Ogres, Pixies, and Giants: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Improvisations
March 31, 2015, by Doni Wilson
There was a lot of anticipation for Monday night’s Kazuo Ishiguro Inprint Margarett Root Brown reading from, The Buried Giant, his first new novel in ten years. I knew it was sold out—left early, warmed up by listening to his interview with St. John Flynn of Houston Public Media, which you can hear here:
Just like everyone else streaming into the beautiful Wortham Center, I was excited. He was on a “limited” U.S. book tour and Houston had made the cut.
Multiple nominee for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, Ishiguro won in 1989 for his best known work, The Remains of the Day, which was also made into an excellent film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Never Let Me Go had also been made into a film, and Ishiguro has been listed as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1948 by The Times. Recipient of the OBE award from the British Crown, he is a palpable force in English letters, tending to experiment stylistically while hovering on similar themes: self-denial, acceptance of fate, the dance of time with potential and real regrets.
Although born in Japan, and influenced by the culture of the Samurai in interesting ways, Ishiguro comes across as thoroughly English, having lived there since he was five in 1960. He did not speak English, but enjoyed American Westerns on television, and later, became hugely influenced by the novels of Charlotte Bronte, particularly Jane Eyre and Villette. Ishiguro began as a singer-songwriter, interested in jazz and its improvisational modes—an influence that has carried over to his writing. Continue reading