When I tell people they should try an Ishiguro novel (which is quite often) there’s one piece of advice I always give: if the book they choose doesn’t strike a chord with them, be sure to try another, as he offers something a bit different every time. That’s one of the reasons I love him as an author – I know that with each of his stories he’s going to take me to a place I haven’t been before. I’m always amazed at how he manages to explore his ideas through such a wide variety of settings. There’s the traditional country house of “The Remains of the Day”, the post-war Japan of “An Artist of the Floating World” and the unsettling alternate reality of “Never let me go”; and I marvel at the imagination of a novelist who can conjure up this array of fictional landscapes whilst writing with such precision and authenticity. One thing you can guarantee though is that the prose is going to be utterly sublime – and that’s the principle reason I love his books so much. His style is deceptively simple, almost sparse sometimes, with a restraint that often belies the emotional turmoil at the heart of his stories. There’s no melodrama and no linguistic flamboyance, just purity, clarity and a real sense that every word has been carefully placed and is there for good reason.
If I had to pick a favourite it would be “An Artist of the Floating World”; there’s something about the visual cleanliness of the Japanese setting that really seems to mirror his writing style. But, as I said at the start, with Ishiguro there’s such variety on offer that I’m sure you’ll find your own favourite.