Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (2009)
Written by: Kazuo Ishiguro
Genre: Short Fiction
Pages: 221 (Hardcover)
The premise: ganked from BN.com: 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.
Wish I'd Borrowed It: if you're interested in Ishiguro's work, don't start here, not even if you're a fan of music. These tales never have a strong resolution on any note (pun intended), and the unifying factors quickly made the stories predictable and stale. The writing did not enchant or delight me, whereas I was glued to the voice used in Never Let Me Go. Part of the problem is that pretty much all of the narrators in these stories are selfish, whiny men, and let's face it, whether they're brilliant artists or not, I just don't have the patience to read a slice of their life. I'm not going to let this collection sour me on Ishiguro's work as a whole, but I will pay closer attention to reviews of his work in the future. I should've listened to them for this one, but no... I thought I knew better, since I used to be a music major. ;) 'Fraid not. This is pretty forgettable, whereas Never Let Me Go still sticks with me.
Review style: to be honest, there's really not that much to spoil, and I feel no urge to do a story-by-story review either. So if you're interested in the full review, you're welcome to check it out at my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Kazuo Ishiguro's NOCTURNES