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Nocturnes
Nocturnes の表紙
Nocturnes
著者 Kazuo Ishiguro
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From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories as affecting as it is beautiful.

With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo Ishiguro interlocks five short pieces of fiction to create a world that resonates with emotion, heartbreak, and humor. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junky with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent. For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany.

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day comes an inspired sequence of stories as affecting as it is beautiful.

With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Kazuo Ishiguro interlocks five short pieces of fiction to create a world that resonates with emotion, heartbreak, and humor. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junky with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent. For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany.

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引用-
  • Chapter One

    Chapter 1

    The morning i spotted Tony Gardner sitting among the tourists, spring was just arriving here in Venice. We'd completed our first full week outside in the piazza--a relief, let me tell you, after all those stuffy hours performing from the back of the cafe, getting in the way of customers wanting to use the staircase. There was quite a breeze that morning, and our brand-new marquee was flapping all around us, but we were all feeling a little bit brighter and fresher, and I guess it showed in our music.

    But here I am talking like I'm a regular band member. Actually, I'm one of the "gypsies," as the other musicians call us, one of the guys who move around the piazza, helping out whichever of the three cafe orchestras needs us. Mostly I play here at the Caffè Lavena, but on a busy afternoon, I might do a set with the Quadri boys, go over to the Florian, then back across the square to the Lavena. I get on fine with them all--and with the waiters too--and in any other city I'd have a regular position by now. But in this place, so obsessed with tradition and the past, everything's upside down. Anywhere else, being a guitar player would go in a guy's favour. But here? A guitar! The cafe managers get uneasy. It looks too modern, the tourists won't like it. Last autumn I got myself a vintage jazz model with an oval sound-hole, the kind of thing Django Reinhardt might have played, so there was no way anyone would mistake me for a rock-and-roller. That made things a little easier, but the cafe managers, they still don't like it. The truth is, if you're a guitarist, you can be Joe Pass, they still wouldn't give you a regular job in this square.

    There's also, of course, the small matter of my not being Italian, never mind Venetian. It's the same for that big Czech guy with the alto sax. We're well liked, we're needed by the other musicians, but we don't quite fit the official bill. Just play and keep your mouth shut, that's what the cafe managers always say. That way the tourists won't know you're not Italian. Wear your suit, sunglasses, keep the hair combed back, no one will know the difference, just don't start talking.

    But I don't do too bad. All three cafe orchestras, especially when they have to play at the same time from their rival tents, they need a guitar--something soft, solid, but amplified, thumping out the chords from the back. I guess you're thinking, three bands playing at the same time in the same square, that would sound like a real mess. But the Piazza San Marco's big enough to take it. A tourist strolling across the square will hear one tune fade out, another fade in, like he's shifting the dial on a radio. What tourists can't take too much of is the classical stuff, all these instrumental versions of famous arias. Okay, this is San Marco, they don't want the latest pop hits. But every few minutes they want something they recognise, maybe an old Julie Andrews number, or the theme from a famous movie. I remember once last summer, going from band to band and playing "The Godfather" nine times in one afternoon.

    Anyway there we were that spring morning, playing in front of a good crowd of tourists, when I saw Tony Gardner, sitting alone with his coffee, almost directly in front of us, maybe six metres back from our marquee. We get famous people in the square all the time, we never make a fuss. At the end of a number, maybe a quiet word will go around the band members. Look, there's Warren Beatty. Look, it's Kissinger. That woman, she's the one who was in the movie about the men who swap their faces. We're used to it. This is the Piazza San Marco after all. But when I realised it was Tony Gardner sitting there, that was...

著者について-
  • Kazuo Ishiguro is the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages. Both The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have sold more than 1 million copies, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films. Ishiguro's other work includes The Buried Giant, Nocturnes, A Pale View of the Hills, and An Artist of the Floating World.

レビュー-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 27, 2009
    This suite of five stories hits all of Ishiguro's signature notes, but the shorter form mutes their impact. In “Crooner,” Tony Gardner, a washed-up American singer, goes sloshing through the canals of Venice to serenade his trophy wife, Lindy. The narrator, Jan, is a hired guitar player whose mother was a huge fan of Tony, but Jan's experience playing for Tony fractures his romantic ideals. Lindy returns in the title story, which finds her in a luxury hotel reserved for celebrity patients recovering from cosmetic surgery. The narrator this time is Steve, a saxophonist who could never get a break because of his “loser ugly” looks. Lindy idly strikes up a friendship with Steve as they wait for their bandages to come off and their new lives to begin. In the final story, “Cellists,” an unnamed saxophonist narrator who, like Jan, plays in Venice's San Marco square, observes the evolving relationship of a Hungarian cello prodigy after he meets an American woman. The stories are superbly crafted, though they lack the gravity of Ishiguro's longer works (Never Let Me Go
    ; Remains of the Day
    ), which may leave readers anticipating a crescendo that never hits.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2009
    A collection of five stylish stories from Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go, 2005, etc.).

    As indicated by both the title and subtitle, all the stories in this fictional equivalent of a concept album concern musicians and the evening. But even more holds them together. All are first-person narratives (four of them by musicians) and most have a recurring motif of exchanging early promise for something—a marriage, a career, maybe both—that one settles for, once the daylight of youth has given way to the twilight of middle age. When one underachiever remarks"I'm only forty-seven," the woman on whom he had a college crush, now married to his best friend, replies,"Only forty-seven. This'only,' this is what's destroying your life. Only, only, only. Only doing my best." That story,"Come Rain or Come Shine," is the most audacious in terms of tone, a very funny narrative, almost emotionally slapstick, about a very sad marriage. The writing is so exquisite throughout that the reader forgives the fact that at least two of these stories don't make much literal sense. In"Malvern Hills," an otherwise subtle story about a young guitarist who believes he has a career in music, and two married couples who have become resigned to their fates, the narrator keeps auditioning for electric bands with an acoustic guitar. The title story, the longest and strangest, concerns a session saxophonist who has somehow been persuaded to have plastic surgery on his face as a big career move. (Who really cares what a session or jazz musician looks like?) But even though there are a few false notes, the tonal command sustains perfect pitch.

    Like sophisticated literary mood music, this book lingers in the memory, ringing true in theme and metaphor even when lacking plausibility.

    (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 15, 2009
    In Venice, an old-time singer drafts a guitar player from one of the piazza's bands to accompany him as he serenades the wife he is about to leave. She later turns up in the tale of a sax player whose own wife, having left him, offers to pay for plastic surgery that could help his career. A man who once shared a love for show tunes with an old friend is asked by her husband to act the fool to help save their marriage. A self-centered songwriter breeds disruption while working at his sister's inn, and an inspiring cellist encounters a most unusual teacher. Despite what one might expect from the title, these aren't stories about music, which is simply enfolded in the characters' lives; the music doesn't so much inspire the action as frame it. The writing is lighter and more loose-limbed than one might expect of the author of "Never Let Me Go", but it delivers the same scary insights into human misbehavior. VERDICT Once again Ishiguro does something different; recommended for anyone who loves thoughtful writing. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 5/1/09.]Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"

    Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Christian Science Monitor "Expressive and harmonic, delicate yet substantive. . . . [A] true virtuoso performance."
  • Seattle Times "In both craft and substance Nocturnes reveals a master at work."
  • Los Angeles Times "Immaculate."
  • Time Out New York "Ishiguro is, as always, a master of style and tone . . . . [Nocturnes] build[s] into a melancholic soundtrack. We're helpless to do anything but listen."
  • -Time "Tight and assured. . . . Suffused with sympathy."
  • The Times, London "These stories recall Ishiguro's best known novel, The Remains of the Day. . . . By now it is clear that this exquisite stylist is serious in his pursuit of a minimal - perhaps even universal - mode of expression for the emotional experiences that define our lives as human."
  • Providence Journal "Superb . . . a deceptively plain and easy style that rides on the surfaces of manners and decorous behavior."
  • Bookmarks magazine "Ishiguro blends musical concepts with their literary counterparts in his latest work, and Nocturnes has the . . . quality of a song cycle with recurring themes and motifs developed in different prose keys."
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