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Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

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One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in h One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him . . . A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he’s only just met . . . A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career . . . A young cellist whose tutor promises to “unwrap” his talent . . . Passion or necessity—or the often uneasy combination of the two—determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp. An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed works of fiction.


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One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in h One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character. A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life . . . A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him . . . A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he’s only just met . . . A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career . . . A young cellist whose tutor promises to “unwrap” his talent . . . Passion or necessity—or the often uneasy combination of the two—determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp. An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed works of fiction.

45 review for Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    ‘’So a moment like that comes as an unwelcome reminder of how quickly things change. How the bosom pals of today become lost strangers tomorrow, scattered across Europe, playing the Godfather theme or ‘Autumn Leaves’ in squares and cafes you’ll never visit.’’ I believe that most of us have a writer that acts as a comfort. A writer whose work we choose to revisit once we feel that nothing is as it should be. This is a period which has taken a significant toll on me on a number of levels. Kazuo Is ‘’So a moment like that comes as an unwelcome reminder of how quickly things change. How the bosom pals of today become lost strangers tomorrow, scattered across Europe, playing the Godfather theme or ‘Autumn Leaves’ in squares and cafes you’ll never visit.’’ I believe that most of us have a writer that acts as a comfort. A writer whose work we choose to revisit once we feel that nothing is as it should be. This is a period which has taken a significant toll on me on a number of levels. Kazuo Ishiguro and his tender, sensitive, hopeful writing felt like a suitable choice. It goes without saying that this collection is one of my favourite creations by this master of Literature. In five stories, Ishiguro writes about love, loss, uncertainty, change, and music. Music above all. As the beautiful title of this collection reveals, these are stories centered around musicians and the turning point in their lives. The crucial moments in each story take place during evenings filled with memory, sadness and the glimpse of a fragile hope that everything may actually become whole again. In each story, the shaky relationships are witnessed by a ‘’bystander’’ that reflects on love and the human tendency to break apart what we’ve managed to build over the years. Why? Just because we can, apparently… Crooner: In Venice, a musician from a country of the former Iron Curtain meets an American singer. A story of memories, aspirations, and disappointments. Come Rain or Come Shine: A very sympathetic academic is the reluctant witness of his best friends’ desperate fight to tear down their marriage, despite the fact that they are obviously obsessed with each other. A darkly humorous story where CDs may very well be the absolute victims… Malvern Hills: A young, aspiring musician meets a middle-aged couple of professional musicians while working in his sister’s inn. A couple that is obviously miss-matched but united in their love for music in an extremely ‘’picturesque’’ story. Nocturne: An underachieving musician is advised to consider a plastic surgery to become more handsome...And he accepts. He meets a famous woman whose nocturnal escapades in their hotel provide a chance for contemplation and a possible moment of realization regarding fame and vanity. Cellists: A young Hungarian musician meets a beautiful cellist. But nothing is as it seems. This was my favourite story in the collection, its ending almost brought tears to my eyes. Ishiguro’s stories take us to Italy, to England, to Austria, to Eastern Europe with its tremendous musical tradition. Couples are dancing under the summer nightly sky, they explore hotels in the middle of the night, they try to regain confidence in themselves and the others. Some succeed, some fail. Through Ishiguro’s quiet, powerful writing, the characters become our friends, people we care about. Love and music go hand-in-hand. Nightfall is the most suitable chaperone for both. Upon finishing Nocturnes, I felt a little lighter, a little more optimistic… ‘’But for another few minutes at least, we were safe, and we kept dancing under the starlit sky.’’ My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 5 out of 5

    İntellecta

    Ive read the book “Beim Anbruch der Nacht” written by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is based on 5 short stories, which are all about music and musicians. In comparison to his novels you can see a completely different side of the author, but I have to say that his other literature and Romans are on higher level. In this other side, I did not get closer to Ishiguro. His characters seem artificial, even linguistically I found these stories not strong enough. I had read much better of him before. I´ve read the book “Beim Anbruch der Nacht” written by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is based on 5 short stories, which are all about music and musicians. In comparison to his novels you can see a completely different side of the author, but I have to say that his other literature and Romans are on higher level. In this other side, I did not get closer to Ishiguro. His characters seem artificial, even linguistically I found these stories not strong enough. I had read much better of him before.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    The music of the past will always remain in the past. In the future new notes can and will be played. Ishiguro explores the themes of love and loss. In letting go of the past, one can move forward and embrace new things. Getting stuck is detrimental, and sometimes love is forsaken (foolishly?) for the sake of such things. So this collection of stories is deep and, at times, deeply moving. The first few had a haunting like effect. They played on my minds for days, as I imagined what I would do in The music of the past will always remain in the past. In the future new notes can and will be played. Ishiguro explores the themes of love and loss. In letting go of the past, one can move forward and embrace new things. Getting stuck is detrimental, and sometimes love is forsaken (foolishly?) for the sake of such things. So this collection of stories is deep and, at times, deeply moving. The first few had a haunting like effect. They played on my minds for days, as I imagined what I would do in such a situation. Central to each one was a failure or a misjudgement; the relationships break down in each case because of an over concern with image or societal success. Lovers become disenchanted, husbands become inadequate and wives become intolerable. Achievements (or lack thereof) are placed above individuality, character and personal feelings. Music is used to show alternate roads characters could have taken; it triggers memories and feelings often repressed and forgotten. It’s also a way of connecting with people, of a moment in time, the music symbolised a ling held bond as the notes reinforce states that will never die. It’s also a way of life for a musician; it is their passion and their means for survival. By exploring such themes Ishiguro weaves five very individual stories together but some are very forced. For example, the idea of “five stories of music and nightfall” imply a certain atmosphere the stories did not deliver. Granted, some were more successful than others and each was told with an eloquence of expression only masterful prose writers can achieve. That being said though, the themes were pushed to breaking point. Seemingly, it was like the stories were stretched around the ideas behind them rather than the writing being produced with a sense of naturalness. I found this particularly so with “Cellist” and “Nocturnes.” They let the collection down. Personally, I don’t feel like this is much of a collection. The stories don’t work together despite crossovers in characters on a couple of occasions. This book could have been great, but the writing shies just short of such a thing. Ishiguro can, and has, done much better in the past.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    I have a problem with Kazuo Ishiguro. And my problem with Nocturnes is the same one I had with his last novel, Never Let Me Go: I can't figure out why I didn't like it more. Despite his deceivingly simple prose I am very aware of his tremendous skill. I find many of his themes fascinating. I am sufficiently interested in his characters to keep on reading. I admire his resistance against easy resolutions or explicative characterizations. I marvel at his ability to create moments that are truly fu I have a problem with Kazuo Ishiguro. And my problem with Nocturnes is the same one I had with his last novel, Never Let Me Go: I can't figure out why I didn't like it more. Despite his deceivingly simple prose I am very aware of his tremendous skill. I find many of his themes fascinating. I am sufficiently interested in his characters to keep on reading. I admire his resistance against easy resolutions or explicative characterizations. I marvel at his ability to create moments that are truly funny or touching or absurd without overplaying those moments. But his words don't bubble in my brain days after I've consumed them. The people in his stories seem like interesting strangers who pique my curiosity only for the length of time that they are in front of me. I don't doubt their authenticity as real people but I don't necessarily want to form long-term relationships with them. Something seems to keep me from fully connecting. One of his favorite themes seems to be denial. The way we deny our own mortality, the realities of the life we lead, the disconnect between our own grand perception of ourselves and our lowly stations in the eyes of the world. Fascinating stuff, I think, and aptly realized in these stories yet at the conclusion of each I invariably think, "so what?" Perhaps the problem is that he raises questions but refuses to provide answers, or even the slightest inclination of a hint. Perhaps the problem is that denial and impotence are so omnipresent in the worlds he creates. When every single character seems to be living an unfulfilled life it's hard to sympathize with any one. Perhaps the only way I can appreciate Ishiguro is to take his ideas outside of the world of his stories, to leave behind the stories altogether, and consider them in another way that is meaningful to me. But to do that would contradict my belief in what stories, and fiction writers, should do. Like I said, it's my problem.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    Life's disappointments have never been chronicled in a more elegant manner. The stories feel like dreams. You close your eyes and take the journey, but just when you're about to see the summit, suddenly you're jolted awake to reality filled with a sense of disillusionment and regret. Simple, devastating, lingering, it's a pity that some stories pale in comparison to others.

  6. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    A nocturne is a “composition of a dreamy character, expressive of sentiment appropriate to evening or night”. Traditionally such nocturnal sentiments include regret, chagrin, melancholy, perhaps a dash of ennui – the pastel twilight tones at the lighter end of the spectrum that darken to gloom, rage and black despair. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is the first collection of short stories by the Japanese-English novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro. As the subtitle indicates, it is composed A nocturne is a “composition of a dreamy character, expressive of sentiment appropriate to evening or night”. Traditionally such nocturnal sentiments include regret, chagrin, melancholy, perhaps a dash of ennui – the pastel twilight tones at the lighter end of the spectrum that darken to gloom, rage and black despair. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is the first collection of short stories by the Japanese-English novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro. As the subtitle indicates, it is composed of 5 "immaculate" (prose-wise) stories whose common denominators are music (what it promises to the characters) and nightfall (the regrets, the failures, the unrealized potentials, the possibilities at the midlife or at the crossroads of its characters' lives). This is my 3rd book by Kazuo Ishiguro and I agree with one of my Goodreads friends that he indeed is one of the authors who do not re-write themselves. Remains of the Day is about an aging butler and his reflection in his twilight years while Never Let Me Go is about three young kids who were raised solely to be organ donors. The 5 short stories here are all about musicians, their lives and their struggles to stay afloat (Story#1: "Crooner"), how to spend time waiting for a big break (Story#2 : "Come Rain or Shine"), how a young musician can relate to old aging ones (Story#3: "Malvern Hills"), how physical appearance is seen as ticket to hit it big in the music industry (Story#4: "Nocturne"), or how to get the right coach or the better way of coaching (Story#5: "Cellist"). They have common denominators and some even share a character or two, e.g., the guitarist in Story#1 reappears in Story#5. The aging but still beautiful woman about to get divorced by his crooner-husband in Story#1 also appears as a cosmetic surgery patient in Story#4. I enjoyed reading this book because of Ishiguro's style of presenting his short stories. He aptly calls this collection as story cycle. Unlike Murakami, he just did not collate all his stories from his dreams, released them in one book and call the whole book by one of the titles in the collection. In Nocturnes, the stories seem to be part of an astoundingly pleasing orchestra piece with each story beautifully complementing the totality of the masterpiece by forming five distinct variations in tunes. Stories #2 and #4 are funny and playful. Story#1 is downright sad and gloomy. Story#3 is open-ended (with the end note in high pitch floating in the air) while Story#5 recaps the 4 by having more musician-characters as if providing the climax and conclusion to the piece. Just like Remains of the Day and to a lesser extend, Never Let Me Go, this book will not elicit a strong emotion from its reader. You will not feel downright sad or happy. You will not laugh out load, cry a tear or even smile. You will not need to fold a page to remember where that beautiful quote is. However, after reading the book, Ishiguro will make you reflect in your own life and will make you ask yourself questions like where your present life is heading or how to achieve your dreams. Despite having crossed the midpoint, is there still a dream worth pursuing? Is there still a chance for you to peak? That is if you haven't reached your peak? It is this subtlety that I appreciate in his writing. He neither states the obvious nor preaches. He will make you think of life's deeper meanings without going philosophical or peppering his book with profound quotes. Reading him in this book is like sipping a warm well-blended coffee in a fine easy Sunday morning while sitting in a cold plaza or in your front porch. With the cold December air, this book is a right read during this holiday season especially with the New Year soon unfolding. Makes you think of your first step for 2011.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    I’ve always associated the word Nocturne with sadness, sublime sadness, deeply felt sadness, but sadness, none the less. I think that Kazuo Ishiguro may share this feeling, even though, given that the term Nocturne when it started out simply meant a piece of music in several movements played by an ensemble at an evening party and that several of these stories revolve around ensembles playing music in the evenings, he may intend a simpler meaning. But I don’t think so. A character in one of the st I’ve always associated the word Nocturne with sadness, sublime sadness, deeply felt sadness, but sadness, none the less. I think that Kazuo Ishiguro may share this feeling, even though, given that the term Nocturne when it started out simply meant a piece of music in several movements played by an ensemble at an evening party and that several of these stories revolve around ensembles playing music in the evenings, he may intend a simpler meaning. But I don’t think so. A character in one of the stories says: “We were especially pleased when we found a recording - like Ray Charles singing ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ - where the words themselves were happy, but the interpretation was pure heartbreak.” In these stories, as if in a deliberate reversal of this statement, the interpretation is lyrical, harmonius, light of touch, but the the meaning buried behind the words is pure heartbreak. I'm gonna love you, Like nobody's loved you, Come rain or come shine. Happy together, Unhappy together, And won't it be fine? Days may be cloudy or sunny. We're in or we're out of money. But I'm with you always. I'm with you rain or shine.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Wow! That first short story was fantastic! Too bad the rest of this story-cycle collection of five didn't maintain that same high standard in my first foray in reading Kazuo Ishiguro's work. In case you're interested, here is Wikipedia's synopsis of each story: "Crooner" - Set in Venice, a fading American singer co-opts a Polish cafe musician into accompanying him while he serenades his wife (whose relationship is disintegrating) from a gondola. "Come Rain or Come Shine" - In London, an expatriate Wow! That first short story was fantastic! Too bad the rest of this story-cycle collection of five didn't maintain that same high standard in my first foray in reading Kazuo Ishiguro's work. In case you're interested, here is Wikipedia's synopsis of each story: "Crooner" - Set in Venice, a fading American singer co-opts a Polish cafe musician into accompanying him while he serenades his wife (whose relationship is disintegrating) from a gondola. "Come Rain or Come Shine" - In London, an expatriate EFL teacher is invited to the home of a couple whom he knew whilst at university. However the couple's tensions affect the visitor, leading to a rather awkward situation. "Malvern Hills" - A young guitarist flees London and lack of success in the rock world to the Malvern countryside cafe owned by his sister and brother-in-law. Whilst there he encounters Swiss tourists whose behavior causes him to reflect on his own situation. "Nocturne" - A saxophonist recuperating after plastic surgery at a Beverly Hills hotel becomes involved with a wealthy American woman (the now ex-wife of the crooner in the first story) and ends up in a rather bizarre confrontation on stage of the hotel (involving an award statuette and a cooked turkey). "Cellists" - A Hungarian cellist falls under the spell of a fellow cellist, an apparently virtuosic American older woman, who tutors him. He later realizes that she cannot play the cello as she was so convinced of her own musical genius, no teacher ever seemed equal to it, and so rather than tarnish her gift with imperfection, she chose never to realize it at all. I LOVED "Crooner"! It was clear from the start that Ishiguro excels at setting a scene and quickly building fairly full-formed characters, at least as full as is needed for a short. He handles mood like it's putty in the hands of an accomplished sculptor. Some reviewer for a UK paper, I think it was The Guardian or something, said "Nocturne" was the funniest story. What the heck was this person thinking? "Nocturne" had a brief moment of humor, but it was otherwise long and lame. "Come Rain or Come Shine" was the one I found funniest. Its main character is like someone Ricky Gervias would've created and is almost as put-upon as Bertie Wooster. In fact, this particular story is very Wodehousian and quintessentially British in its dry humor. "Malvern Hills" and "Cellists" are pretty enough in their imagery and sadness, but they don't quite come up to the mark of "Crooner". All in all, this wasn't the best introduction to a new writer for this particular reader, but its quantity of quality was enough for me to seek out another book by Kazuo Ishiguro for a second chance. Starting out as great as it did, after the story story I was ready to give Nocturnes 5 stars. Reading a couple more, I felt like this was a solid 4 stars. Struggling through the forth story dropped the overall score down to 3. Finishing off the book with a story that struggled to keep my attention didn't improve my opinion enough to raise it up to 4, so I'll call it 3.5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    I think if you look at my ratings on Goodreads you'll see that I'm much more sympathetic to short story collections. A good short story collection often shows an author's commitment to craft. You can see how much care the author takes with every word, you can get a sense of his or her range when dealing with subject matter and characters. You can get a sense of how their style carries from one kind of story to another. There is another reason -- there is very little money in short stories, even f I think if you look at my ratings on Goodreads you'll see that I'm much more sympathetic to short story collections. A good short story collection often shows an author's commitment to craft. You can see how much care the author takes with every word, you can get a sense of his or her range when dealing with subject matter and characters. You can get a sense of how their style carries from one kind of story to another. There is another reason -- there is very little money in short stories, even for established writers. Thus, writers write short stories "for the love of the game". For the most part, the stories in this collection share a kind of tonal consistency. Each story tells a tale of disappointment, subtle loss, memory, and the way we look foolish in pursuit of a dream. All the stories share musical elements and songs. Various songs and melodies tie these stories together. But this short story collection could also have been about the travails of writers and writing. The story "Come Rain or Come Shine" stuck out for me as a bit awkward. It wasn't poorly written. It featured compelling characters and fantastic dialogue. However, because the short story takes place in a single space and is mostly dialogue, I felt that the story would have been better as a one-act play. (In some ways, it reminded me of the low-budget, but clever movie "Tape" with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman). The story also features an absurd scene that doesn't quite work prose fiction but might have seemed less absurd and entertaining as a piece of theater physical comedy. You'll know the scene as soon as you read it. There are some compelling reasons to stay away from these stories. One -- the emotional journies in these stories are subtle. There is rising action and things do happen, but by the end of the story, you often get the impression that the things that were left unsaid and that didn't happen were just as important. As a writer, I love these stories. I also appreciate how hard they are to pull off. Also -- the endings are not traditional endings. They may even feel like non-endings to some readers. If you are a writer, there is also a compelling reason to read this book. A close reading of these stories will help you master your craft. In particular, these stories will help you master the craft of dialogue, character, and how to use compelling details. Happy readings!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, Kazuo Ishiguro Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a 2009 collection of short fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro. After six novels, it is Ishiguro first collection of short stories, though described by the publisher as a "story cycle". As the subtitle suggests, each of the five stories focuses on music and musicians, and the close of day. The hardback was published by Faber and Faber in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2009 and in the United States Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, Kazuo Ishiguro Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall is a 2009 collection of short fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro. After six novels, it is Ishiguro first collection of short stories, though described by the publisher as a "story cycle". As the subtitle suggests, each of the five stories focuses on music and musicians, and the close of day. The hardback was published by Faber and Faber in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2009 and in the United States by Knopf in September 2009. Five stories: "Crooner"; "Come Rain or Come Shine"; "Malvern Hills"; "Nocturne"; and "Cellists". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و نهم ماه نوامبر سال 2011 میلادی عنوان: شبانه ها: پنج داستان درباره موسیقی و شعر؛ کازوئو ایشی گورو؛ مترجم: خجسته کیهان؛ تهران، کتاب پارسه، 1389؛ در 198 ص؛ شابک: 9786005733068؛ مترجم: علیرضا کیوانی نژاد؛ تهران، چشمه، 1389؛ در 223 ص؛ شابک: 9789643627331؛ داستانهای: آوازخوان؛ چه بارانی باشد چه آفتابی؛ شبانه؛ نوازندگان ویلون سل؛ تپه های مالورن؛ ا. شربیانی

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Τόσο όμορφα και λυρικά διηγήματα που διαβάζονται μονορούφι - άσχετο αν εμένα λόγω εργασίας με πήρε κοντά 20 ημέρες. Ιστορίες μουσικής και νύχτας, ο, τι πιο όμορφο για να διαβάσεις με κατάλληλη ατμόσφαιρα! Ιστορίες νοσταλγίας, με επίκεντρο τον άνθρωπο που προσπαθεί να μείνει αναλλοίωτος μέσα από τη μουσική του, να βρει αυτό το μοναδικό κίνητρο της ζωής, να βρει τον εαυτό του. Πρώτη επαφή με τον Ισιγκουρο και σίγουρα θα υπάρξουν κι άλλες συναντήσεις!

  12. 5 out of 5

    amapola

    …and I slip just like the stars into obscurity Cinque racconti che parlano di amori patetici o al capolinea, di amicizie fugaci o durature, di musica o di passione per la musica, del crepuscolo quando si trasforma in notte. Un po’ grotteschi, un po’ malinconici, un po’ ironici (con punte di comicità vera e propria). Racconti dal finale aperto (quattro su cinque), che Ishiguro lascia all’immaginazione del lettore. Non sarà un libro imprescindibile, ma la delicatezza e la sensibilità (la grazia) del …and I slip just like the stars into obscurity Cinque racconti che parlano di amori patetici o al capolinea, di amicizie fugaci o durature, di musica o di passione per la musica, del crepuscolo quando si trasforma in notte. Un po’ grotteschi, un po’ malinconici, un po’ ironici (con punte di comicità vera e propria). Racconti dal finale aperto (quattro su cinque), che Ishiguro lascia all’immaginazione del lettore. Non sarà un libro imprescindibile, ma la delicatezza e la sensibilità (la grazia) della prosa di Ishiguro mi coinvolgono, di nuovo. Un libro dalle atmosfere lunari. E la musica di un pianoforte che proviene da un’altra stanza. https://youtu.be/TKQaSZXEK2s

  13. 5 out of 5

    菁华

    This was the first I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I remember thinking "how did this guy win a Booker?" but then I read The Remains of the Day immediately thereafter, which I loved. But I found this collection of short stories very weak -- there's a couple of good scenes and clever ideas but by and large it's readable but really quite ordinary. My main gripe would be that all the stories are too similar. As well as the motifs of music and nightfall flagged by the title, there's several common theme This was the first I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I remember thinking "how did this guy win a Booker?" but then I read The Remains of the Day immediately thereafter, which I loved. But I found this collection of short stories very weak -- there's a couple of good scenes and clever ideas but by and large it's readable but really quite ordinary. My main gripe would be that all the stories are too similar. As well as the motifs of music and nightfall flagged by the title, there's several common themes -- yearning, romance, loss -- and a couple of recurring characters. In fact at least a few of the (non-recurring) characters are so underdeveloped that they're distinguished primarily by their positioning, so it feels almost like it could be the same character, some years older and moved to a different location, put in a different situation. Emotionally I felt like all the stories were pushing the same buttons and not so successfully at that. The tone was muted in a way that I often enjoy in a longer work but the character or plot development wasn't there either -- resulting in a series of sketches that come across as limp and lifeless. So yes, this really fell flat for me. I feel sure I've read better collections of short stories that deal with similar themes, but I can't bring them to mind. I know I've heard a lot of songs that say more about music and nightfall in three minutes than this book does in five stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    I quite enjoyed this small selection of stories. I'd read a lot of bad reviews for this collection but I really can't fault it that much. Of course this isn't Carver or Shirley Jackson but I think all of these stories are perfectly good. If you enjoy slow, atmospheric stories in which nothing much happens then you'll like this collection.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Murat S. Dural

    2017 Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü sahibi Kazuo Ishiguro'nun Yapı Kredi Yayınları'ndan çıkan, Zeynep Erkut'un çevirdiği, yazarın en önemli kitaplarından "Noktürnler; Müziğe ve Günbatımına Dair Öyküler" adından da anlaşılacağı üzere gerçek zamanlı, sokak müzisyenlerine, onların dünyasına dair samimi beş öykü barındırıyor. Kitaba ismini veren "Noktürnler" ve "Aşk Şarkıcısı" öykülerini özellikle beğendim. Uslubu ve kelime, cümle seçimleri son derece aylın. bu bir anlamda anlatıyı gerçekten hikayeyi anlatan 2017 Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü sahibi Kazuo Ishiguro'nun Yapı Kredi Yayınları'ndan çıkan, Zeynep Erkut'un çevirdiği, yazarın en önemli kitaplarından "Noktürnler; Müziğe ve Günbatımına Dair Öyküler" adından da anlaşılacağı üzere gerçek zamanlı, sokak müzisyenlerine, onların dünyasına dair samimi beş öykü barındırıyor. Kitaba ismini veren "Noktürnler" ve "Aşk Şarkıcısı" öykülerini özellikle beğendim. Uslubu ve kelime, cümle seçimleri son derece aylın. bu bir anlamda anlatıyı gerçekten hikayeyi anlatan kişiden dinliyormuş etkisi, gerçekçilik veriyor esere. İtirafta bulunmam gerekirse Nobel Ödülü'nden önce yazarı hiç okumamıştım. Beklediğim gibi çıkmadı ama anlatısı, ritmi, sesi ile özgün bir yeri olduğu net.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    Let’s start with the obvious, I love this guy’s writing. I mean, he could write a book about the problems associated with the Estonian public transport system as a legacy of Soviet era planning and I think it is just possible I would still be utterly enthralled. I’m saying this because it is pretty important you understand that this isn’t really going to be an ‘objective’ review – whatever that might mean. This one was nothing like any of the other books of his I have read. That might seem fairly Let’s start with the obvious, I love this guy’s writing. I mean, he could write a book about the problems associated with the Estonian public transport system as a legacy of Soviet era planning and I think it is just possible I would still be utterly enthralled. I’m saying this because it is pretty important you understand that this isn’t really going to be an ‘objective’ review – whatever that might mean. This one was nothing like any of the other books of his I have read. That might seem fairly obvious given this is a book of short stories and the others were all novels, but I mean even for a guy who tends to mix up his style of writing, these were still a bit of a surprise. I’m reading some Bourdieu at the moment, his Distinction, and he is talking about how music is one of those things that really distinguishes between social classes. He says this is partly the case because music is so difficult to talk about. Even when you know lots about music, after you have talked about technique you are often left with adjectives and little else. Roland Barthes says much the same thing. But one of the things that certainly distinguishes social classes when it comes to music is that the further up the ladder you go, the more likely you are to have played a musical instrument and therefore the more likely you are to have had a kind of intimate relationship with music that others who have never played a musical instrument are unlikely to have had. There is a story in this collection that puts this idea to the test, but clearly, how characters relate to music is one of the driving ideas of this book. There are unexpected links in these stories. Sometimes it is the music, sometimes a setting, sometimes a character will reappear, or rather be seen afresh. I kept thinking during this that a lesser writer might have overdone this. The other thing is that none of these stories really resolve – at least, not in that satisfying way that lets you close a book and feel all the pieces of the story have fallen into place. It is also true that very many of the characters here are not at all ‘nice’. This is particularly true of a couple of the narrators who are really annoying, (part of the reason this is getting four stars) almost exactly the sorts of people that you would run a mile from rather than talk to. It is a rare author who can put you in the head of such a character and not have you pack in the story half way through. I never wanted to stop reading, but still, I didn't enjoy being in some of these characters' heads. Some of the most interesting characters here are women – but interestingly, we invariably get to see these women through the eyes of a male narrator. Often this narrator is a couple of degrees of separation away from the actual woman we are interested in. A useful question to ask when you are reading fiction is ‘how could they know that?’ – I think that question is particularly useful in reading these stories. All the same, it is interesting to notice how often in these stories women are expected to give up virtually everything to help the man in their life achieve what they were setting out to achieve. Even when the women barely know the man and is insulted by him, there is still an expectation she will 'come good' for him and help him succeed. This book could have been called, “The women behind the men.” There is barely a male in the book that is not, in one way or another, dependant on a woman to achieve some form of success, at least in theory. And success is the other big theme here. It is funny how we associate music with success. Like The Beatles or Glenn Gould or Gershwin, to be a musical success, a ‘rock star’, is to have achieved the ultimate in success. This is a book that constantly asks us to reflect on just what success is, how is it measured and who gets to decide if we are successful or not – often quite literally – although sometimes more figuratively. Music, it seems, is rarely just about music, often it is about resentment too. I want to end by saying something about what I particularly like about short stories. It is that very often in short stories there is a kind of doubling. There will be a woman who has been slapped by her husband, say (this doesn’t happen in any of these stories, this isn’t a spoiler in the traditional sense) and it will mean something at the time. Then later there will be another slap. She might slap her own child, she might see someone slap their own knee, she might slap her husband back, but however it happens there will need to be a second slap and it can’t mean the same thing as the first slap, but rather it will make new sense of the first slap. The second slap will change the meaning of the first slap in some way. I think we have been trained to look for these doubles – stories by people like O’Henry often overdo these so that there is a kind of inevitability to what is coming next that makes you cringe in anticipation. Well, a couple of times during this I had the horrible feeling that it was obvious how things were about to turn out. There was an inversion that would be just too neat and just too pat. Fortunately, none of these were ever actually realised. These aren’t the greatest short stories ever written, but they are good and, as I said at the start, this guy can write and he does, quite beautifully.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emer

    A beautiful collection of short stories that have whetted my appetite for reading more of Kazuo Ishiguro's writing in 2018. I found the writing to be quietly melancholic, disarmingly beautiful and perfectly bittersweet. I loved how in many of the stories the concepts of what both falling in love and staying in love truly meant were explored. My favourite story was "Crooner" but I very much enjoyed them all and was moved by each in different ways. As music is so integral to these stories, instead A beautiful collection of short stories that have whetted my appetite for reading more of Kazuo Ishiguro's writing in 2018. I found the writing to be quietly melancholic, disarmingly beautiful and perfectly bittersweet. I loved how in many of the stories the concepts of what both falling in love and staying in love truly meant were explored. My favourite story was "Crooner" but I very much enjoyed them all and was moved by each in different ways. As music is so integral to these stories, instead of writing a review for each one I wish to share links to pieces of music that I listened to while reading these beautiful shorts. Some were directly referenced within the pages of the book and others are ones that I personally love. Crooner Chet Baker: I Fall in Love Too Easily Come Rain or Come Shine Sarah Vaughan ft Hal Mooney & His Orchestra - It Never Entered My Mind Malvern Hills Sounds from Thursday afternoon Nocturne Sax and Piano Jazz Duo - 'The Nearness of You' Cellists Rachmaninov: Cello Sonata 3rd movement performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax four stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    I'm not a big fan of short stories, but read these because after the emotion and length of Perdido Street Station, I wanted a total change, and I'd been meaning to try another Ishiguro (I enjoyed Remains of the Day in my twenties, but more recently, gave Never Let me Go only 2*) They were certainly a contrast, and they were perfectly competent, and had a connecting theme (music), but... That is all. I won't be rushing to read any more Ishiguro. 2.5* rounded down to 2*, because Ishiguro is supposed I'm not a big fan of short stories, but read these because after the emotion and length of Perdido Street Station, I wanted a total change, and I'd been meaning to try another Ishiguro (I enjoyed Remains of the Day in my twenties, but more recently, gave Never Let me Go only 2*) They were certainly a contrast, and they were perfectly competent, and had a connecting theme (music), but... That is all. I won't be rushing to read any more Ishiguro. 2.5* rounded down to 2*, because Ishiguro is supposed to be better than this. AS A COLLECTION All five stories have music as the link between main characters, and in four of them, the main character is a musician. In the fifth, it's shared musical tastes that are the bond. There is a certain sadness about the central relationship in each story, and several characters make extreme or odd sacrifices for their careers ((view spoiler)[divorcing when they want to be together, plastic surgery, avoiding tuition lest it spoil the innate talent (hide spoiler)] ). Two have sections of borderline slapstick comedy, two are set in Piazza San Marco in Venice with the same narrator (though only one of the stories is about him), two feature the same secondary character. All are told in the first person (though in the final one, the narrator is actually telling the story of an acquaintance, so the first person aspect is more of a gimmick, presumably to link the first and last stories). Reading short stories in quick succession can be a little disorienting, but it's even more so when "I" keeps changing, but the characters' voices are not distinctively different. Then, in the fourth story, we meet a character from the first - but told by a different narrator! David Mitchell does this sort of thing better, in both Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas. Reviewers more musical than I am, have seen this collection as being like the sweep of an orchestral piece, with variations and recaps, along with the new. CROONER Janeck is a guitarist, who is a ringer for café bands in Piazza San Marco: "A tourist strolling across the square will hear one tune fade out, another fade in, like he's shifting the dial on a radio." He spots a once-famous US crooner, Tony Gardener, and his rather grumpy wife, Lindy. Tony persuades Jan to accompany him to serenade his wife from a gondola. The reason for this is not what one might expect ((view spoiler)[it's their last holiday before they divorce, so he can make a come-back (hide spoiler)] ). COME RAIN OR COME SHINE A sad comedy of university friends, about twenty five years later. Ray and Emily bonded over shared taste in music, but she married Charlie, though all three stayed friends. Ray is single and teaches English overseas but regularly goes to stay with Emily and Charlie in their plush London duplex. On this occasion, Ray finds "his" room unkempt, Charlie highly strung, and Emily discontented. Charlie had invited Ray to keep Emily company while he goes away on business for a couple of days, and also to persuade her not to leave him ((view spoiler)[because in comparison to Ray, Charlie will seem more successful (hide spoiler)] ). It then turns into farce, as one small mistake snowballs into a catalogue of ever more far-fetched episodes. MALVERN HILLS A singer-songwriter (guitarist) goes to stay with his sister and her husband for the summer, so he can write in between helping them in their café and living rent-free. They are not really fans of his music. An Elgar-loving Swiss couple come to the café (also musicians), but there is tension between them, and she dislikes the slow service: "this woman was livid with anger. Not the sort that suddenly hits you then drains away. No, this woman, I could tell, had been in a kind of white heat for some time... It's the sort of anger that arrives and stays put... never quite peaking and refusing to find a proper outlet." This triggers what is potentially the funniest incident ((view spoiler)[sending them to the worst hotel in the town (hide spoiler)] ), but it happens off-stage. NOCTURNE A supposedly talented, but not very successful tenor sax player is persuaded his lack of success is because of his looks: "Billy's... sexy, bad-guy ugly. You... well, you're dull, loser ugly. The wrong kind of ugly." Recuperating from plastic surgery in a secret wing of a hotel, he comes to know the ex-wife of a more successful musician. Her route to the top was "The right love affair, the right marriage, the right divorces. All leading to the right magazine covers, the right talk shows." The sort of woman he rather despises. It's an odd meeting: "She was wearing something that was part night-gown, part cocktail dress... it was at the same time vaguely medical yet glamorous". Both are swathed in facial bandages, so she has no idea what he looks like, and neither can see each other's expressions. Boredom and bonding over music creates a friendship of a kind, leading to farcical escapades in private areas of the hotel at night, evading security and (view spoiler)[stealing and hiding something (hide spoiler)] . CELLISTS A café saxophonist in Piazza San Marco spots a former colleague and tells what happened to him a few years earlier: he's a Hungarian classically-trained cellist, and he was taken under the wings of an older American woman. This virtuoso cellist recognised his talent and gave him personal master classes. There is a bit of a twist, though not the one you expect ((view spoiler)[she is a "virtuoso" in theory - she can't actually play because she had to protect her gift from being destroyed by well-intentioned but inadequate teachers (hide spoiler)] . I thought this was the weakest story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    I'm drunk. Not going to try and pretend like I'm not. If you'd like to be drunk, too, I suggest buying a six pack of NOT YOUR FATHER'S ROOT BEER. Cheers. On to the review. I was impressed two times out of five with this collection. The first and third stories are damn good. Good enough that I want to try one of this guy's novels. The first story, "Crooner", was, by far, my favorite. Ishiguro put me in Venice, and I enjoyed my trip. The third story, "Malvern Hills", was another exceptional piece. I'm drunk. Not going to try and pretend like I'm not. If you'd like to be drunk, too, I suggest buying a six pack of NOT YOUR FATHER'S ROOT BEER. Cheers. On to the review. I was impressed two times out of five with this collection. The first and third stories are damn good. Good enough that I want to try one of this guy's novels. The first story, "Crooner", was, by far, my favorite. Ishiguro put me in Venice, and I enjoyed my trip. The third story, "Malvern Hills", was another exceptional piece. If joy and sadness had a baby, Malvern Hills would be that baby's name. The other three were more cutesy than they were entertaining. Some of that "Teehee, look at us almost get in trouble, teehee" bullshit. I especially hated the last story. Did nothing for me. Felt like I wasted an hour of my life reading it, and the other two stories were simply forgettable. But (I like big buts and I cannot lie), the first and third stories, for me, are worth the price of admission. I would suggest, however, you skip the final story, because reasons. Also, if you are a musician of any kind, you should at least be able to finish this collection. In summation: I do not write good reviews while inebriated. Final Judgment: I liked what I liked and and that's all that I liked.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    An exquisite collection of five short stories that deals with complex issues such as the passage of time, lost dreams, second chances and unpredictable encounters. Always with the presence of music, night and potential romance. Like a good symphony, every story is like a movement, which seems independent but which is in fact part of a greater whole. Apparently simple melodies that actually hide sad, haunting stories of lonely and dissatisfied people and the opportunities life gives them to redeem An exquisite collection of five short stories that deals with complex issues such as the passage of time, lost dreams, second chances and unpredictable encounters. Always with the presence of music, night and potential romance. Like a good symphony, every story is like a movement, which seems independent but which is in fact part of a greater whole. Apparently simple melodies that actually hide sad, haunting stories of lonely and dissatisfied people and the opportunities life gives them to redeem themselves. It's usually the reader who decides whether they take them or not. A poetic and smart compilation, subtle and sad, which will catch the attention of those who appreciate Ishiguro's delicate style.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    It is unseasonably warm for a February Saturday in Pittsburgh. I am on the fifth and final story in Ishiguro's Nocturnes, trying to understand what it all means. Some music would be appropriate to go with this book, subtitled Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. "This is what we will hear tonight," I say, as the first barely audible notes of Sebelius' Violin Concerto fill the room like a Scandinavian wind. "I got some blood oranges for a salad. Would you like one?" "No, thank you," picking up the b It is unseasonably warm for a February Saturday in Pittsburgh. I am on the fifth and final story in Ishiguro's Nocturnes, trying to understand what it all means. Some music would be appropriate to go with this book, subtitled Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. "This is what we will hear tonight," I say, as the first barely audible notes of Sebelius' Violin Concerto fill the room like a Scandinavian wind. "I got some blood oranges for a salad. Would you like one?" "No, thank you," picking up the book, stretching my feet onto the ottoman, searching in the room for the Sebelius. The peels of a blood orange whir away in the garbage disposal. Sheets tumble in a clothes washer. Sebelius is lost. I return somehow to the Italian piazza where Tibor, a young Hungarian cellist, is approached by an older American woman, Eloise McCormack. She tells him she is a virtuoso and that she knows what he needs to reach a similar height. He accepts her avuncular mentoring and finds his voice. Sebelius yields, not reluctantly, to Tchaikovsky's Pathetique. "Oh. There's the mailman. Can you run and get the mail?" A book about an old map is in my mailbox, fortuitously, as Ishiguro is running out. The shower starts. I raise the volume for the allegro con grazia. Who wouldn't? Then why am I performing if not for an audience? Tibor asks. Eloise tells him, At this stage, what you're doing is waiting for that one person to come and hear you. And that one person might just as easily be in a room like that one on Thursday, in a crowd of just twenty people... The phone rings. The blood oranges were good, I hear, and the sleep last night was the best in a week. Feeling better, yes. "Can you help me with the sheets for a minute?" "Yes." "Oh. Are you writing a review?" "Yes. But it's okay." There aren't many like us, Tibor, and we recognize each other. The fact that I've not yet learned to play the cello doesn't really change anything. You have to understand, I am a virtuoso. But I'm one who's yet to be unwrapped. You too, you're still not entirely unwrapped, and that's what I've been doing these past few weeks. I've been trying to help you shed those layers. But I've never tried to deceive you. Ninety-nine per cent of cellists, there's nothing there under those layers, there's nothing to unwrap. So people like us, we have to help each other. When we see each other in a crowded square, wherever, we have to reach out for one another, because there are so few of us. These five stories seem quotidian, the characters inchoate, on the cusp of something. They are linked with music and self-reflection. Eloise will marry Peter, an American businessman who sells golf equipment in the Pacific Northwest. I guess so. . . . I guess so. Tibor will join a quartet, playing for diners in a hotel who may not even hear the music. Sebelius and Tchaikovsky tonight. A contrapuntal evening. Because the different melody lines entwine sometimes; the bramble and the rose. And music fills the air.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lyubov

    Congratulations on winning the Nobel prize, Mr. Ishiguro 💙 Never let us go!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Biron Paşa

    Noktürnler, Ishiguro'nun tek öykü kitabı. Ama umarım zamanla yeni öykülerini de okuruz, ben kitabı çok beğendim. Ishiguro esasen bir romancı ve romancılığında giderek daha muğlak sınırlarda dolaşıyor. Hatta ona bir bilinçaltı gezgini desem, sanırım yanlış bir tanımlama yapmış olmam. Bu sebeple hikâyelerini de bu tarzda bekliyordum, ama daha basit, Ishiguro'nun biraz daha klasik tarzda kalem oynattığı hikâyeler bulunca şaşırdım. Ishiguro eskiden müzisyen olmak istiyormuş. Orhan Pamuk'un resme, re Noktürnler, Ishiguro'nun tek öykü kitabı. Ama umarım zamanla yeni öykülerini de okuruz, ben kitabı çok beğendim. Ishiguro esasen bir romancı ve romancılığında giderek daha muğlak sınırlarda dolaşıyor. Hatta ona bir bilinçaltı gezgini desem, sanırım yanlış bir tanımlama yapmış olmam. Bu sebeple hikâyelerini de bu tarzda bekliyordum, ama daha basit, Ishiguro'nun biraz daha klasik tarzda kalem oynattığı hikâyeler bulunca şaşırdım. Ishiguro eskiden müzisyen olmak istiyormuş. Orhan Pamuk'un resme, ressamlığa dönüp dolaşıp değinmesi gibi, Ishiguro da müzisyenlikten bahis açmayı seviyor sanırım. Avunamayanlar'da da dünyaca ünlü bir piyanistin kafasının içine giriyorduk. Tabii Noktürnler ona kıyasla müzikle daha ilişkili hikâyelerden oluşuyor, ama ben bu hikâyeleri salt müzik hikâyeleri olarak da okumadım. İlk öykü Aşk Şarkıcısı'nda annesinin hayran olduğu, çocukluğunda çok dinlediği bir müzisyenle iletişime geçen genç bir müzisyeni görüyoruz; üçüncü öykü Malvern Hills'te Ishiguro, genç bir sanatçının, yani toplumun kendisine biçtiği rollerin dışına çıkan birinin dış dünya karşısındaki absürt konumunu irdeliyor: Gitarın sesinden rahatsız olan akrabalar, kendisinin şarkı yazmasını tuhaf bulan "icracı müzisyenler", içten içe arzuladığı ilgiyi hiçbir yerden temin edememesi, yani bu tarz yaşamlarda gençliğin sancıları anlatılıyor öyküde. Noktürnler çok sevdiğim Lost in Translation tadında, ilginç bir öykü. Ben kitabı okurken keyif aldım, bu boyutta öykülerden bekleyebileceğinizin fazlasını veriyor. Eğer Ishiguro okuyup beğenmediyseniz, bu öykülere şans verebilirsiniz. Romanlardaki ağır havanın aksine gayet komik de bir kitap.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    This is an interesting collection of stories all narrated by the same young male musician. Each of the stories is set in a different location and features rather quirky people in awkward short-term relationships. The stories very effectively portray the kind of insecure and stumbling interchanges which sometimes occur between people who don't know each other very well. This style of writing is new for me, and I found it sad, amusing, and realistic. The endings of the stories are mini-cliff-hange This is an interesting collection of stories all narrated by the same young male musician. Each of the stories is set in a different location and features rather quirky people in awkward short-term relationships. The stories very effectively portray the kind of insecure and stumbling interchanges which sometimes occur between people who don't know each other very well. This style of writing is new for me, and I found it sad, amusing, and realistic. The endings of the stories are mini-cliff-hangers. There is no sense of completion or closure but this is ultimately true to life. So often people drift in and out of each other's lives and simply go their separate ways without having formed a lasting relationship or shared any significant life-altering experiences. "Slice-of-life" writing, I guess, would be a good way to describe the work. I read this because I wanted to try Ishiguro's writing without committing to a full-length book. These stories have been a great introduction to this author. I will definitely read more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    ستایش دشتی

    نمیتوانم داستانهایش را دوست داشته باشم. یعنی حتّی داستانی مانند شبانه که خیلی خوب شروع شد و جذبم کرد هم در پایانبندی مرا ناامید برگرداند. به طورِ کلی پایانبندیهایش را اصلاً، اصلاً، اصلاً دوست نداشتم. مترجم در ابتدایِ کتاب گفته است داستانهای ایشیگورو داستانهایی هستند که برایِ فهمیده شدن به زمان و خوانش چندباره نیاز دارند. کمااینکه من به نظرم داستان کوتاه نباید این خصیصه را داشته باشد، داستانها اصلاً برایِ من جذابیتی نداشتند که بخواهم دوباره بخوانمشان. روابط انسانی درگیرکننده است اما فرم و نوشتارِ نمی‌توانم داستان‌هایش را دوست داشته باشم. یعنی حتّی داستانی مانند شبانه که خیلی خوب شروع شد و جذبم کرد هم در پایان‌بندی مرا ناامید برگرداند. به طورِ کلی پایان‌بندی‌هایش را اصلاً، اصلاً، اصلاً دوست نداشتم. مترجم در ابتدایِ کتاب گفته است داستان‌های ایشی‌گورو داستان‌هایی هستند که برایِ فهمیده شدن به زمان و خوانش چندباره نیاز دارند. کمااین‌که من به نظرم داستان کوتاه نباید این خصیصه را داشته باشد، داستان‌ها اصل‍اً برایِ من جذابیتی نداشتند که بخواهم دوباره بخوانمشان. روابط انسانی درگیرکننده است اما فرم و نوشتارِ داستان خسته‌تان می‌کند. همان‌طور که گفتم، روحِ مردانگی در کتاب موج می‌زند و نویسنده اصل‍اً نمی‌تواند احساسات زنانه را بروز بدهد و شاید این هم یکی از دل‍ایلِ ارتباط برقرار نکردنِ من با داستان‌ها باشد. پل‍ات داستان‌ها را جز پایان‌بندی‌هایشان دوست داشتم. شخصیت‌پردازی‌ها هم خوب بودند. با ترجمه هم مشکلی نداشتم. ارجاعاتِ کتاب هم خیلی خوب بودند و قطعاً در آیندۀ نزدیک دنبال ِموسیقیِ جز می‌روم. کل‍اً روحِ موسیقی را در داستان‌هایش می‌پسندیدم، بیشتر از داستان‌های موراکامی. باز هم برایِ یک بار خواندن خوب بود. :) × منتظریم دوست‌جان بخوانندش، نقدش کنیم.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    How can a person write in such a relaxed way and yet generate such tension in his stories? I don't mean tension because of action and intrigue, but tension because of emotions and relationships. This is a collection of five short stories and they are told with masterful ease and yet they subliminally build tension, especially Come Rain and Come Shine: I had to read some of this quite quickly because I couldn't bear the tension between the characters. I guess Ishiguro is sort of the master of und How can a person write in such a relaxed way and yet generate such tension in his stories? I don't mean tension because of action and intrigue, but tension because of emotions and relationships. This is a collection of five short stories and they are told with masterful ease and yet they subliminally build tension, especially Come Rain and Come Shine: I had to read some of this quite quickly because I couldn't bear the tension between the characters. I guess Ishiguro is sort of the master of understated writing. I settled down to read this after I finished work today. I hardly expected to just keep on and on reading until I finished. A pleasure to read. 4.5*, almost 5*.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ɐɹɐs

    پنج داستان با وجه مشترک موسیقی، شب و تنش های زندگی یک زوج. بعضی از داستان ها ته مایه طنزی داشتن که درست وسط سیر جدی و تاثیرگذار قصه اتفاق میافتاد. روایت ها پر کشش و جذاب بود. ایشی گورو تلاش میکرد راههای رسیدن به موفقیت رو در بطن داستان ها امتحان و بررسی کنه و خواننده رو به عنوان تصمیم گیرنده تنها بذاره. داستانهای شبانه، خواننده و تپه های مالورن رو از بقیه بیشتر دوست داشتم. و باز هم از ایشی گورو خواهم خواند که قطعاً به یکی نویسندههای مورد علاقه ام از ادبیات لاتین تبدیل شده. پنج داستان با وجه مشترک موسیقی، شب و تنش های زندگی یک زوج. بعضی از داستان ها ته مایه طنزی داشتن که درست وسط سیر جدی و تاثیرگذار قصه اتفاق می‌افتاد. روایت ها پر کشش و جذاب بود. ایشی گورو تلاش میکرد راههای رسیدن به موفقیت رو در بطن داستان ها امتحان و بررسی کنه و خواننده رو به عنوان تصمیم گیرنده تنها بذاره. داستان‌های شبانه، خواننده و تپه های مالورن رو از بقیه بیشتر دوست داشتم. و باز هم از ایشی گورو خواهم خواند که قطعاً به یکی نویسنده‌های مورد علاقه ام از ادبیات لاتین تبدیل شده.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Astraea

    خیلی بد.کسل کننده...اصلا خوشم نیومد از بین 5 داستان کوتاه، شبانه دیگه اوجش بود.. خیلی غیر واقعی بود.... بسیار بسیار ضعیف!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    Ishiguro is liquid. Can I say it like that? There is not a single thing in these stories where his writing isn't compatible with how a great beginning or the end of a story should look like. Or how a story should interestingly develop and how characters should be engaging and how... These nocturnes are almost perfect, and yet, they are somehow not. As if they need that jump from the springboard to make a perfect somersault and maybe end it with some surprisingly unexpected flip or something. I a Ishiguro is liquid. Can I say it like that? There is not a single thing in these stories where his writing isn't compatible with how a great beginning or the end of a story should look like. Or how a story should interestingly develop and how characters should be engaging and how... These nocturnes are almost perfect, and yet, they are somehow not. As if they need that jump from the springboard to make a perfect somersault and maybe end it with some surprisingly unexpected flip or something. I am way into artistic gymnastic patter. I liked reading these stories, but I didn't really like reading them. In the most sterile way, it felt like I was reading some nicely written manual about how a good written story should be. Which basically they are. Maybe Ishiguro is already that perfectly attuned writer that even when he burps, he is already nominated for an award winning body sound, nevertheless, when he writes something.

  30. 5 out of 5

    صان

    کلمه <<شبانهها>> همیشه بار معنایی خاصی برام داشته. شبهایی که حس رازآلودی دارند و خبر از اتفاقات بزرگی میدن در عین ساکت بودنشون. این مجموعه داستان نهچندان کوتاه، به شکل خوبی، اون احساسات شبانه آدم رو تحریک میکنه. شبی در ونیز، شبی در هتل، شبی در یک کافه قدیمی. شب و موسیقی در همه داستانهای این مجموعه تاثیر زیادی گذاشتن. موسیقی وجه اشتراک تمام داستانهای این مجموعه است. موسیقیِ شب. نوازندگان. خوانندهها. خوندنش لذتبخش بود. بعد از تموم شدن هر داستان ممکنه از خودت بپرسی اتفاق زیادی که نیفتاد پس ن کلمه <<شبانه‌ها>> همیشه بار معنایی خاصی برام داشته. شب‌هایی که حس رازآلودی دارند و خبر از اتفاقات بزرگی می‌دن در عین ساکت بودن‌شون. این مجموعه داستان نه‌چندان کوتاه، به شکل خوبی، اون احساسات شبانه آدم رو تحریک می‌کنه. شبی در ونیز، شبی در هتل، شبی در یک کافه قدیمی. شب و موسیقی در همه داستان‌های این مجموعه تاثیر زیادی گذاشتن. موسیقی وجه اشتراک تمام داستان‌های این مجموعه است. موسیقیِ شب. نوازندگان. خواننده‌ها. خوندنش لذت‌بخش بود. بعد از تموم شدن هر داستان ممکنه از خودت بپرسی اتفاق زیادی که نیفتاد پس نویسنده چطوری همین چند خط اتفاق رو توی ۷۰ صفحه نوشته بود؟ و این جادوی قلم ایشی‌گوروست!

  31. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Wow, I’ve never read so many stories in which nothing happened. And that all involved musicians/people who loved music who were spectacularly unsuccessful and apparently often quite unlikeable (at least, they didn’t have many friends). Here is the plot of the stories: Crooner: Some guy meets a famous singer from back in the day, helps him serenade his wife and finds out they’re going to divorce so the singer can make a come-back. Come Rain or Shine: Guy in a dead-end job who apparently is whiny a Wow, I’ve never read so many stories in which nothing happened. And that all involved musicians/people who loved music who were spectacularly unsuccessful and apparently often quite unlikeable (at least, they didn’t have many friends). Here is the plot of the stories: Crooner: Some guy meets a famous singer from back in the day, helps him serenade his wife and finds out they’re going to divorce so the singer can make a come-back. Come Rain or Shine: Guy in a dead-end job who apparently is whiny and lame visits college friends going through a rough patch in their marriage; the husband seems like he’s having a mental break and the wife is continuously condescending and possibly thinks the narrator is the King of Whiners; the narrator ends up going into a dog’s mindset and chewing on magazines...the story ends before we discover if everyone is going insane, possibly due to some biological weapon that turns people into zombies (what? it would make the story more interesting, at least), if the narrator and the wife are going to have an affair, what his friends actually think of the narrator and if they hate him as much as they appear to, why they keep inviting him to their house, why the husband is so goddamn strange, if the narrator is actually as annoying as his friends seem to think him (though I think the answer to that last one is yes, yes he is), etc. Malvern Hills: Some deadbeat musician takes advantage of his sister’s kindness and crashes at her place, meets old couple who love his music but also fight and possibly break up (yes, every marriage in this book is crap). Nocturne: Sax player gets plastic surgery after his wife divorces him; meets famous actress who is also recovering from surgery, they fight and leave off on bad terms, story ends before he gets his bandages off. Cellists: Young cello player meets crazy-ass American who claims to be a cello maestro despite the fact that she hasn’t played the cello since she was 11 because no cello teacher was good enough for her. That’s it. That’s ALL the plot. The book description of the stories is completely misleading, probably because they were trying to make the stories sound exciting, which they could only accomplish by lying. Also, I never really noticed it, but Ishiguro’s dialogue tends toward awkward. I don’t usually note this because the characters in his novels have been the type who would be a bit stilted: Japanese and British, who both can be a bit clipped in fiction. But when they’re supposed to be American or at least unidentified, the stiffness becomes more noticeable. And you know how his characters tend to be kind of passive? Yeah, usually I don't care but here it's really, really annoying. This collection proves that no matter what he may think, Ishiguro was not meant to write short stories.

  32. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    Five relatively short stories, with music as binding theme, or at least at first glance. Because if you process them all, then it appears Ishiguro rather focussed on how people get stuck in the past and by an impression they once had of someone, years later they still draw totally wrong conclusions. In each of the stories it’s the story telling narrator that notices this and has to cope with it, powerless. Not all stories are successful; for me especially the first story, The Crooner, excelled: Five relatively short stories, with music as binding theme, or at least at first glance. Because if you process them all, then it appears Ishiguro rather focussed on how people get stuck in the past and by an impression they once had of someone, years later they still draw totally wrong conclusions. In each of the stories it’s the story telling narrator that notices this and has to cope with it, powerless. Not all stories are successful; for me especially the first story, The Crooner, excelled: pure sadness, with a jazzy undertone, like nightfall.

  33. 4 out of 5

    Maryam

    تو قصه ترانه هاي شبانه هست كه ليندي ميگه : زندگي كوتاه تر از اونه كه يه نفر رو دوست داشته باشي

  34. 5 out of 5

    Zi

    پنج داستان خیلی خیلی خوب ....

  35. 5 out of 5

    Domenico Fina

    Io il Nobel lo darei ad Antunes o Vila-Matas o Reza o Strout o Marìas o Magris o Kundera (che però ha 88 anni e non credo i suoi pensieri siano rivolti precipuamente al Premio). L'accademia ha deciso Ishiguro. Questo è il mio unico commento ad Ishiguro ai tempi di Anobii. Lessi solo questo perché gli altri suoi libri, per un motivo o per un altro (forse eccesso di paranormale nei suoi testi), non mi attiravano. I protagonisti sono coppie che attraversano un periodo di crisi; la musica è presente Io il Nobel lo darei ad Antunes o Vila-Matas o Reza o Strout o Marìas o Magris o Kundera (che però ha 88 anni e non credo i suoi pensieri siano rivolti precipuamente al Premio). L'accademia ha deciso Ishiguro. Questo è il mio unico commento ad Ishiguro ai tempi di Anobii. Lessi solo questo perché gli altri suoi libri, per un motivo o per un altro (forse eccesso di paranormale nei suoi testi), non mi attiravano. I protagonisti sono coppie che attraversano un periodo di crisi; la musica è presente perché molti di loro sono musicisti oppure amanti della musica. Il libro è divertente, intelligente, amarognolo. La musica non è l'argomento principale, la musica è come se fosse la cartina al tornasole dei sentimenti, quando non si ama la musica si è forse in una fase pre depressiva. Quando non si ascolta la musica piacevolmente, vorrebbe dirci Ishiguro, siamo ovattati in affari di famiglia-lavoro-moda e ci sfugge qualcosa. C'è in tutti i racconti un personaggio che si inserisce fra una coppia e farà venire a galla l'amusicalità delle loro vite. I loro capricci da piccole star, l'ansia dello status. Nel primo racconto un famoso cantante oramai in pensione vorrebbe fare una serenata a sua moglie nella bella Venezia e nel far questo chiama con sé un chitarrista appena conosciuto. L'ironia non sta nella serenata ma nel fatto che tra la coppia implicitamente è giù maturata l'idea del divorzio perché, come pateticamente riconoscerà il cantante, bisogna escogitare un'idea per rilanciarsi, rifarsi una nuova vita con una ragazza giovane, perché è così che si rientra nel business. La serenata è il loro sublime (patetico) addio e anche sua moglie lo sa. Tutti i racconti hanno come elemento ironico e amarognolo appunto, la ricerca di una felicità troppo ancorata allo status e all'idea di successo, si usano a vanvera parole come fallimento. La coppia che ospiterà il loro amico quarantasettenne nella loro casa di Londra, considera il loro amico insegnante precario e single, senza arte né parte. Lui li rassicura più di una volta dicendo che sta bene; in effetti sono loro che stanno male tra mille ansie, un amante da parte di lei, miriadi di oggetti sparsi per la casa e male assortiti come i loro sentimenti che premono uno contro l'altro. Un personaggio, quello del loro amico insegnante, che con la sua sola presenta, spesso impacciata - farà anche alcuni danni in casa loro - vorrebbe poter dire: Voi vivete male signori!

  36. 5 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

    This was a wonderful short story. It brought back story in an interesting way that didn't take away from the rest of the story and I appreciate that. Wonderfully written and I greatly enjoyed it.

  37. 5 out of 5

    Melika Khoshnezhad

    داستان هایی روان و شیرین و کوتاه درباره ی جادوی موسیقی بر زندگی آدم های معمولی و موسیقیدان هایی که اندکی با آنچه تصور می کنیم متفاوتند. خواندنش لذتبخش بود. (:

  38. 4 out of 5

    Doan

    “Dạ khúc, năm câu chuyện về âm nhạc và đêm buông” có bìa không nổi bật, nằm lẫn lộn trong những sạp sách lớn với vô số người chen chúc trong buổi Nhã Nam xả hàng kho sách. Tôi đã kiễng chân, vất vả lắm mới lấy được cuốn sách ra. Tuy nhiên, dòng chữ ngay trang bìa dưới đây, đã quyết định cuốn sách phải thuộc về tôi, cho dù tôi chưa hề nghe nói về “Dạ khúc…” trước đó: “Một cuốn sách vô cùng thông minh về thời gian đang trôi qua cùng những khoảnh khắc thăng hoa khiến hành trình ấy trở nên đáng giá.” “Dạ khúc, năm câu chuyện về âm nhạc và đêm buông” có bìa không nổi bật, nằm lẫn lộn trong những sạp sách lớn với vô số người chen chúc trong buổi Nhã Nam xả hàng kho sách. Tôi đã kiễng chân, vất vả lắm mới lấy được cuốn sách ra. Tuy nhiên, dòng chữ ngay trang bìa dưới đây, đã quyết định cuốn sách phải thuộc về tôi, cho dù tôi chưa hề nghe nói về “Dạ khúc…” trước đó: “Một cuốn sách vô cùng thông minh về thời gian đang trôi qua cùng những khoảnh khắc thăng hoa khiến hành trình ấy trở nên đáng giá.” Có thể nói, trong khe nứt của không gian và thời gian ấy, tôi và quyển sách đã có duyên với nhau. Kazuo Ishiguro, tác giả cuốn sách, là một cái tên hoàn toàn xa lạ với tôi dù ông có nhiều tác phẩm nổi tiếng. Nói về sự xa lạ, để thấy khi tôi mở trang sách ra, lại bắt gặp một giọng văn gần gũi và vô cùng tinh tế trong cách thể hiện những khoảnh khắc của cuộc sống, tình yêu và những nỗi niềm trắc ẩn. Ông là một tác giả sinh ra tại Nhật nhưng lớn lên ở Anh, không gian của những câu chuyện rất “Tây”, đưa ta đến nhiều vùng đất của Châu Âu, với nhiều nhân vật từ mọi nơi trên thế giới. Và không gian đó ngập tràn trong âm nhạc và âm nhạc là sợi dây kết nối những nhân vật lại với nhau, hoặc đẩy họ xa nhau ra khỏi cuộc đời. Những khoảnh khắc chia tay lưu luyến Đó là những cuộc chia ly không lời với sự tiếc nuối đầy trắc ẩn được xây dựng và miêu tả tinh tế. Bốn trên năm truyện ngắn của tập truyện – “Người hát tình ca”, “Mưa đến hay nắng đến”, “Khu đồi Malvern” hay “Dạ khúc” – đều nói về những mối quan hệ đã bị rạn nứt và tan vỡ trong những cuộc hôn nhân, cho dù “chủ thể” là những cặp uyên ương còn trẻ, trung niên hay đã già. Nhưng dù là chia tay hay tan vỡ, nỗi buồn ở đây vẫn được miêu tả rất đẹp, đầy tiếc nuối, và cũng là những khoảnh khắc vô cùng thăng hoa đầy đáng giá. Trong “Người hát tình ca”, người chồng là ca sĩ đứng dưới cửa sổ khách sạn, hát cho vợ mình nghe từ con thuyền trên dòng kênh ở Venice những bản tình ca gợi nhớ lại từng kỷ niệm của hai người. Đây là kỳ nghỉ cuối cùng của họ trước khi họ quyết định chia tay vì lý do danh vọng. “Chúng tôi vẫn còn yêu nhau. Vì thế bà ấy mới khóc trong phòng. Bởi bà ấy vẫn còn yêu tôi nhiều như tôi vẫn yêu bà ấy.” Và tất nhiên, giây phút đầy cảm động ấy của tình yêu vẫn là một khoảnh khắc vô cùng mong manh, không chống trả được quy luật phũ phàng của cuộc sống, như những cơn sóng dâng trào lên và cuốn trôi đi. Cũng là những ánh mắt “dâng đầy nước” trong “Mưa đến hay nắng đến” khi bản nhạc “April in Paris” ngân lên, nhưng đây là sự rưng rưng xúc động khi phải kìm nén những đồng cảm trong âm nhạc của mình, với một người bạn thời trẻ, để bảo vệ hạnh phúc cho vợ chồng của một người bạn. Truyện được kể lại bằng cách đưa ra một tình huống khá thú vị mà có lẽ tôi không nên bật mí trước. Cũng ngập tàn nhạc tính, cuộc chia tay trong “Khu đồi Malvern” là của hai bóng dáng già nua cô độc, rời nhau và dần bé nhỏ giữa mênh mông của những khu đồi. Đó là sự chia tay dù không lời nhưng người trong cuộc tự ngầm hiểu rằng sẽ không thể cứu vãn nổi vì những góc nhìn cuộc sống quá đối lập: một người lạc quan và một bi quan. Truyện hay ở chỗ nó đề cập tới góc độ hai thái độ sống này đã tác động đến tâm trạng sáng tác của nhạc sĩ trẻ tuổi, người kể lại câu chuyện này như thế nào. Những khoảnh khắc yêu thương mà tiếc nuối đó làm tôi nhớ đến một đoạn văn trong tác phẩm “Đời nhẹ khôn kham” của Milan Kundera. “Hai người khiêu vũ theo điệu nhạc. Tereza ngả đầu lên vai Tomas. Y như lúc hai người ngồi trên phi cơ bay xuyên qua những đám mây giông bão. Cô thấy trong lòng dâng lên cảm giác sung sướng lẫn buồn rầu như lúc đó. Buồn rầu nghĩa là: chúng ta đang ở trạm cuối. Vui sướng nghĩa là: chúng ta đang ở cạnh nhau. Buồn là hình thức, vui là nội dung. Niềm vui tràn ngập khoảng chứa của nỗi buồn.” Những khoảnh khắc gặp gỡ thăng hoa Ai đó từng nói rằng “trong gặp gỡ đã có mầm ly biệt” và “tình yêu chẳng qua chỉ là những khoảnh khắc thăng hoa mà thôi” thì hai khẳng định đó đều đúng với câu chuyện của những nhân vật trong “Dạ khúc” và “Người chơi Cello”. Nhưng, cái tài của tác giả là không sa đà miêu tả vào nỗi buồn thảm của bóng đêm tĩnh lặng, sau giây phút rực rỡ nở bừng của cảm xúc. Tác giả chỉ viết về những khe nứt của không gian và thời gian, nơi mà chẳng ngờ tới, những con người hoàn toàn xa lạ gặp nhau trong tình huống đặc biệt, và từ đó nảy sinh tình cảm không lời, khi tâm hồn được thăng hoa, cùng âm nhạc. Trong hai truyện cuối của tập truyện ngắn, ngoài việc miêu tả những tình huống gặp gỡ của hai nhân vật, họ nói gì với nhau, những tình cảm thầm kín được gói ghém như thế nào, thì câu chuyện còn trở nên đắt giá bởi những triết lý về tình yêu cuộc sống. Trong “Dạ khúc” có đoạn viết: “Tôi hy vọng vợ anh quay lại. Tôi thực tình hy vọng thế. Nhưng nếu cô ấy không quay lại, thì, anh phải bắt đầu một góc nhìn mới. Cô ấy có thể là một người yêu tuyệt vời, nhưng cuộc đời lớn hơn nhiều chứ không phải là chuyện yêu một ai đó. Anh phải xông pha, Steve. (…). Đã lâu lắm rồi kể từ lần cuối khi tôi khi trung chuyển giữa hai cuộc hôn nhân. Nhưng thế nào tôi cũng sẽ xông ra mà thử một lần xem.” “Dạ khúc” mô tả những giây phút dở khóc dở cười (kèm những tình cảm sâu kín) của một phụ nữ thuộc hàng nghệ sĩ nổi tiếng với một người đàn ông là nhạc công không tăm tiếng. Thời gian chỉ gói gọn là một đêm trong không gian là một khách sạn hạng sang, khi hai người ở cạnh phòng nhau, chờ tháo băng mặt vì phẫu thuật thẩm mỹ. Còn trong “Người chơi Cello” lại là sự gặp gỡ tình cờ nhưng không kém phần thăng hoa của một chàng nhạc công Hung với một phụ nữ Mỹ hơn mình cả chục tuổi. Khi chàng trai bắt đầu nhận ra rằng mình có cảm xúc mạnh mẽ với người phụ nữ, là lúc chàng cảm thấy mình được thăng hoa với âm nhạc, háo hức, say mê và nghiêm túc với nghề. Đoạn kết câu chuyện, người phụ nữ đi lấy một người đàn ông khác dù đủ mọi điều kiện vật chất nhưng không hiểu lắm về âm nhạc. Và chàng thanh niên thì mất đi cái thần thái háo hức, say mê, yêu đời với âm nhạc. Thay cho lời kết, tôi được trích dẫn một lời giới thiệu in trên bìa ba của cuốn sách: “Đây không hẳn là những câu chuyện về âm nhac, mà là những nghiên cứu về mối quan hệ, nhấn mạnh vào sự nổi tiếng và cái giá phải trả để thành danh hay thất bại trong thế giới hiện đại”. Vậy tình yêu thật sự là gì? Liệu tình yêu có phải là tất cả trong cuộc sống này? Liệu tình yêu có quá đỗi mong manh khi chỉ tồn tại được trong những khoảnh khắc thăng hoa, giữa những khe nứt của không gian và thời gian? Liệu tình yêu có thể tách bạch với những đam mê trong sự nghiệp và danh vọng? Liệu tình yêu đôi lứa và tình yêu cuộc sống có thể hòa nhịp được cùng nhau hay không? Đó là những điều mà có lẽ khi khép lại cuốn sách, mỗi chúng ta đều muốn suy ngẫm về nó.

  39. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I love Ishiguro so be prepared for some gushing. This book was a departure for Ish. The day I got the book I sat down and told myself I'd read the first story. It was short and entertaining so I began the second story. I read a few pages and found myself chuckling and thinking I must be misunderstanding. Ishiguro is usually so lush and evocative. He makes me think and feel new things or at least feel them and think them with a new depth and understanding. After a few more pages I was falling off I love Ishiguro so be prepared for some gushing. This book was a departure for Ish. The day I got the book I sat down and told myself I'd read the first story. It was short and entertaining so I began the second story. I read a few pages and found myself chuckling and thinking I must be misunderstanding. Ishiguro is usually so lush and evocative. He makes me think and feel new things or at least feel them and think them with a new depth and understanding. After a few more pages I was falling off my chair with laughter. I don't remember when I've laughed so hard outside of P.G. Wodehouse. My laughter, however, derived from pathos and a dawning of what the odd interactions between an estranged couple and their bumbling houseguest were about. `Come Rain or Come Shine' wasn't fluff. I've been wracking my brain trying to think of other glimmers of such raucous humor in Ishiguro's work and can only come up with the Hugh Grant character in the film version of "Remains of the Day" with his dodging behind trees trying to overhear conversations. I don't remember that bit of humor from the book though. With "Never Let Me Go" it felt like Ishiguro reached into my chest, grabbed and twisted my heart until he finally pulled it out. In "When We Were Orphans" he had me running through rubble trying to escape the bad guys. "Nocturnes" was sheer enjoyment. The other stories don't reach the same level of amusement nor, I'm sure, are the meant to but they're very good.

  40. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle

    A very fine collection of five short stories, all revolving around music and, as in all of Kazuo Ishiguro's books, loneliness. As always, he is a master of restraint, which does not diminish the pathos of the stories, on the contrary! In each of those stories, something gets unraveled for each of the characters who collide with each other during that particular moment in their lives.... and of course all this happens to music, for music, because of music. This is all tremendously lyrical albeit in A very fine collection of five short stories, all revolving around music and, as in all of Kazuo Ishiguro's books, loneliness. As always, he is a master of restraint, which does not diminish the pathos of the stories, on the contrary! In each of those stories, something gets unraveled for each of the characters who collide with each other during that particular moment in their lives.... and of course all this happens to music, for music, because of music. This is all tremendously lyrical albeit in a very understated way. Ishiguro is such a master of subtlety that I find it very difficult to write about his stories. I think it all has to do with how challenging it is to capture the mood of his story, as it is really the mood of each segment of the book, rather than its plot, that stays behind and clings to the memory...

  41. 5 out of 5

    Jolanta Da

    Ir vel...Kazuo Ishiguro...Bet sie metai juk - jo metai. Vieniems - susipazinimui, kitiems - pazinties atnaujinimui. Si kart perskaitytas jo 5 apsakymu rinkinys "Nocturnes". Tai tarpusavyje susijusios istorijos, kuriose muzika veikia kaip vienas is pagrindiniu charakteriu. Taip, visi jie lyriski, romantiski...ir liudni.

  42. 4 out of 5

    Simon Fay

    Here's a nice diversion I was glad to have picked up, in part because the stories are short, pleasant worlds that I could dip my toes into on a sunny day, but also because I have an interest in the craft of writing, and the quality throughout the book varied so drastically that I found my curiosity piqued. The collection boasts two standout stories about love, life and music. The simple prose in these offerings hint at a deep pool of emotion. However, the three other stories made me think the hin Here's a nice diversion I was glad to have picked up, in part because the stories are short, pleasant worlds that I could dip my toes into on a sunny day, but also because I have an interest in the craft of writing, and the quality throughout the book varied so drastically that I found my curiosity piqued. The collection boasts two standout stories about love, life and music. The simple prose in these offerings hint at a deep pool of emotion. However, the three other stories made me think the hints were just outright bluffs. As with every Ishiguro book that I've read, I had to wonder if the feelings he traced were actually substantive and true, or if they were just random lines he doodled in the air, then crossed his fingers in the hopes that our imaginations would fill in the rest. Beyond that, the characters and scenarios sometimes verged on unbearably twee. I can certainly see why Nocturnes would feel like a tender hug to some readers. But for the most part, it felt like a half-hearted pat on the back to me. Then again, maybe I'm just dead inside. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  43. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I think this review could be as simple as 14 words: "This is the first short story compilation that I have ever rated 5 stars." Done. No more is necessary. I suppose, if I really wanted I could add: "Just read it". Instead, I shall elaborate slightly on why I broke my own rule that the best short stories can achieve is 4 stars. Ishiguro is amazing. His choice of words is spot on; he provides adequate description to give a vivid picture and manages to never give me the feeling that he is spluging I think this review could be as simple as 14 words: "This is the first short story compilation that I have ever rated 5 stars." Done. No more is necessary. I suppose, if I really wanted I could add: "Just read it". Instead, I shall elaborate slightly on why I broke my own rule that the best short stories can achieve is 4 stars. Ishiguro is amazing. His choice of words is spot on; he provides adequate description to give a vivid picture and manages to never give me the feeling that he is spluging on me. His characters are charming (or annoying or self absorbed or whatever) in just the right proportions so right at the moment that I start to think that someone is too perfectly "this", they are not. And most importantly (for me, in most things in life) he is laugh out loud hysterical. Literally two of these stories made me chuckle until small bits of water leaked from my eyeballs. I'm not talking full-out laugh/cry, but minor seepage. Finally, although these were all really just stories (and were perfectly reasonable stand alone stories), they blend together amazingly well. They all touch on music (duh..the collection is called Noctures); they all hint at the mundacity of long term relationship and the difficulties/beauty of love; and they all make witty commentary on the absurdity of modern evaluation (popularity and fame vs. quality) and the question of what constitutes success. If you will pardon my terrible metaphor and chance to spluge on you for a change, they are each a lovely instrument in this small band of 5 playing a quiet tune on a warm summer night. For a few small comments about the stories on their own: Crooner opens the book well. It is heartbreakingly simple and yet the end is a surprising twist. I think my favorite quote was: "What people don't realise is that beauty isn't the half of it. Use it wrong, you get treated like a whore." Come rain or come shine was light and airy. Ray is such a dim-witted treat; he is much like the obnoxious dog next door (in so many ways). This is one of the stories that cracked me up. Malvern Hills would be the low point of the book. It was an okay story on its own, but compared to the others was less appealing. It is focused more on the theme of change and disappointment and although the music was much discussed, it felt more peripheral than in the other stories. Nocturne is the title story and it was the most outlandish. It also made me laugh out loud: "'No, it's exactly what I say. And now he's taking his chicken off. Oh, and he's producing something out of it. Hey, fella, what is that? An alligator?' These last words he'd addressed to me with admirable nonchalance." What else can I say. It is absolutely unbelievable, but a great story. Reminds me of a true story told by a friend years ago--he witnessed a bus load of senior citizens enter the mall and come down an escalator. About half way down, the first lady fell and couldn't get off at the bottom. The meant that the entire load of senior citizens kept coming (none of which were capable of moving quickly) until the human pile-up was big enough to stop the escalator. Horrible really, but rather hysterical and unbelievable too. Cellists was heartbreaking. It was an interesting way to end the piece because it did leave me on a down note. Tibor settles: "He was wearing a suit-nothing very grand, just a regular one--so perhaps he has a day job now behind a desk somewhere." However, it also connects back to Crooner in which Tony Gardner makes the opposite decision (throw away happiness for another chance at fame). Again, I found the whole thing very satisfying.

  44. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    I never know how to review collections of short stories. It would be one thing if stories in a given collection were monolithic in terms of tone and quality. This, of course, is never the case. And is, by extension, not the case with Kazuo Ishiguro's collection of five stories, Nocturne. Three of these shorts I loved, one I liked a lot, and the other is of the variety where I'd be tempted to say, Let's just be friends, and then gradually distance myself until we were more acquaintances than anyt I never know how to review collections of short stories. It would be one thing if stories in a given collection were monolithic in terms of tone and quality. This, of course, is never the case. And is, by extension, not the case with Kazuo Ishiguro's collection of five stories, Nocturne. Three of these shorts I loved, one I liked a lot, and the other is of the variety where I'd be tempted to say, Let's just be friends, and then gradually distance myself until we were more acquaintances than anything. And that last one maybe not even so much because of its quality (but then again, maybe so), but more due to the fact that it just doesn't fit well within the edifice that Ishiguro has constructed. All of the stories (save for the second) explore the boundaries of their narratives through the musician's field of vision. All of the stories dancing about the interruption or breakdown of human relationship to some extent or another. And all of the stories theme toward unfulfilled potential and, sometimes, toward the potential fulfillment of it. And all of the stories are more or less believable despite their sometimes queer narrative direction. Save for the second. The first story, "Crooner," posits a delicate and heartfelt meditation on the nature of love and business and love as business. Using the backdrop of Venice, Ishiguro ably uses the scene to host a story in which an older musician is able to convey his tragic sort of wisdom to a younger musician. I loved this one and even felt that it would make an able single chapter in a Haruki Murakami novel. (Oddly enough, though their styles are very different, I find a lot of similarity between Ishiguro and Murakami's treatment of the world and its strange vectors.) In Ishiguro's third story here, "Malvern Hills," a young guitarist (who is apparently very talented—at least by his own estimation as the narrator) retreats to his sister's countryside cafe in the village of his youth to work on his music and to make sense of his world. In his interaction with touristing patrons, he finds new questions to ask of himself. Ishiguro acquitted himself ably in this one and though it wasn't among my favourites, I did like it very much. The fourth installment, "Nocturne," was at once the most humourous and blue note of the series. A beautifully talented saxophonist reluctantly agrees to plastic surgery to tear down the perceived obstacle to his success: the stark absence of beauty in his features. While tearing himself up over questions of self-worth and his shame for having sold out in such a way, he makes the acquaintance of someone familiar to the reader. Hi-jinks and mopiness ensue. One of my favourites of the book. The final story, "Cellists," I found to be thoroughly inventive. A common musician in a Venetian piazza sees a familiar face in the audience and begins a reminiscence of the (seven years earlier) young Hungarian cellist and the virtuoso woman would would give him a glimpse of the talent that he could unlock if given the right keys. Another of my favourites. Ishiguro's talent for mixing heartbreak and joy, disappointment and hope, and choice and destiny has always drawn me to his work. His reputation as being one of the most talented living authors in the English language is well-deserved, and despite the hiccough early in this collection, he proves himself to be equally at home in the short or long forms. ... Oh yeah, the second story. "Come Rain or Come Shine." I don't know what happened here. This story just didn't fit this collection at all. While his other four all follow a similar theme and present their vignettes in believable fashion, "Come Rain or Come Shine" seems to adopt some of the awkward unbelievability of The Unconsoled , only without the purpose behind it. Characters say and do ridiculous things without any narrative justification and just as when The Unconsoled's Ryder would say or do things and either nobody would pay any attention or they would horribly misconstrue his words and intent, so to do the three characters in this story seem nearly entirely oblivious to each other, each living in completely fabricated worlds of their own. I had at first toyed with the idea that Ishiguro was again playing with the unreliable narrator who believed his actions entirely rational while the world around him marveled at his apparent madness, but the dialogue of the other two characters doesn't really support this. Or else they're crazy too. In some ways, the story was fine. Perhaps it was experimental and values multiple readings, only fully revealing itself as one dwells on the problems it presents. It would have been at home in a different anthology perhaps, but in Nocturnes it sticks out like a tiger in a Volkswagen. Other than this complaint, though, Nocturnes was a wholly enjoyable, if brief, jaunt into the literary world of the music that dominates Ishiguro's work.

  45. 4 out of 5

    نعیمه بخشی

    جمع کردن داستانهایی با تم مشابه اغلب دو حالت داره؛ یا خیلی خوب میشه یا خیلی بد. درباره این کتاب به نظرم اصلاً بد نشده بود. به خصوص اینکه زبان داستانها در مقایسه با رمانهایی که از ایشی گورو خوندم روان و پرکشش بود. به علاوه دیالوگها هم خیلی خوب بودن و توی بعضی داستانها طنز ظریفی وجود داشت که داستان رو جذابتر میکرد جمع کردن داستان‌هایی با تم مشابه اغلب دو حالت داره؛ یا خیلی خوب می‌شه یا خیلی بد. درباره این کتاب به نظرم اصلاً بد نشده بود. به خصوص این‌که زبان داستان‌ها در مقایسه با رمان‌هایی که از ایشی گورو خوندم روان و پرکشش بود. به علاوه دیالوگ‌ها هم خیلی خوب بودن و توی بعضی داستان‌ها طنز ظریفی وجود داشت که داستان رو جذاب‌تر می‌کرد

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