Long before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, Japan-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro was regarded as a writer of contemporary classic novels. His book “The Remains of the Day” put him on the literary map when it was first published in 1989; a film adaptation of the book starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson was also released to critical acclaim in 1993 by the legendary Merchant Ivory film production company. Both the novel and film earned Ishiguro comparisons with classic authors such as E.M. Forster and Henry James.
Writing as a Fallback Career
By his own reckoning, however, Ishiguro was by no means destined to become a successful author; indeed, he realized his vocation as a writer relatively late in life after failing to a launch a music career as a singer-songwriter. Along with Ian McEwan, Ishiguro was one of the first graduates of the University of East Anglia’s MA in Creative Writing program. Then headed by the distinguished British novelist Malcolm Bradbury, the program has since become the most prestigious creative writing program in the UK.
A Distinguished Career
After graduating from UEA, Ishiguro released a slew of critically acclaimed novels. But success has never slowed the author down: His new novel is already a best-seller and a success with critics and fans alike.
Entitled “Klara and the Sun,” its narrative arc details the story of a machine run by artificial intelligence. The novel questions our society’s infatuation with social media; as an examination of human nature, the book also examines the moral issues underpinning a culture in which accelerating technology is quickly outpacing our ability to update our ethical framework.
First Steps Towards Success
Although he pursued writing as a fallback career option, Ishiguro immediately took to a literary career with the confidence of a natural. He turned his master’s thesis at UEA into the novel “A Pale View of the Hills” and managed to sell the book to the prestigious Faber and Faber publishing house in the early 1980s.
But it was “The Remains of the Day” that really put Ishiguro at the forefront of Britain’s literary scene. Detailing the life of a servant at one of England’s upper class country houses, the novel examines our relationship to both memory and to the moral implications of forgetting or denying our agency in events.
By the 1990s, Ishiguro was perhaps Britain’s foremost man of letters. His reputation hasn’t flagged since, and fans have eagerly awaited a new book from the author for years. It’s clear that “Klara and the Sun” hasn’t disappointed Ishiguro’s most diehard supporters; indeed, it may end up being the author’s most successful book.