torstai 14. tammikuuta 2010

Kazuo Ishiguro: Nocturnes

Actually, I'm one of the 'gypsies', as the other musicians call us, one of the guys who move around the piazza, helping out whichever of the three cafe orchestras needs us. Mostly I play here at the Caffè Lavena, but on a busy afternoon, I might do a set with the Quadri boys, go over to the Florian, then back across the square to the Lavena. I get on fine with them all - and with the other waiters too - and in any other city I'd have a regular position by now. But in this place, so obsessed with tradition and the past, everything's upside down.

Something new: a collection of short stories by Kazuo Ishiguro, whose writing career has mainly consisted of novels so far. Ishiguro's short stories somehow remind me of Haruki Murakami's stories, minus the quirky, supernatural elements. I think this is mainly because of the lonely, single main characters and the large role that music, especially jazz, plays in the novels.

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall includes five pieces of fiction that flow like improvised jazz songs. Café musicians in Italy, an up-and-coming jazz player recovering from plastic surgery on the 'hush-hush floor' of an exclusive Hollywood hotel, a music-loving English teacher trying to patch up his friends' marriage and a guitarist on holiday at the Malvern Hills...

The general undertone of the stories is pessimistic. There is an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, regret and unfulfilled potential. However, a couple of the stories balance this heavy atmosphere with witty, if somewhat predictable, humour.

Kazuo Ishiguro: Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. Faber & Faber. 2009.

The Observer: "Heartbreak in Five Movements"
Wikipedia: Nocturnes
Wikipedia: Kazuo Ishiguro

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