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Publisher's Summary

The story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a story where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II.

©1982 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)1999 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Delicate prose - intense book

Any additional comments?

This is not the type of book that can generate a juicy recommendation.

The prose in this book is very delicate, never mentioning the tragedie in Nagasaki directly.
The protagonist in this story (who is also the narrator) doesn't relate to her own experience directly, but only as a listener to her family at the time, and by watching a close friends attempt to move to 'America'.
Layer by Layer, it creats an intense picture.
The author (through this story) carefully tells a story about the old Japanese way, which trigered a lot of emotions in me. (as a non Japenese reader) and another emotional stroy about parental choices.

The narrator did a very good job.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narration vs performance

I am only part way through listening to this novel--and I have to say that I find the narrator's performance of the voices of the difference characters extremely distracting to the point of being annoying, and I may have to resort to reading the book. The voice is OK when the narration is in the first person, but the voices she uses for the father and for Sachiko are overdone. I have had this experience to a certain extent in other audio books, in fact by calling the narration a "performance" it implies that the listener wants an audio performance as if it were a play, rather than having someone simply read the words. I like to be able to form my own interpretation of the characters based on the words of the author, and narrations like this one make that very hard to do.

Perhaps audio version of books could be differentiated between having them "read" and having them "performed."

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Moments of shocking possibilities in tedious read

I wanted to love this early novel of our latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I can see that the writing is extraordinary. The various interpretations seem brilliant. Unfortunately, however, I struggled with boredom during long sequences, particularly those having to do with Agata-San. It's possible that the unpleasant voice used by the narrator for this one character was a factor. Otherwise, I thought her performance was excellent.

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A Rich Tapestry....

Ishiguro delicately weaves a story with present tense narrative and flashbacks, bringing the grief of a suicide alongside the ravages of WWII. A great addition to Japanese literature.