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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,660 Ratings  ·  1,074 Reviews
In this sublime story cycle, Kazuo Ishiguro explores love, music and the passage of time. This quintet ranges from Italian piazzas to the Malvern Hills, a London flat to the “hush-hush floor” of an exclusive Hollywood hotel. Along the way we meet young dreamers, café musicians and faded stars, all at some moment of reckoning.

Gentle, intimate and witty, Nocturnes is unders
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Knopf Canada (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 15, 2010 Esther rated it it was ok
I have a problem with Kazuo Ishiguro. And my problem with Nocturnes is the same one I had with his last novel, Never Let Me Go: I can't figure out why I didn't like it more.
Despite his deceivingly simple prose I am very aware of his tremendous skill. I find many of his themes fascinating. I am sufficiently interested in his characters to keep on reading. I admire his resistance against easy resolutions or explicative characterizations. I marvel at his ability to create moments that are truly fu
K.D. Absolutely
A nocturne is a “composition of a dreamy character, expressive of sentiment appropriate to evening or night”. Traditionally such nocturnal sentiments include regret, chagrin, melancholy, perhaps a dash of ennui – the pastel twilight tones at the lighter end of the spectrum that darken to gloom, rage and black despair.
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is the first collection of short stories by the Japanese-English novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro. As the subtitle indicates, it is composed
May 04, 2015 Fionnuala rated it it was amazing
I’ve always associated the word Nocturne with sadness, sublime sadness, deeply felt sadness, but sadness, none the less.
I think that Kazuo Ishiguro may share this feeling, even though, given that the term Nocturne when it started out simply meant a piece of music in several movements played by an ensemble at an evening party and that several of these stories revolve around ensembles playing music in the evenings, he may intend a simpler meaning. But I don’t think so. A character in one of the st
Jason Koivu
Mar 24, 2016 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, short-story
Wow! That first short story was fantastic! Too bad the rest of this story-cycle collection of five didn't maintain that same high standard in my first foray in reading Kazuo Ishiguro's work.

In case you're interested, here is Wikipedia's synopsis of each story:

"Crooner" - Set in Venice, a fading American singer co-opts a Polish cafe musician into accompanying him while he serenades his wife (whose relationship is disintegrating) from a gondola.

"Come Rain or Come Shine" - In London, an expatriate
Mar 05, 2009 Lia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This was the first I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I remember thinking "how did this guy win a Booker?" but then I read The Remains of the Day immediately thereafter, which I loved. But I found this collection of short stories very weak -- there's a couple of good scenes and clever ideas but by and large it's readable but really quite ordinary.

My main gripe would be that all the stories are too similar. As well as the motifs of music and nightfall flagged by the title, there's several common theme
Barry Pierce
I quite enjoyed this small selection of stories. I'd read a lot of bad reviews for this collection but I really can't fault it that much. Of course this isn't Carver or Shirley Jackson but I think all of these stories are perfectly good. If you enjoy slow, atmospheric stories in which nothing much happens then you'll like this collection.
Edward Lorn
I'm drunk. Not going to try and pretend like I'm not. If you'd like to be drunk, too, I suggest buying a six pack of NOT YOUR FATHER'S ROOT BEER. Cheers.

Chicago commercial photographers

On to the review.

I was impressed two times out of five with this collection. The first and third stories are damn good. Good enough that I want to try one of this guy's novels. The first story, "Crooner", was, by far, my favorite. Ishiguro put me in Venice, and I enjoyed my trip. The third story, "Malvern Hills", was another exceptional piece.
Apr 24, 2014 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Let’s start with the obvious, I love this guy’s writing. I mean, he could write a book about the problems associated with the Estonian public transport system as a legacy of Soviet era planning and I think it is just possible I would still be utterly enthralled. I’m saying this because it is pretty important you understand that this isn’t really going to be an ‘objective’ review – whatever that might mean.

This one was nothing like any of the other books of his I have read. That might seem fairly
Feb 18, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, music
It is unseasonably warm for a February Saturday in Pittsburgh. I am on the fifth and final story in Ishiguro's Nocturnes, trying to understand what it all means. Some music would be appropriate to go with this book, subtitled Five Stories of Music and Nightfall.

"This is what we will hear tonight," I say, as the first barely audible notes of Sebelius' Violin Concerto fill the room like a Scandinavian wind.

"I got some blood oranges for a salad. Would you like one?"

"No, thank you," picking up the b
Sep 05, 2010 Bonnie rated it did not like it
Wow, I’ve never read so many stories in which nothing happened. And that all involved musicians/people who loved music who were spectacularly unsuccessful and apparently often quite unlikeable (at least, they didn’t have many friends). Here is the plot of the stories:

Crooner: Some guy meets a famous singer from back in the day, helps him serenade his wife and finds out they’re going to divorce so the singer can make a come-back.

Come Rain or Shine: Guy in a dead-end job who apparently is whiny a
Jun 14, 2014 Cecily rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I'm not a big fan of short stories, but read these because after the emotion and length of Perdido Street Station, I wanted a total change, and I'd been meaning to try another Ishiguro (I enjoyed Remains of the Day in my twenties, but more recently, gave Never Let me Go only 2*)

They were certainly a contrast, and they were perfectly competent, and had a connecting theme (music), but... That is all. I won't be rushing to read any more Ishiguro.

2.5* rounded down to 2*, because Ishiguro is supposed
Ahmad Sharabiani
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, Kazuo Ishiguro
عنوان: شبانه ها: پنج داستان درباره موسیقی و شعر؛ کازوئو ایشی گورو؛ مترجم: خجسته کیهان؛ تهران، کتاب پارسه، 1389؛ در 198 ص؛ شابک: 9786005733068؛

مترجم: علیرضا کیوانی نژاد؛ تهران، چشمه، 1389؛ در 223 ص؛ شابک: 9789643627331؛

This is an interesting collection of stories all narrated by the same young male musician. Each of the stories is set in a different location and features rather quirky people in awkward short-term relationships. The stories very effectively portray the kind of insecure and stumbling interchanges which sometimes occur between people who don't know each other very well. This style of writing is new for me, and I found it sad, amusing, and realistic. The endings of the stories are mini-cliff-hange ...more
T.D. Whittle
Sep 28, 2014 T.D. Whittle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
I have read quite a few Ishiguro novels, and consider him one of my favourite living writers. I am used to finding him witty, clever, and amusing in a way that causes me to smile and sometimes emit a small laugh whilst reading -- of course, this is less true with Never Let Me Go (it's just so terribly un-funny) than with, say, The Remains of the Day. Also, I am used to expecting moments of painful poignancy, tender regret, and compassionately evocative, world-weary denouement.

What I have not enc
Sep 21, 2015 Jana rated it liked it
Ishiguro is liquid. Can I say it like that? There is not a single thing in these stories where his writing isn't compatible with how a great beginning or the end of a story should look like. Or how a story should interestingly develop and how characters should be engaging and how... These nocturnes are almost perfect, and yet, they are somehow not.

As if they need that jump from the springboard to make a perfect somersault and maybe end it with some surprisingly unexpected flip or something. I a
Mar 20, 2011 Isabelle rated it really liked it
A very fine collection of five short stories, all revolving around music and, as in all of Kazuo Ishiguro's books, loneliness. As always, he is a master of restraint, which does not diminish the pathos of the stories, on the contrary!
In each of those stories, something gets unraveled for each of the characters who collide with each other during that particular moment in their lives.... and of course all this happens to music, for music, because of music.
This is all tremendously lyrical albeit in
Sep 28, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it
I love Ishiguro so be prepared for some gushing. This book was a departure for Ish. The day I got the book I sat down and told myself I'd read the first story. It was short and entertaining so I began the second story. I read a few pages and found myself chuckling and thinking I must be misunderstanding. Ishiguro is usually so lush and evocative. He makes me think and feel new things or at least feel them and think them with a new depth and understanding. After a few more pages I was falling off ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
An exquisite collection of five short stories that deals with complex issues such as the passage of time, lost dreams, second chances and unpredictable encounters. Always with the presence of music, night and potential romance.

Like a good symphony, every story is like a movement, which seems independent but which is in fact part of a greater whole.
Apparently simple melodies that actually hide sad, haunting stories of lonely and dissatisfied people and the opportunities life gives them to redeem
Jan 09, 2016 Doan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Dạ khúc, năm câu chuyện về âm nhạc và đêm buông” có bìa không nổi bật, nằm lẫn lộn trong những sạp sách lớn với vô số người chen chúc trong buổi Nhã Nam xả hàng kho sách. Tôi đã kiễng chân, vất vả lắm mới lấy được cuốn sách ra.

Tuy nhiên, dòng chữ ngay trang bìa dưới đây, đã quyết định cuốn sách phải thuộc về tôi, cho dù tôi chưa hề nghe nói về “Dạ khúc…” trước đó: “Một cuốn sách vô cùng thông minh về thời gian đang trôi qua cùng những khoảnh khắc thăng hoa khiến hành trình ấy trở nên đáng giá.”
Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain
Apr 05, 2014 Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain rated it really liked it
Shelves: english
Nocturnes are short musical compositions that are meant to praise the beauty of the night. Most of the famous nocturnes were written in the romance era of classical music. Frédéric Chopin and Claude Debussy are my personal favorite nocturne composers. Now, I do not dare much to claim myself to be a classical music geek but yes, I am one of those fortunate people on earth who are tremendously touched by the beauty of it. My addiction towards classical music often forced me to rummage through the ...more
FreshGrads .Sg
Jun 22, 2010 FreshGrads .Sg rated it it was amazing
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is Kazuo Ishiguro's first collection of short stories after six successful novels. His latest book is made up of a quintet of short stories—Crooner, Come Rain or Come Shine, Malvern Hills, Nocturne and Cellists—where he explores love, music and the passing of time as dreams and relationships might start getting dusty.

Ishiguro, also a guitarist and a former chorister, was winner of the Booker Prize for novel-turned-film, The Remains of the Day. The f
Sep 26, 2009 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult review to write, because I have a great deal of respect for Kazuo Ishiguro as a novelist, but the short story is a different form that calls for a different set of skills. The subtlety of his prose, the limpid tone, all while describing moments of heartbreak, is utterly lost in this collection of short stories. It's like a plumber picking up an electricians toolbox.

The plots of the stories do not matter, a thematic approach will serve Nocturnes. The overriding theme seems to
Seth T.
Nov 12, 2009 Seth T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never know how to review collections of short stories.

It would be one thing if stories in a given collection were monolithic in terms of tone and quality. This, of course, is never the case. And is, by extension, not the case with Kazuo Ishiguro's collection of five stories, Nocturne. Three of these shorts I loved, one I liked a lot, and the other is of the variety where I'd be tempted to say, Let's just be friends, and then gradually distance myself until we were more acquaintances than anyt
Jun 08, 2009 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times while reading this, though I always enjoyed the prose, I wasn't sure where Ish was going and/or what he was doing, but I knew I could trust him. And, sure enough, I was rewarded. Though these are five separate stories (with a recurring character and a recurring place, each happening twice), the stories definitely belong together.

Two of the stories are very funny to the point of ridiculousness (not a complaint, but something I don't think I've seen from him before) and, while the humor
Sep 25, 2011 Alta added it
Nocturnes is the first book by Kazuo Ishiguro I’ve ever read. I often avoid reading books by famous contemporary authors because they are usually overrated, and I prefer to give my time to underappreciated writers. But Ishiguro was a nice surprise. I read this collection of five short stories in a day—which is very unlike me. The stories have a false simplicity, that is, they are written in an unassuming style, and are all related to music in some way (it is clear that the author is not only a l ...more
چون راجع به موسیقی بود و لوکیشن بیشترش ایتالیا بود بهم حسخوبی میدادواولین کتابیبود از یه نویسنده ی شرقیتونستم باهاش ارتباط برقرار کنم، سرگرمی جالبی بود
Nancy (NE)
Aug 13, 2014 Nancy (NE) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This collection will most likely not have the import for someone who is not a musician. It seems like five trivial stories on the surface. But there is an emotional undercurrent not everyone would recognize. Ishiguro exposed so many issues fundamental to any artist. For a musician, there is an intimate relationship with their art - impossible to express fully without a deep connection to who you are as a person. You give yourself away, lay yourself bare in every performance. It is a shared relat ...more
Quân Khuê
dịu dàng quá, dịu dàng không chịu nổi:) thuộc thể loại gái sẽ thích:)
Jul 20, 2015 Sheri rated it it was amazing
I think this review could be as simple as 14 words: "This is the first short story compilation that I have ever rated 5 stars." Done. No more is necessary. I suppose, if I really wanted I could add: "Just read it".

Instead, I shall elaborate slightly on why I broke my own rule that the best short stories can achieve is 4 stars.

Ishiguro is amazing. His choice of words is spot on; he provides adequate description to give a vivid picture and manages to never give me the feeling that he is spluging
Jan 26, 2012 Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
09-01-2011- I finished the five stories and I liked them all. Some are more rounded than others (for example; come rain or come shine ends abruptly whereas Nocturne has a very defined ending) I liked the way the author mentioned and analized music in a way that made me feel it without even listening to the actual songs. And some of the stories are really hilarious (Crooner; Marven Hills) I lauged a lot with the different funny scenes. In sum; very entertaining and another evidence of the big tal ...more
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Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄) is a British novelist of Japanese origin. His family moved 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. He now lives in London.

His first novel, A Pale View of Hills won the 1982 Winifred Holtby
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