Kazuo Ishiguro

It is that time of year where the Nobel Prizes are being handed out; announcements which are made after a lengthy consultation process. The prize for Literature is normally reserved for the most influential contemporary writers, but after last year’s unprecedented venture into the lyrics of Bob Dylan, there was an open mind over who could possibly be the recipient for 2017.

Step forward Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born English author who has so far been responsible for eight novels, including the famed Remains of the Day; adapted into a film that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1993.

Profile

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki in 1954, but moved to the United Kingdom at an early age before studying English, philosophy, and of course, creative writing at university.

He published his first novel in 1982, entitled A Pale View of Hills, and after receiving widespread critical acclaim on debut, he went on to develop his unique and distinguished literary style during the next decade, culminating in the success of Remains of the Day.

His publishing style is meticulous and methodical, a trait that hasn’t changed throughout his 35-year career. Releasing a collection of short stories becomes a journey of deep thought and deliberation, while all his work must pass the test of being read first by his wife…

In more recent years Ishiguro has continued to create abstract settings, containing characters of various complexity, with his 2005 work Never Let Me Go also adapted for the big screen. His latest novel is 2015’s The Buried Giant.

Why was he awarded the prize?

The Nobel Prize for Literature is usually presented to somebody who has changed the face and future of the field, or written with such deep intelligence or sophistication. Ishiguro has never failed to teach us new ways of communicating through literature, or creating substantial intrigue over the meaning behind his work.

He creates fascinating settings which are never obviously defined. None of of his books are set in contemporary British – or indeed worldwide society, though the Japanese influences are there, especially in his earlier novels.

We see the power of thought running through the enlightening pages of his work, and therein lies the ability to carve the perfect blend of characters and landscapes. His protagonists are somewhat unlikely, yet they are all portrayed with such depth, and the skill of the writing makes them resonate with the reader.

Verdict

There can be no question that Ishiguro is a very worthy winner of this most prestigious prize. He writes thoughtfully, adopting a style and process that is different from any of his peers.

For me, the best writers are those who are not exactly revolutionary, but tell stories in their own idiosyncratic way, displaying worldly intellect and intricate synopses. Ishiguro has more than earned the recognition for doing just that.

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