Today’s exciting news that Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature is great news for both the author and the literature market. I was worried that, with the recent surge in popularity of her novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood may take the title. Popularity often wins over true literary prowess, but this latest accolade for the Man Booker winner proves that Ishiguro is a real genius.
I first encountered Ishiguro when I read Never Let Me Go, the eery dystopia in which a group of children uncover their singular nature and try to change the course of their appointed fate. A true experience, I was captivated by the raw bleakness of the novel, and how the author provoked numerous discussions through even the most minor of topics. From there, my passion grew, and I became fascinated by the writer’s inventive story lines and passionate exploration of the consequences of all our actions.
Permanent secretary of the Swedish academy which awards the prize, Sara Danius describes his work as a combination of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, with a little Marcel Proust thrown in; but the truth is, that Ishiguro is in a league of his own. His works are timeless. Although many, such as The Remains of the Day, are set in specific time periods, the emotions they evoke and truths they uncover can be applied to practically anyone.
Alongside being a novelist, Ishiguro is a screenwriter and renowned short story creator, putting his powers of observation and exceptional flare for creating realistic but thought-provoking dialogue into every piece of art he crafts. In researching the writer, I even found out that he has written song lyrics, which surprises me somewhat, although I can imagine that his taut, tense descriptions and inventive characterisation can transfer to lyrics, where swift depiction is a highly prized skill.
A sharp observer of human nature, Ishiguro truly deserves this prize, and hopefully this will inspire even greater feats of literary brilliance in the future. His most recent novel, The Buried Giant, was a fantastical, invigorating exploration of human nature, which deserves to be followed by another masterpiece.