Friday, 25 January 2002

Entry #247

Listening to:
Bach, Well-tempered clavier, book I.
Just read:
Kazuo Ishiguro, An artist of the floating world. This is a great novel, written in a wonderful style. It bears definite resemblences to Ishiguro's The remains of the day (which was made into a film). Both novels tell the story of a man reminiscing on a period of his life about which he is becoming unsure. In both novels, the earlier period is the 1930s, and in both, the men have to reassess the way they behaved then in the light of the changed post-war world.

Ishiguro writes beautifully. The course of the novel is an extended narration of events by the artist of the title, Masuji Ono. His voice is distinctive, being very measured and precise. The beauty of the book is that through this slow, careful narration of events, one that is superficially dry and emotionless, you can pick up the self-justifications that Ono is telling himself. You can perceive his growing realisation that his behaviour was probably suspect, and that his past is also liable to prejudice his family's future. Highly recommended.

A neat selection of short essays by the linguist Geoff Nunberg, covering a range of topics, from American newspapers and the word "Jew", to how interjections are the grammatical part of speech where 90s slang has focussed most of its attention.