1948. Japan is rebuilding her cities after the calamity of WWII, her people putting defeat behind them and looking to the future.
The celebrated painter Masuji Ono fills his days attending to his garden, his house repairs, his two grown daughters and his grandson, and his evenings drinking with old associates in quiet lantern-lit bars. His should be a tranquil retirement. But as his memories continually return to the past - to a life and a career deeply touched by the rise of Japanese militarism - a dark shadow begins to grow over his serenity.
©1986 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2014 Canongate Books in partnership with Faber & Faber Ltd
Although Artist of the Floating World is not as plot-driven as most books, I thoroughly enjoyed its atmosphere and prose.
Unfortunately the narrator was a let down. There was strange inflection and inconsistent pronunciation of Japanese names/honorifics.
At times the narrator's voice became unexpectedly hoarse, which was also unpleasant.
"Let down by narrator"
The story is absorbing and thought-provoking; it's typical Ishiguro. However, the narrator inflects at random points and it sounds like he's asking a question at the end of most declarative sentences and it's really beginning to grate.
"An effort but worth it."
In contrast to his other books this was hard work -maybe because of the culture and location not familiar to me, but the subtle vulnerability of a proud man - out of date and just realising his loss of power - was so delicately and beautifully demonstrated. I didn't really enjoy the narrator's querulous voice, but perhaps it was appropriate for the character.
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