Jul 26, 11
Read in July, 2011
This is a short book and a quick read, but I think I will be digesting the material in it for some time. It's an enigmatic book, with some open-endedness that makes you wonder what the relationships between the characters really were.
At face value, this is a book about a Japanese woman living in 1980s England reflecting on a few months of time in Nagasaki after the war. There is much here about generation gaps and cultural shifts, but most of this book is about characters who seem to be working very hard to deny what is actually happening around them. Much of the book is dialogue couched in small scenes of sharing tea or walking by a river, but the subtexts of these conversations, the implications of what is being said, run deeper than that.
I really liked Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go", and this book includes some of the elements I liked from that book, including the subtle hints at larger mysteries and the ability to invoke that feeling one gets when the most mundane object or moment means more to you than you realize. However, I enjoyed this book not as much. (This is his first novel, and "Never..." is Ishigro's most recent.)
I confess, as time passes, and I think on this book more, I may give it a higher rating.