Kazuo Ishiguro


Kazuo Ishiguro

Infobox Writer
name = Kazuo Ishiguro


imagesize = 200px
caption = Kazuo Ishiguro, Kraków (Poland), October 29, 2005
pseudonym =
birthdate = birth date and age|1954|11|8
birthplace = Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Japan
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = Novelist
nationality = British
period = 1981-present
genre =
subject =
movement =
notableworks = The Remains of the Day
influences =
influenced =
website =

Kazuo Ishiguro ( _ja. カズオ・イシグロ ("Kazuo Ishiguro") or _ja. 石黒 一雄 ("Ishiguro Kazuo"); born November 8, 1954) is a British novelist. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, his family moving to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master's from the University of East Anglia's creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. [Author's bio. Granta 43 (1993). p. 91.] He now lives in London with his wife Lorna MacDougall and daughter Naomi.

Early life

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan on 8 November, 1954, the son of Shigeo Ishiguro, an oceanographer, and his wife Shizuko.cite book|title=Kazuo Ishiguro|author=Barry Lewis|publisher=Manchester University Press|date=2000] In 1960 his family, including his two sisters, moved to Guildford, Surrey so that his father could work on oil development in the North Sea. He attended Stoughton Primary School and then Woking County Grammar School in Surrey. After finishing school he took a 'gap year' and travelled through America and Canada, whilst writing a journal and sending demo tapes to record companies.

in 1974 he began studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and he graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in English and Philosophy. After spending a year writing fiction, he resumed his studies at the University of East Anglia where he gained a Master of Arts in Creative Writing.

Literary characteristics

A number of his novels are set in the past. His most recent, "Never Let Me Go", had science fiction qualities and a futuristic tone; however, the given time period is the late 1990s, and thus takes place in an alternate, though very similar, world. His fourth novel, "The Unconsoled", takes place in an unnamed Central European city. "The Remains of the Day" is set in the large country house of an English lord, in the period leading up to, and the period after, the Second World War.

"An Artist of the Floating World" is set in Ishiguro's home town of Nagasaki during the period of reconstruction following the detonation of the atomic bomb there in 1945. The narrator is forced to come to terms with his part in the Second World War. He finds himself blamed by the new generation who accuse him of being part of Japan's misguided foreign policy, and is forced to confront the ideals of the modern times as represented in his grandson.

The novels are written in the first-person narrative style and the narrators often exhibit human failings. Ishiguro's technique is to allow these characters to reveal their flaws implicitly during the narrative. The author thus creates a sense of pathos by allowing the reader to see the narrator's flaws while being drawn into sympathy with him. That pathos is often derived from the narrator's actions, or, more often, inaction. In "The Remains of the Day", the butler Stevens fails to act on his romantic feelings toward the housekeeper Miss Kenton because he fails to reconcile his sense of service and his personal life.

The novels end without a sense of resolution. The issues his characters confront are buried in the past, and those issues remain unresolved. Thus Ishiguro ends many of his novels on a note of melancholic resignation, whereby his characters accept their past and who they have become, and find comfort in that realization by a relief from mental anguish. This can be seen as a literary reflection on the Japanese idea of "mono no aware".

Ishiguro and Japan

Although Ishiguro was born in Japan, has a Japanese name, and set his first two novels in Japan, in several interviews he has had to clarify to the reading audience that he has little familiarity with Japanese writing and that his works bear little resemblance to Japanese fiction. In a 1990 interview he said, "if I wrote under a pseudonym and got somebody else to pose for my jacket photographs, I'm sure nobody would think of saying, 'This guy reminds me of that Japanese writer.'" [Interview with Allan Vorda and Kim Herzinger. "Stuck on the Margins: An Interview with Kazuo Ishiguro." "Face to Face: Interviews with Contemporary Novelists." Rice University Press, 1994. p. 25. (ISBN 0-8926-3323-9)] Although some Japanese writers have had a distant influence on his writing—Jun'ichirō Tanizaki is the one he most frequently names—Ishiguro has said that Japanese films, especially those of Yasujirō Ozu and Mikio Naruse, have been a more significant influence. [Interview with Gregory Mason. "An Interview with Kazuo Ishiguro." "Contemporary Literature XXX".3 (1989). p. 336.]

Ishiguro left Japan in 1960 at the age of 5 and did not return until 1989, nearly 30 years later, as a participant in the Japan Foundation Short-Term Visitors Program. In an interview with Kenzaburo Oe, Ishiguro acknowledged that the Japanese setting of his first two novels was "imaginary": "I grew up with a very strong image in my head of this other country, a very important other country to which I had a strong emotional tie... in England I was all the time building up this picture in my head, an imaginary Japan." [Interview with Kenzaburo Oe. "The Novelist in Today's World: A Conversation." "boundary 2 18".3 (1991) p. 110.]

Literary Prizes

He was featured in the first two Granta Best of Young British Novelists: 1983 [cite web|url=http://www.bestyoungnovelists.com/Best-of-Young-British-Novelists/Best-of-Young-British-Novelists-1-1983|title=Granta 7: Best of Young British Novelists|accessdate=2008-05-06] and 1993 [cite web|url=http://www.bestyoungnovelists.com/Best-of-Young-British-Novelists/Best-of-Young-British-Novelists-2-1993|title=Granta 43: Best of Young British Novelists 2|accessdate=2008-05-06] .

He won the Whitbread Prize in 1986 for his second novel, "An Artist of the Floating World".

He won the Booker Prize in 1989 for his third novel, "The Remains of the Day". "An Artist of the Floating World", "When We Were Orphans" and his most recent book, "Never Let Me Go", were all short-listed for the Booker Prize, with the latter being named the runner-up.

In 1998, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

On "Time" magazine's 2005 list of the 100 greatest English language books since the magazine formed in 1923, "Never Let Me Go" was the most recently published book on the list.

Works

* (1981) Three short stories in "Introduction 7: Stories by New Writers" (ISBN 0-571-11680-9)
* (1982) "A Pale View of Hills" (ISBN 0-679-72267-X)
* (1984) "A Profile of Arthur J. Mason" (Original Screenplay for Channel 4) [cite web|url=http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,1416858,00.html|title=Profile: Kazuo Ishiguro|accessdate=2008-03-18] [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0242797/|title=A Profile of Arthur J. Mason (1984) (TV)|accessdate=2008-03-18]
* (1986) "An Artist of the Floating World" (ISBN 0-679-72266-1)
* (1987) "The Gourmet" (Original Screenplay for the BBC; the script was later published in Granta 43) [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0242490/|title=The Gourmet (1984) (TV)|accessdate=2008-03-18]
* (1989) "The Remains of the Day" (ISBN 0-679-73172-5)
* (1995) "The Unconsoled" (ISBN 0-679-73587-9)
* (2000) "When We Were Orphans" (ISBN 0-5712-0516-X)
* (2003) "The Saddest Music in the World" (Original Screenplay)
* (2005) "Never Let Me Go (ISBN 1-4000-7877-6)
* (2005) "The White Countess" (Original Screenplay)

References

External links

*
* [http://www.faber.co.uk/author_detail.html?auid=2001 Faber and Faber page on Ishiguro]

Interviews

* [http://wiredforbooks.org/kazuoishiguro/ 1990 RealAudio interview with Ishiguro at Wired for Books.org] by Don Swaim
* [http://www.januarymagazine.com/profiles/ishiguro.html 2000 January magazine interview with Ishiguro]
* [http://www.sineadgleeson.com/blog/2005/04/04/sigla-kazuo-ishiguro-interview/ 2005 interview with Ishiguro in Sigla Magazine]
* [http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/culturevulture/archives/2006/03/23/guardian_book_c_2.html 2006 Guardian Book Club podcast with Ishiguro] by John Mullan

Profiles

* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1DC1239F93BA15753C1A96F948260 1989 "A Case of Cultural Misperception," a profile at the New York Times] by Susan Chira
* [http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,1416858,00.html 2005 "Living Memories," a profile at The Guardian] by Nicholas Wroe

Persondata
NAME= Ishiguro, Kazuo
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION= British Novelist
DATE OF BIRTH= November 8, 1954
PLACE OF BIRTH= Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Japan
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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