Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a collection of short stories with music as a major theme running throughout. Each story features musicians who are unable to reach their full potential due to life’s niggling obstacles like looks, money or relationships and yet it is also music which sparks the friendships formed in each of the stories.

Each of the stories reads like a snapshot of a bigger picture and there is even a reoccurring character who appears in two of the stories. The other reoccurring themes within the stories are relationships at breaking point and the unease of fame.

The book therefore benefits from being read as you would a novel rather than dipping in and out as you might with traditional short stories. I did fill a little unfulfilled however and I would have liked to have seen a couple of the stories expanded a lot more. They were very well written in a similar dreamy style to Never Let Me Go but I'm not sure this style suited the short story format as much as the novel one.

Would I recommend this? Perhaps people who are more experienced with short stories would be able to comment on this one better but I preferred this authors novel.

Verdict 3/5

Posted by Jess


  1. I wasn't a big fan of this book either, but then I'm not really into short stories either.

    I've just finished Never Le Me Go and loved it. I agree - his novels are far better!

  2. I'm kind of leery about Ishiguro. I loved Never Let Me Go but hated The Unconsoled.

  3. You aren't wrong, his novels are better. I read Nocturnes awhile ago and was a bit 'meh' about it.

  4. "The Remains of the Day" is one of my all-time favorite novels. I have never gotten around to "Never Let Me Go" but I probably should. I am not a fan of short stories at all, so I would probably not enjoy them as much as I would his longer stuff.

  5. I don't read short stories all that often and since I haven't read anything by Ishiguro yet I think I will start with one of his novels. I have to admit though that a book that has music as a major theme always sounds fascinating to me.

  6. Jackie - I think because Im not really im short stories meant I was never going to love this as much as his novel. They were well written but I prefered the novel I guess.

    Amanda - I havent heard of The Unconsoled, the only other book I have of his is A Pale View of the Hills which is also meant to be one of his best.

    Clover - yeah I was, I didnt dislike them but I could have done without reading them.

    SocrMom78 - I keep meaning to read Remains of the Day as I loved the film. You must read Never Let me Go though.

    irisonbooks - I think one of his other novels may have music as a theme (I think its set in Venice)

  7. I feel Meh! about his novels, but his greatest aficionados definitely think he is awesome...

    Maybe I am still not getting it yet.