The 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, ISHIGURO Kazuo wrote a fair amount of books, all published by the British publisher Faber & Faber. I had never even heard of him. During my latest visit to a bookshop with novels in English, I elected this one, originally published in 1986. As the very first pages flow, a style initiates the reader to a house in Japan sold in an auction of prestige by a disbanded family after the father's death: his name was Mr. Sugumura. The narrator, Mr. Ono won it before the war. The toll of the war (the story is situated in 1948) is gradually delivered to the reader as such a gentle way. The first occurrence is summed up in the end of a sentence:

« ... & I realized she [the youngest of the two Sugimura's sisters] gave only the briefest of commiserations on hearing about my wife & about Kenji. » 11

The 205 pages of the novel is compatible with my idea of palatability for unknown fiction by an unknown author. The house is at the centre of attention from the start. The humans who deploy their lives in it are gradually introduced with great maestria.

The successful mix between Japanese exquisite politeness & well-behaved, classical English prose corresponds to a shared view (with The London Review of Books writers notably) of a civilized attitude to life... A likely incentive to progress into the novel...

His nobel lecture is available here, as well as his biography as seen by the nobel jury. At the same time, it offers a good setting for the novel.


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