“I may be young, but I can see it so clearly, that this artistic life is full of nothing but doubt and self-loathing, and will never give you anything real, anything you can hold in your hand and keep forever. It’s a slippery fish that might swim off at any moment, but it also has such attraction you can’t help running after it, like someone possessed.”
– Who Murdered the Month of May, from Ten Loves, Zhang Yueran
Photographs fade, scores are lost, art works collect dust, literature go out of print, dances are forgotten..
Basically every method of preservation we employ, despite their quality and quantity, is ultimately still impermanent.
They may last for decades and centuries, but what about the millennium after this, and the millenniums after, and the light years after that?
Everything that comes from non-being will eventually go back to that. The cycle of life.
Yet, we continue to create and preserve, taking our chance with making a mark in various fields of expression, almost as if the meaning of our existence can be validated by the futility of theirs.
5 short stories, delicately interwoven into a fine fabric of jazz-like smoothness (I have a feeling Mr Ishiguro is into jazz too, like Mr Murakami!).
Short stories usually make me feel incomplete, either because the author has chosen to leave the plot unfinished, hanging, in suspense, or because the story is simply, too short. Hence I’ve always gone for full-length novels when given a choice. Unless the author is someone I adore (like Mr Murakami, and now, Mr Ishiguro).
I got this book only because the theme was Musical (I believe I’ve also mentioned that I tend to judge books by their covers and titles).
The stories, although separate, have very strong and similar undertones, which provided an undercurrent and the momentum to carry the reader through. It actually made me want to continue to the next short story, to find out where this undercurrent would take me next. Needless to say, the theme of music resonated rather strongly with my innermost being as well.
In conclusion, Mr Ishiguro has composed a seemingly fragmented, yet subtly interlinked, piece of music, with words.