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Nocturnes

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Nocturnes

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From the award-winning author of Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories, which is as affecting as it is beautiful.With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo...
From the award-winning author of Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories, which is as affecting as it is beautiful.With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo...
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Description-
  • From the award-winning author of Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories, which is as affecting as it is beautiful.

    With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo Ishiguro interlocks five short pieces of fiction to create a world that resonates with emotion, heartbreak, and humor. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junky with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent. For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany.



    From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Chapter 1

    The morning i spotted Tony Gardner sitting among the tourists, spring was just arriving here in Venice. We'd completed our first full week outside in the piazza--a relief, let me tell you, after all those stuffy hours performing from the back of the cafe, getting in the way of customers wanting to use the staircase. There was quite a breeze that morning, and our brand-new marquee was flapping all around us, but we were all feeling a little bit brighter and fresher, and I guess it showed in our music.

    But here I am talking like I'm a regular band member. Actually, I'm one of the "gypsies," as the other musicians call us, one of the guys who move around the piazza, helping out whichever of the three cafe orchestras needs us. Mostly I play here at the Caffè Lavena, but on a busy afternoon, I might do a set with the Quadri boys, go over to the Florian, then back across the square to the Lavena. I get on fine with them all--and with the waiters too--and in any other city I'd have a regular position by now. But in this place, so obsessed with tradition and the past, everything's upside down. Anywhere else, being a guitar player would go in a guy's favour. But here? A guitar! The cafe managers get uneasy. It looks too modern, the tourists won't like it. Last autumn I got myself a vintage jazz model with an oval sound-hole, the kind of thing Django Reinhardt might have played, so there was no way anyone would mistake me for a rock-and-roller. That made things a little easier, but the cafe managers, they still don't like it. The truth is, if you're a guitarist, you can be Joe Pass, they still wouldn't give you a regular job in this square.

    There's also, of course, the small matter of my not being Italian, never mind Venetian. It's the same for that big Czech guy with the alto sax. We're well liked, we're needed by the other musicians, but we don't quite fit the official bill. Just play and keep your mouth shut, that's what the cafe managers always say. That way the tourists won't know you're not Italian. Wear your suit, sunglasses, keep the hair combed back, no one will know the difference, just don't start talking.

    But I don't do too bad. All three cafe orchestras, especially when they have to play at the same time from their rival tents, they need a guitar--something soft, solid, but amplified, thumping out the chords from the back. I guess you're thinking, three bands playing at the same time in the same square, that would sound like a real mess. But the Piazza San Marco's big enough to take it. A tourist strolling across the square will hear one tune fade out, another fade in, like he's shifting the dial on a radio. What tourists can't take too much of is the classical stuff, all these instrumental versions of famous arias. Okay, this is San Marco, they don't want the latest pop hits. But every few minutes they want something they recognise, maybe an old Julie Andrews number, or the theme from a famous movie. I remember once last summer, going from band to band and playing "The Godfather" nine times in one afternoon.

    Anyway there we were that spring morning, playing in front of a good crowd of tourists, when I saw Tony Gardner, sitting alone with his coffee, almost directly in front of us, maybe six metres back from our marquee. We get famous people in the square all the time, we never make a fuss. At the end of a number, maybe a quiet word will go around the band members. Look, there's Warren Beatty. Look, it's Kissinger. That woman, she's the one who was in the movie about the men who swap their faces. We're used to it. This is the Piazza San Marco after all. But when I realised it was Tony Gardner sitting there, that was...

About the Author-
  • Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of six previous novels, including Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, which won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an award-winning film. Ishiguro's work has been translated into forty languages. In 1995 he received an Order of the British Empire for service to literature, and in 1998 was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Reviews-
  • Christian Science Monitor

    "Expressive and harmonic, delicate yet substantive. . . . [A] true virtuoso performance."

  • Seattle Times "In both craft and substance Nocturnes reveals a master at work."
  • Los Angeles Times "Immaculate."
  • Time Out New York "Ishiguro is, as always, a master of style and tone . . . . [Nocturnes] build[s] into a melancholic soundtrack. We're helpless to do anything but listen."
  • --Time "Tight and assured. . . . Suffused with sympathy."
  • The Times, London "These stories recall Ishiguro's best known novel, The Remains of the Day. . . . By now it is clear that this exquisite stylist is serious in his pursuit of a minimal--perhaps even universal--mode of expression for the emotional experiences that define our lives as human."
  • Providence Journal "Superb . . . a deceptively plain and easy style that rides on the surfaces of manners and decorous behavior."
  • -Frank Kermode, London Review of Books "A brilliant new book . . . art, its dangers, its pains and its gaiety [are] all topics seriously considered in this accomplished book."
  • Bookmarks magazine "Ishiguro blends musical concepts with their literary counterparts in his latest work, and Nocturnes has the . . . quality of a song cycle with recurring themes and motifs developed in different prose keys."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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