Kazuo Ishiguro shares a preoccupation with music common amongst his generation of writers, but he is unusual in his awareness of the representational problems that occur when writing about music. In The Unconsoled (1995), the traditional power of music as a consoling discourse that can heal the traumatized subject is deflated because in the modern world consolation resides not in the consummate moment of artistic performance, but in the multitudinous moments that comprise everyday life. The ‘album’ of interrelated stories Nocturnes (2009) may likewise be located within a tradition of fiction in which music is a key consideration at a thematic and formal level. Nocturnes is a profoundly musical text that functions as a subtle exposition and an affirmation of what it means to be ‘human’ in the modern world.
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