Sunday, October 3, 2010

Six books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro's novels include Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, which won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an award-winning film. Ishiguro’s work has been translated into forty languages. In 1995, he received an Order of the British Empire for service to literature, and in 1998 was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

He told O, The Oprah Magazine about the books that made a difference to him.

One novel on the list:
Blood Meridian
by Cormac McCarthy

When I arrived in England as a small boy from Japan, I promptly became obsessed with cowboys. I never fell out of love with Westerns, and became a huge fan of the great films of Ford, Hawks, Leone, Eastwood, and Peckinpah. But where were their literary equivalents? To an outsider, this is a gaping hole in American letters. But I found one magnificent novel, a work of unambiguously high ambition that takes on the myths of the frontier. The reach of McCarthy's book is such that it goes way beyond America: It stares unflinchingly at human nature itself—at the darkness and violence from which we're built, individually and societally. The story follows a gang of gunfighters who rampage around a Texas already scarred by butchery. Commissioned to slaughter hostile Native Americans, they are paid by the scalp, and soon cease to care where the scalps come from. There are staggering images of savagery, many of them hauntingly beautiful. Not for everyone (my wife always stops at the first massacre), but this is a monumental work of art.
Read about the other books on Ishiguro's list.

Blood Meridian
is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel and is among Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns, Maile Meloy's six best books, and FDavid Foster Wallace's five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

Read more on Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. The novel appears among the (London) Times' 100 best books of the last decade.

--Marshal Zeringue