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Publisher's Summary

One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character.

A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life... A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him... A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he's only just met... A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career... A young cellist whose tutor promises to "unwrap" his talent....

Passion or necessity, or the often uneasy combination of the two, determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp.

An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro's acclaimed works of fiction.

©2009 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"A brilliant new book . . . Art, its dangers, its pains and its gaiety [are] all topics seriously considered in this accomplished book." (Frank Kermode, London Review of Books)
"It is hardly surprising that a writer as resonant, and as emotionally pitch-perfect, as Kazuo Ishiguro should be so keen on music.... [The title story's] set-up is so beautifully engineered that it left me simultaneously gasping in admiration and shaking with laughter." ( Sunday Telegraph)
"These stories come up on you quietly, in Ishiguro's strangely weightless style [and] haunt you for days . . . A nocturne is a piece of music inspired by, or evocative of, the night.... These little pieces could only be the work of a great composer." ( Evening Standard)

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What listeners say about Nocturnes

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow!

This is a wonderfully written and beautifully read collection of semi-related short stories by the acclaimed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. The first story was so powerful I had to wait awhile before I listened to the next. The stories are about musicians, fame, (mis)communication, understanding and love. Of course, Ishiguro's use of "unreliable" narrators is a common factor. If you have enjoyed Ishiguro's prior works, you'll enjoy this.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Deeply drawn insights into the Musician’s World

Ishiguro’s five tales embody the real purpose of Literary Fiction. There are no car chases, surprise plot twists, or gory crimes, but rather observations of the minds and hearts of finely drawn characters struggling to navigate their choices to survive in a challenging World.

He takes you into their reactions and feelings as they relate their various life moments in such a way that you can connect the dots to your own life. I am not a musician but I have had enough experiences around Music that I can appreciate the way Music can totally dominate every aspect of the working musician’s life, his struggles and triumphs. The simple stories in Nocturnes: sad, silly and sentimental, transport the reader into this uniquely touching universe.

Just where the serious reader of Fiction wants to go.
Four Stars. A very enjoyable experience.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

I highly recommend this set of short stories - wonderful prose, delightful tales, well performed .

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great material, average delivery

Though based on a common theme, there was a great diversity in storyline of each.

1 person found this helpful

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A masterpiece

These stories were extremely moving for me, and most admirable. Especially the first story is haunting and the narration is spectacular, more than masterful.

1 person found this helpful

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Very Inferior Ishiguro Work

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I am mystified by the good reviews. I can't imagine anyone enjoying or being touched by these stories. To me, they had none of the depth, subtlety, and originality of his novels. I didn't care about any of the characters except the Italian musician.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

The narrator who read the Italian musician was very good, but the one who narrated the supposedly comedic (not) story had no comic timing, and the one who narrated the plastic surgery story read so slowly, it made you want to scream.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I have read all of Kazuo Ishiguro's novels and am a big fan, so I was very disappointed and also angry that I had wasted my time and money on this book.

Any additional comments?

Why is there an audiobook of this and not one of his masterpiece, Remains of the Day?