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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  10,880 Ratings  ·  1,225 Reviews
From the award-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories that 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 b
Paperback, First Vintage International Edition, 229 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Vintage International (first published 2009)
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Miss Bloom Smith I love the second story which was about the three friends that come to see each others. Emily is my favorite character as much as I adored Raymond.…moreI love the second story which was about the three friends that come to see each others. Emily is my favorite character as much as I adored Raymond. Unfortunately, Charlie is such an annoying person. (less)
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Oct 15, 2010 Esther rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 19, 2016 Pantelis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five apparently easy pieces... The whole is much more than its parts... Ishiguro is a master of subliminal tension...
Jr Bacdayan
Life's disappointments have never been chronicled in a more elegant manner. The stories feel like dreams. You close your eyes and take the journey, but just when you're about to see the summit, suddenly you're jolted awake to reality filled with a sense of disillusionment and regret. Simple, devastating, lingering, it's a pity that some stories pale in comparison to others.
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 04, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Shelves: drama, short-stories
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
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
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 菁华 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.
Apr 24, 2014 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 31, 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
Jun 11, 2014 Cecily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 13, 2017 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
How can a person write in such a relaxed way and yet generate such tension in his stories? I don't mean tension because of action and intrigue, but tension because of emotions and relationships. This is a collection of five short stories and they are told with masterful ease and yet they subliminally build tension, especially Come Rain and Come Shine: I had to read some of this quite quickly because I couldn't bear the tension between the characters. I guess Ishiguro is sort of the master of und ...more
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
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؛

Sep 27, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
ستایش  دشتی
نمیتوانم داستانهایش را دوست داشته باشم. یعنی حتّی داستانی مانند شبانه که خیلی خوب شروع شد و جذبم کرد هم در پایانبندی مرا ناامید برگرداند. به طورِ کلی پایانبندیهایش را اصلاً، اصلاً، اصلاً دوست نداشتم. مترجم در ابتدایِ کتاب گفته است داستانهای ایشیگورو داستانهایی هستند که برایِ فهمیده شدن به زمان و خوانش چندباره نیاز دارند. کمااینکه من به نظرم داستان کوتاه نباید این خصیصه را داشته باشد، داستانها اصلاً برایِ من جذابیتی نداشتند که بخواهم دوباره بخوانمشان. روابط انسانی درگیرکننده است اما فرم و نوشتارِ ...more
Mar 19, 2011 Isabelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.”
Melika Khoshnezhad
داستان هایی روان و شیرین و کوتاه درباره ی جادوی موسیقی بر زندگی آدم های معمولی و موسیقیدان هایی که اندکی با آنچه تصور می کنیم متفاوتند. خواندنش لذتبخش بود. (:
Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain
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
May 21, 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
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
FreshGrads .Sg
Jun 22, 2010 FreshGrads .Sg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 25, 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
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
Quân Khuê
dịu dàng quá, dịu dàng không chịu nổi:) thuộc thể loại gái sẽ thích:)
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
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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 the 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 Ho
More about Kazuo Ishiguro...

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“She might be a great person, but life's so much bigger than just loving someone.” 33 likes
“If I'm alone at home, I get increasingly restless, bothered by the idea that I'm missing some crucial encounter out there somewhere. But if I'm left by myself in someone else's place, I often find myself a nice sense of peace engulfing me. I love sinking into an unfamiliar sofa with whatever book happens to be lying nearby.” 12 likes
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