From the award-winning author of Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories, which is as affecting as it is beautiful.
With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo Ishiguro interlocks five short pieces of fiction to create a world that resonates with emotion, heartbreak, and humor. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junky with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent. For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany.
If a different writer had published a book with the same title as Kazuo Ishiguro's collection of stories, the reader might be tempted to groan at its preciousness. Nocturnes -- could there be a more self-consciously arty word, with its memories of Schubert and Chopin? And doesn't the subtitle make things worse, insisting too grandly on melody and melancholy? Yet Ishiguro, as readers of his fiction know, is anything but a conventional or pretty writer. In his previous book, Never Let Me Go, he conjured the most convincing dystopia in recent literary fiction: an alternative England where human clones are raised in segregated schools, until their organs are harvested for the benefit of "real" people. That the clones are every bit as real as their originals is less disturbing, in Ishiguro's novel, than the intricate ways they justify and reconcile themselves to their fate. With typical indirection, Ishiguro turned his sci-fi premise into a parable of the ways we learn to live in our own world of injustice and despair.