I must confess. Though it’s an internationally acclaimed writer, I have just recently discovered Kazuo Ishiguro’s books.
I had bought one during my last trip to London in October, at Gatwick Airport while waiting to embark on the plane taking me back home. I love buying books while travelling, whether at local bookshops (better if with a peculiar charm) or at the airport. They are my personal souvenirs, and when I read them not only I am captured by the story but they also make me remember that particular trip, with all its memories and feelings.
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is the book that made me discover Ishiguro, and the first one I read in 2012. I wanted to start the new year with one that brought good and funny memories to my mind, one recalling me the importance of solid and honest friendships and of our passions.
Specifically, Nocturnes is a collection of five short stories, each one about music, love and the passing of time. At times melancholic and heartbreaking, at times fun and witty, this quintet is only apparently simple to read. Each story deals with the intimate struggles the characters are facing: getting older, holding on youthful hope and dreams, keeping alive a sense of life’s romance. All of them are experiencing a moment of reckoning, almost a moment of being, and find themselves at some crucial point in their lives.
The writing is superb. Simple yet delicately intimate and precise. Ishiguro’s writing somewhat recalled me Flaubert’s, with its precision and attention to details, yet never diverting from the very essence of the story. It harmoniously digs down into the human soul, and the stories quietly speak to you, but they resonate in your heart long after the book is back on your library shelf.
When Lindy was about to go, I said: ‘I love you,’ in that fast, routine way you say it at the end of a call with a spouse. There was a silence of a few seconds, then she said it back, in the same routine way. Then she was gone. God knows what that meant. There’s nothing to do now, I guess, but wait for these bandages to come off. And then what? Maybe Lindy’s right. Maybe, like she says, I need some perspective, and life really is much bigger than loving a person. Maybe this really is a turning point for me, and the big league’s waiting. Maybe she’s right.