From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day
In the face of the misery in his homeland, the artist Masuji Ono was unwilling to devote his art solely to the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II.
Now, as the mature Ono struggles through the aftermath of that war, his memories of his youth and of the "floating world"—the nocturnal world of pleasure, entertainment, and drink—offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise. Indicted by society for its defeat and reviled for his past aesthetics, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward but, above all, a human being.
A Portent of Things to Come from Ishiguro
The book is an extraordinarily compelling study of both a man and a culture in flux. Ishiguro published this work at the age of 32 and in it he does a remarkable job of anticipating the fears, inhibitions, and denials of a man in the twilight years of his life. The book will be of interest for those interested in understanding the radical political and cultural shifts which took place in Japan at the end of World War Ii. But, even more significantly, at least for me, Ishiguro's work proves to be a fascinating--and heartbreaking--study of the psychological ravages of an accomplished man passing from youthful relevance through middle age into an inconsequential existence darkened by the ravages of societal indifference.
On the heels of this book, Ishiguro wrote the extraordinary "The Remains of the Day." His "Never Let Me Go," published a decade and a half later, is considered one of the most important English-language novels of the 20th century.