Review – Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Nocturnes: Five stories of music and nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro
Published: 2010 by Faber & Faber (first published 2009)
Genre: Short stories, music, fiction, contemporary
Pages: 231

Music binds together five short stories in this little suite of a book, set in this world of ours that sometimes feels so vast and then suddenly so small.

There are five elements to music: melody, harmony, key, metre, and rhythm. Some might also say that a song built up of five moving parts: intro, verse, chorus, bridge and outro.

Nocturnes comprises of five parts as well: Crooner, Come rain or come shine, Malvern Hills, Nocturne and Cellists.

Each story builds up in length and comes to a peak at the fourth story and descends on the fifth. Just like a song, the book plays.

What I adored about this one was the role music played throughout the stories, and it makes you look closer at how music plays a role in your own life. At the same time, all the stories have other elements that make you stop and think.

This is the second book I’ve read by Ishiguro and I’m starting to get a sense of his depth. Even in these short stories there is an endless many ways to view things and ponder.

All written with a different feel, with funny, tragic, sad, sweet characters, it almost feels to me like Ishiguro is flexing his writing muscles and showing off a bit. The stories might be short, but they are so very well done, and I’ll remember those people fondly, like some strangers I spent a lovely evening with, listening to music.


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