I love the novels of Kazuo Ishiguro, but at the time of reading this book I was quite busy and I struggled to concentrate on reading for long period of time. On learning Ishiguro had a collection of short stories, themed around the ideas of music and nightfall, I knew I had found the perfect book to get me through times when I wasn’t able to dedicate as much time to reading as I normally like.
There are five stories in the book. There are some interconnections and come character crossovers but they are mostly stand-alone stories that you can dip in and out of very easily. ‘Crooner’ and ‘Nocturne’ are two such examples where there is some character crossover. The first is set in Venice and the second in a Beverley Hills Hotel, and both are concerned with the vanity of mainstream music, especially in America. The stories were definitely relatable to most people, and certainly make you evaluate your own values and priorities.
‘Cellists’ and ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’, were much more about the people involved and the emotional connections that people can make with one another and certain types of music. The latter of these two stories was my least favourite in the book, mainly because I felt the constraint of the plot was restricted by the length of the story and I felt that the two antagonists within the story were very condescending and snobbish, which are traits I can’t stand in people.
‘Cellists’ though I wanted to lose myself in the music that was being played and the passion that the characters have for the cello. Admittedly that might come from my preference for the cello as a instrument in general, but there is undeniable atmosphere in this story and a great twist that will make you question every passion and talent you have.
‘Malvern Hills’ was my favourite purely because I felt I could relate the most with a struggling musician who wants success in his difficult industry, like I do as a writer in my own. The atmosphere of the hills and playing music out of doors was great to imagine and escape into as well. I didn’t like everything about the plot or the protagonist, but I certainly liked reading his story on the road to success. Whether the guy would ever get to success is questionable, but his determined was to be admired.
Overall the book is a lovely little collection of Ishiguro’s work to dip into – I don’t think it is his best work, but it certainly worthy of your time if you’re looking for a little something to read, especially if you like music.