedo

    Ishiguro é tão, mas tão melhor do que mostra neste livro de contos! Em todos eles achei que era preciso mais tempo - um romance inteiro - para entender as personagens, sempre demasiado simples e planas. Pareceram-me histórias incompletas, momentos circunstanciais de verdadeiras histórias.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    I quite enjoyed this small selection of stories. I'd read a lot of bad reviews for this collection but I really can't fault it that much. Of course this isn't Carver or Shirley Jackson but I think all of these stories are perfectly good. If you enjoy slow, atmospheric stories in which nothing much happens then you'll like this collection.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    I'm not a big fan of short stories, but read these because after the emotion and length of Perdido Street Station, I wanted a total change, and I'd been meaning to try another Ishiguro (I enjoyed Remains of the Day in my twenties, but more recently, gave Never Let me Go only 2*) They were certainly a contrast, and they were perfectly competent, and had a connecting theme (music), but... That is all. I won't be rushing to read any more Ishiguro. 2.5* rounded down to 2*, because Ishiguro is supposed I'm not a big fan of short stories, but read these because after the emotion and length of Perdido Street Station, I wanted a total change, and I'd been meaning to try another Ishiguro (I enjoyed Remains of the Day in my twenties, but more recently, gave Never Let me Go only 2*) They were certainly a contrast, and they were perfectly competent, and had a connecting theme (music), but... That is all. I won't be rushing to read any more Ishiguro. 2.5* rounded down to 2*, because Ishiguro is supposed to be better than this. AS A COLLECTION All five stories have music as the link between main characters, and in four of them, the main character is a musician. In the fifth, it's shared musical tastes that are the bond. There is a certain sadness about the central relationship in each story, and several characters make extreme or odd sacrifices for their careers ((view spoiler)[divorcing when they want to be together, plastic surgery, avoiding tuition lest it spoil the innate talent (hide spoiler)] ). Two have sections of borderline slapstick comedy, two are set in Piazza San Marco in Venice with the same narrator (though only one of the stories is about him), two feature the same secondary character. All are told in the first person (though in the final one, the narrator is actually telling the story of an acquaintance, so the first person aspect is more of a gimmick, presumably to link the first and last stories). Reading short stories in quick succession can be a little disorienting, but it's even more so when "I" keeps changing, but the characters' voices are not distinctively different. Then, in the fourth story, we meet a character from the first - but told by a different narrator! David Mitchell does this sort of thing better, in both Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas. Reviewers more musical than I am, have seen this collection as being like the sweep of an orchestral piece, with variations and recaps, along with the new. CROONER Janeck is a guitarist, who is a ringer for café bands in Piazza San Marco: "A tourist strolling across the square will hear one tune fade out, another fade in, like he's shifting the dial on a radio." He spots a once-famous US crooner, Tony Gardener, and his rather grumpy wife, Lindy. Tony persuades Jan to accompany him to serenade his wife from a gondola. The reason for this is not what one might expect ((view spoiler)[it's their last holiday before they divorce, so he can make a come-back (hide spoiler)] ). COME RAIN OR COME SHINE A sad comedy of university friends, about twenty five years later. Ray and Emily bonded over shared taste in music, but she married Charlie, though all three stayed friends. Ray is single and teaches English overseas but regularly goes to stay with Emily and Charlie in their plush London duplex. On this occasion, Ray finds "his" room unkempt, Charlie highly strung, and Emily discontented. Charlie had invited Ray to keep Emily company while he goes away on business for a couple of days, and also to persuade her not to leave him ((view spoiler)[because in comparison to Ray, Charlie will seem more successful (hide spoiler)] ). It then turns into farce, as one small mistake snowballs into a catalogue of ever more far-fetched episodes. MALVERN HILLS A singer-songwriter (guitarist) goes to stay with his sister and her husband for the summer, so he can write in between helping them in their café and living rent-free. They are not really fans of his music. An Elgar-loving Swiss couple come to the café (also musicians), but there is tension between them, and she dislikes the slow service: "this woman was livid with anger. Not the sort that suddenly hits you then drains away. No, this woman, I could tell, had been in a kind of white heat for some time... It's the sort of anger that arrives and stays put... never quite peaking and refusing to find a proper outlet." This triggers what is potentially the funniest incident ((view spoiler)[sending them to the worst hotel in the town (hide spoiler)] ), but it happens off-stage. NOCTURNE A supposedly talented, but not very successful tenor sax player is persuaded his lack of success is because of his looks: "Billy's... sexy, bad-guy ugly. You... well, you're dull, loser ugly. The wrong kind of ugly." Recuperating from plastic surgery in a secret wing of a hotel, he comes to know the ex-wife of a more successful musician. Her route to the top was "The right love affair, the right marriage, the right divorces. All leading to the right magazine covers, the right talk shows." The sort of woman he rather despises. It's an odd meeting: "She was wearing something that was part night-gown, part cocktail dress... it was at the same time vaguely medical yet glamorous". Both are swathed in facial bandages, so she has no idea what he looks like, and neither can see each other's expressions. Boredom and bonding over music creates a friendship of a kind, leading to farcical escapades in private areas of the hotel at night, evading security and (view spoiler)[stealing and hiding something (hide spoiler)] . CELLISTS A café saxophonist in Piazza San Marco spots a former colleague and tells what happened to him a few years earlier: he's a Hungarian classically-trained cellist, and he was taken under the wings of an older American woman. This virtuoso cellist recognised his talent and gave him personal master classes. There is a bit of a twist, though not the one you expect ((view spoiler)[she is a "virtuoso" in theory - she can't actually play because she had to protect her gift from being destroyed by well-intentioned but inadequate teachers (hide spoiler)] . I thought this was the weakest story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maziar MHK

    ایشی گورو، برنده نوبل 2017، ژاپنی الاصلی بزرگ شده یِ انگلستان، مهاجرزاده و علاقمند موسیقیه. نگاهِ داستان ساز و روایت پرداز به محیطِ پیرامونش داره، با این شرح که، از صبحِ طالع تا شامِ آخر دنبالِ سوژه های نابه کتابی که تمومش کردم، داستانِ اهالیِ جغرافیایِ موسیقییه، گشت و گذاراشون، کاراشون تو میادین و خیابونا، غریبانه نواختنِشون میونِ غریبه ها، آرزوهای باطل و گاها اما، لباسِ واقعیت پوشیدَشون، رازهایِ مگوشون که با زبونِ نُتا بیان میشن، بِزنگاه هایی برای خودابرازی از کانال موسیقی. روایتِ رفتن، ترک شد ایشی گورو، برنده نوبل 2017، ژاپنی الاصلی بزرگ شده یِ انگلستان، مهاجرزاده و علاقمند موسیقیه. نگاهِ داستان ساز و روایت پرداز به محیطِ پیرامونش داره، با این شرح که، از صبحِ طالع تا شامِ آخر دنبالِ سوژه های نابه کتابی که تمومش کردم، داستانِ اهالیِ جغرافیایِ موسیقییه، گشت و گذاراشون، کاراشون تو میادین و خیابونا، غریبانه نواختنِشون میونِ غریبه ها، آرزوهای باطل و گاها اما، لباسِ واقعیت پوشیدَشون، رازهایِ مگوشون که با زبونِ نُتا بیان میشن، بِزنگاه هایی برای خودابرازی از کانال موسیقی. روایتِ رفتن، ترک شدن و یادآوریِ فراق همراه با سوزِ سردِ موسیقی ترجمش رَوون و دوس داشتنی بود اما راستش، "ایشی گورو" ، جوری تصویرسازی میکنه که شاید 90% ترجمه هاش به زبونای مختلف، فارغ از هویت و سبکِ کاریِ مترجم، نمره ی بالایی بگیرن و مقبولِ عامه بیفتن ترکیبِ سوزِ مهاجرت و حُرمِ موسیقی که هم "دردآفرینی" میکنه وهَم البته "تحمل سازی"، هر کدوم بِوقتش و بجاش، نگاه هایِ متوقعی که موسیقی رو مثه آبِ رَوونِ روی زمین مِثه یه مجرا میبینه واسه سُرخوردن و یَله وِل شُدن، اینها همه و اندکی بیشتر، همه از عناصریه که تو داستانهای حقیقتاََ خوندنی ِ 5گانه یِ این کتاب مشهوده در یک کلام، نویسنده اَش کاربَلَده و حِسِ نویسندگیاییش (بر وزنِ بویایی و شنوایی) عالی کار میکنه

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    An exquisite collection of five short stories that deals with complex issues such as the passage of time, lost dreams, second chances and unpredictable encounters. Always with the presence of music, night and potential romance. Like a good symphony, every story is like a movement, which seems independent but which is in fact part of a greater whole. Apparently simple melodies that actually hide sad, haunting stories of lonely and dissatisfied people and the opportunities life gives them to redee An exquisite collection of five short stories that deals with complex issues such as the passage of time, lost dreams, second chances and unpredictable encounters. Always with the presence of music, night and potential romance. Like a good symphony, every story is like a movement, which seems independent but which is in fact part of a greater whole. Apparently simple melodies that actually hide sad, haunting stories of lonely and dissatisfied people and the opportunities life gives them to redeem themselves. It's usually the reader who decides whether they take them or not. A poetic and smart compilation, subtle and sad, which will catch the attention of those who appreciate Ishiguro's delicate style.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Murat S. Dural

    2017 Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü sahibi Kazuo Ishiguro'nun Yapı Kredi Yayınları'ndan çıkan, Zeynep Erkut'un çevirdiği, yazarın en önemli kitaplarından "Noktürnler; Müziğe ve Günbatımına Dair Öyküler" adından da anlaşılacağı üzere gerçek zamanlı, sokak müzisyenlerine, onların dünyasına dair samimi beş öykü barındırıyor. Kitaba ismini veren "Noktürnler" ve "Aşk Şarkıcısı" öykülerini özellikle beğendim. Uslubu ve kelime, cümle seçimleri son derece aylın. bu bir anlamda anlatıyı gerçekten hikayeyi anlatan 2017 Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü sahibi Kazuo Ishiguro'nun Yapı Kredi Yayınları'ndan çıkan, Zeynep Erkut'un çevirdiği, yazarın en önemli kitaplarından "Noktürnler; Müziğe ve Günbatımına Dair Öyküler" adından da anlaşılacağı üzere gerçek zamanlı, sokak müzisyenlerine, onların dünyasına dair samimi beş öykü barındırıyor. Kitaba ismini veren "Noktürnler" ve "Aşk Şarkıcısı" öykülerini özellikle beğendim. Uslubu ve kelime, cümle seçimleri son derece aylın. bu bir anlamda anlatıyı gerçekten hikayeyi anlatan kişiden dinliyormuş etkisi, gerçekçilik veriyor esere. İtirafta bulunmam gerekirse Nobel Ödülü'nden önce yazarı hiç okumamıştım. Beklediğim gibi çıkmadı ama anlatısı, ritmi, sesi ile özgün bir yeri olduğu net.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    I'm drunk. Not going to try and pretend like I'm not. If you'd like to be drunk, too, I suggest buying a six pack of NOT YOUR FATHER'S ROOT BEER. Cheers. On to the review. I was impressed two times out of five with this collection. The first and third stories are damn good. Good enough that I want to try one of this guy's novels. The first story, "Crooner", was, by far, my favorite. Ishiguro put me in Venice, and I enjoyed my trip. The third story, "Malvern Hills", was another exceptional piec I'm drunk. Not going to try and pretend like I'm not. If you'd like to be drunk, too, I suggest buying a six pack of NOT YOUR FATHER'S ROOT BEER. Cheers. On to the review. I was impressed two times out of five with this collection. The first and third stories are damn good. Good enough that I want to try one of this guy's novels. The first story, "Crooner", was, by far, my favorite. Ishiguro put me in Venice, and I enjoyed my trip. The third story, "Malvern Hills", was another exceptional piece. If joy and sadness had a baby, Malvern Hills would be that baby's name. The other three were more cutesy than they were entertaining. Some of that "Teehee, look at us almost get in trouble, teehee" bullshit. I especially hated the last story. Did nothing for me. Felt like I wasted an hour of my life reading it, and the other two stories were simply forgettable. But (I like big buts and I cannot lie), the first and third stories, for me, are worth the price of admission. I would suggest, however, you skip the final story, because reasons. Also, if you are a musician of any kind, you should at least be able to finish this collection. In summation: I do not write good reviews while inebriated. Final Judgment: I liked what I liked and and that's all that I liked.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    It is unseasonably warm for a February Saturday in Pittsburgh. I am on the fifth and final story in Ishiguro's Nocturnes, trying to understand what it all means. Some music would be appropriate to go with this book, subtitled Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. "This is what we will hear tonight," I say, as the first barely audible notes of Sebelius' Violin Concerto fill the room like a Scandinavian wind. "I got some blood oranges for a salad. Would you like one?" "No, thank you," picking up the b It is unseasonably warm for a February Saturday in Pittsburgh. I am on the fifth and final story in Ishiguro's Nocturnes, trying to understand what it all means. Some music would be appropriate to go with this book, subtitled Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. "This is what we will hear tonight," I say, as the first barely audible notes of Sebelius' Violin Concerto fill the room like a Scandinavian wind. "I got some blood oranges for a salad. Would you like one?" "No, thank you," picking up the book, stretching my feet onto the ottoman, searching in the room for the Sebelius. The peels of a blood orange whir away in the garbage disposal. Sheets tumble in a clothes washer. Sebelius is lost. I return somehow to the Italian piazza where Tibor, a young Hungarian cellist, is approached by an older American woman, Eloise McCormack. She tells him she is a virtuoso and that she knows what he needs to reach a similar height. He accepts her avuncular mentoring and finds his voice. Sebelius yields, not reluctantly, to Tchaikovsky's Pathetique. "Oh. There's the mailman. Can you run and get the mail?" A book about an old map is in my mailbox, fortuitously, as Ishiguro is running out. The shower starts. I raise the volume for the allegro con grazia. Who wouldn't? Then why am I performing if not for an audience? Tibor asks. Eloise tells him, At this stage, what you're doing is waiting for that one person to come and hear you. And that one person might just as easily be in a room like that one on Thursday, in a crowd of just twenty people... The phone rings. The blood oranges were good, I hear, and the sleep last night was the best in a week. Feeling better, yes. "Can you help me with the sheets for a minute?" "Yes." "Oh. Are you writing a review?" "Yes. But it's okay." There aren't many like us, Tibor, and we recognize each other. The fact that I've not yet learned to play the cello doesn't really change anything. You have to understand, I am a virtuoso. But I'm one who's yet to be unwrapped. You too, you're still not entirely unwrapped, and that's what I've been doing these past few weeks. I've been trying to help you shed those layers. But I've never tried to deceive you. Ninety-nine per cent of cellists, there's nothing there under those layers, there's nothing to unwrap. So people like us, we have to help each other. When we see each other in a crowded square, wherever, we have to reach out for one another, because there are so few of us. These five stories seem quotidian, the characters inchoate, on the cusp of something. They are linked with music and self-reflection. Eloise will marry Peter, an American businessman who sells golf equipment in the Pacific Northwest. I guess so. . . . I guess so. Tibor will join a quartet, playing for diners in a hotel who may not even hear the music. Sebelius and Tchaikovsky tonight. A contrapuntal evening. Because the different melody lines entwine sometimes; the bramble and the rose. And music fills the air.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Wow, I’ve never read so many stories in which nothing happened. And that all involved musicians/people who loved music who were spectacularly unsuccessful and apparently often quite unlikeable (at least, they didn’t have many friends). Here is the plot of the stories: Crooner: Some guy meets a famous singer from back in the day, helps him serenade his wife and finds out they’re going to divorce so the singer can make a come-back. Come Rain or Shine: Guy in a dead-end job who apparently is whiny a Wow, I’ve never read so many stories in which nothing happened. And that all involved musicians/people who loved music who were spectacularly unsuccessful and apparently often quite unlikeable (at least, they didn’t have many friends). Here is the plot of the stories: Crooner: Some guy meets a famous singer from back in the day, helps him serenade his wife and finds out they’re going to divorce so the singer can make a come-back. Come Rain or Shine: Guy in a dead-end job who apparently is whiny and lame visits college friends going through a rough patch in their marriage; the husband seems like he’s having a mental break and the wife is continuously condescending and possibly thinks the narrator is the King of Whiners; the narrator ends up going into a dog’s mindset and chewing on magazines...the story ends before we discover if everyone is going insane, possibly due to some biological weapon that turns people into zombies (what? it would make the story more interesting, at least), if the narrator and the wife are going to have an affair, what his friends actually think of the narrator and if they hate him as much as they appear to, why they keep inviting him to their house, why the husband is so goddamn strange, if the narrator is actually as annoying as his friends seem to think him (though I think the answer to that last one is yes, yes he is), etc. Malvern Hills: Some deadbeat musician takes advantage of his sister’s kindness and crashes at her place, meets old couple who love his music but also fight and possibly break up (yes, every marriage in this book is crap). Nocturne: Sax player gets plastic surgery after his wife divorces him; meets famous actress who is also recovering from surgery, they fight and leave off on bad terms, story ends before he gets his bandages off. Cellists: Young cello player meets crazy-ass American who claims to be a cello maestro despite the fact that she hasn’t played the cello since she was 11 because no cello teacher was good enough for her. That’s it. That’s ALL the plot. The book description of the stories is completely misleading, probably because they were trying to make the stories sound exciting, which they could only accomplish by lying. Also, I never really noticed it, but Ishiguro’s dialogue tends toward awkward. I don’t usually note this because the characters in his novels have been the type who would be a bit stilted: Japanese and British, who both can be a bit clipped in fiction. But when they’re supposed to be American or at least unidentified, the stiffness becomes more noticeable. And you know how his characters tend to be kind of passive? Yeah, usually I don't care but here it's really, really annoying. This collection proves that no matter what he may think, Ishiguro was not meant to write short stories.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    A beautiful collection of short stories that have whetted my appetite for reading more of Kazuo Ishiguro's writing in 2018. I found the writing to be quietly melancholic, disarmingly beautiful and perfectly bittersweet. I loved how in many of the stories the concepts of what both falling in love and staying in love truly meant were explored. My favourite story was "Crooner" but I very much enjoyed them all and was moved by each in different ways. As music is so integral to these stories, instead A beautiful collection of short stories that have whetted my appetite for reading more of Kazuo Ishiguro's writing in 2018. I found the writing to be quietly melancholic, disarmingly beautiful and perfectly bittersweet. I loved how in many of the stories the concepts of what both falling in love and staying in love truly meant were explored. My favourite story was "Crooner" but I very much enjoyed them all and was moved by each in different ways. As music is so integral to these stories, instead of writing a review for each one I wish to share links to pieces of music that I listened to while reading these beautiful shorts. Some were directly referenced within the pages of the book and others are ones that I personally love. Crooner Chet Baker: I Fall in Love Too Easily Come Rain or Come Shine Sarah Vaughan ft Hal Mooney & His Orchestra - It Never Entered My Mind Malvern Hills Sounds from Thursday afternoon Nocturne Sax and Piano Jazz Duo - 'The Nearness of You' Cellists Rachmaninov: Cello Sonata 3rd movement performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax four stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aslıhan Çelik Tufan

    İshiguro dan öyküler okumak oldukça keyifli, öyküleri okurken sanki bir arkadaştan başka bir arkadaş ya da ahbabın hallerini dinliyor hissi gittikçe artıyor. Kitapla ilgili tek uyarım, baya müzik ve şarkı bilgisi istiyor, bilmediğiniz hiç duymadığınız bişe hakkında okumak biraz zor. En çok Aşk şarkıcısı öyküsünü sevdiğimi de belirtmeden edemeyeceğim. Keyifli okumalar!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heba

    ليليات هى أمسيات دافئة هادئة ، يومض بها ألق الحب ويذوي خافتاً... هناك علامات موسيقية تتمايل مع خفة النسائم ورهافة الأحاسيس ورقتها ، كم وددت لو استطعت الإمساك بها ، وقد تناهى إلى مسامعي عذوبتها ، بِتُ أبحث عن تلك المقطوعات وأستمع اليها ، كم كانت تبدو قادمة من زمن بعيد ولكن "ايشغورو" جعلها قريبة جداً ..تلامس القلب في تلك الليليات... بدا جانب من المرح هاهنا يا سيدي وهذا غريباً على عالمك الهادىء الرصين ، لقد سلب ضحكاتي في غفلة مني وأنا التي ظننت أن عالمك لن يفعل ذلك أبداً...

  30. 4 out of 5

    ultraviolet

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  32. 5 out of 5

    Tihleigh

  33. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  34. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Felton

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  38. 4 out of 5

    Keri

  39. 5 out of 5

    رحاب

  40. 4 out of 5

    Karlton

    Like any collection of short fiction, some stories are better than others. My favorites were the first "Crooner" and fourth "Nocture" which are slightly connected.

  41. 4 out of 5

    Bonita

  42. 4 out of 5

    Liane

  43. 4 out of 5

    Edward

  44. 5 out of 5

    Suzanna

  45. 5 out of 5

    Tensy (bookdoyen)

  46. 5 out of 5

    Raisa

  47. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    each time I got to the end it was like i wanted more to happen - but i see that these stories are told in an instant by the narator. yes, i was mistaken most of the times considering that the story was about one character, the obvious one, but insteaad it was all about the other.

  48. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  49. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Subtle, an oddly British bunch of stories for one born in Japan - gentle, thoughtful, observant on human nature...and not always about nice people!

  50. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

  51. 5 out of 5

    David Mahaffey

  52. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  53. 4 out of 5

    Glenys

  54. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  55. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  56. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    First of all, let me say that I'm a bit of an Ishiguro fan. I've read all but one of his novels, and love his understated writing style and knack of dealing with big themes while appearing to do no more than tell a story. So I was excited when I heard he had a new book out, and anticipated it more than any other for quite a while. So if my review contains a note of disappointment, it could be because my expectations were so high to begin with. After all, I did enjoy these stories. They were as we First of all, let me say that I'm a bit of an Ishiguro fan. I've read all but one of his novels, and love his understated writing style and knack of dealing with big themes while appearing to do no more than tell a story. So I was excited when I heard he had a new book out, and anticipated it more than any other for quite a while. So if my review contains a note of disappointment, it could be because my expectations were so high to begin with. After all, I did enjoy these stories. They were as well-written as everything else Ishiguro produces, and they dealt with themes of disappointment, desperation, lost love and the yearning for fame in a convincing and thought-provoking way. Yet I was left with a feeling of slight disappointment. I enjoyed reading the book, certainly, but towards the end I had a slight feeling of "Is this it, then?" It might be a simple question of size - five short stories is not very much for a £15 book, and it only runs to 220 pages thanks to wide margins and generous spacing. A long way from my last Ishiguro read, the mammoth Unconsoled. But I think it's also more than that. I think that, for me at least, Ishiguro's style lends itself better to novels than to short stories. One of the things I love about his novels is the way they develop slowly, as the narrator digresses and gives you a lot of small details while withholding important information. In these stories, Ishiguro uses the same technique, but in a short story there's not as much time for plot and character development. So I think this accounts for the feeling I had. Things moved slowly, at novel pace, for most of the story, and then suddenly at the end there was an abrupt resolution, usually through a character giving the explanation. Having said that, I liked the way that the stories all deal with music and nightfall in different ways. Several of them are about either wannabe musicians or older, washed-up musicians, and the yearning for fame and success. The final one, Cellists, was about the difficulty of using a musical gift - the different ways in which the gift can be wasted, either by playing in a dead-end hotel job instead of a top orchestra, or by not playing at all. I'm trying not to say too much because the plot in each story is so slight that just a quick summary can give away a crucial twist. I think that reading reviews beforehand spoiled the book a little for me, as a couple of the stories depend on late plot twists that were not surprises for me. Normally 'spoilers' don't really bother me, but in this case they did. So, no more about the plot. I guess that, despite my slight disappointment, I would still recommend reading this book. I've spent a lot of time talking about the negatives, so let me finish by returning to what I liked - the beautiful writing, solid story-telling and the poignancy of a lot of the situations the characters were in. There was also some unexpected slapstick humour in places, which worked surprisingly well.

  57. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Five short stories..all linked by music and fraught relationships

  58. 5 out of 5

    Katietrodd

  59. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

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