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The Tale of Genji
Murasaki Shikibu, Royall Tyler
She Rises
Kate Worsley
Nocturnes - I’ve never been a fan of short stories but I have read a couple of collections. This is my second and I’m beginning to get the feel of them. I’m starting to enjoy the fact that the stories are short and finding them satisfying at the same time. Before I found it very hard to allow myself to enjoy them, or to even really think about them much because I couldn’t see the point in trying to get into something that was so short.

Kazuo Ishiguro is a very good author – a very polished, articulate writer of the English language. He was born in Japan but lived in the UK since he was five years old. His best known novels are The Remains of the Day and Never Let You Go, both of which have been made into films. I haven’t read neither of them, but some years ago I did read The Unconsoled which I didn’t like as such. However, I’ve always wanted to read more of his works because there was just something about how he wrote that makes me want more.

He reminds me in a way of Ian McEwan – both incredibly articulate in how they present their story, but their skill with language slightly supersedes the plot.

Nocturnes is a collection of stories based around the theme of music, where the narrators are mostly all musicians of some sort. A ‘nocturne’ is a piece of music that is inspired by the night, often played in the evening and are tranquil and lyrical. They can also be sad or gloomy.

Each of the stories in this collection features similar themes of unfulfilled ambitions. The loss of youthful dreams and missed opportunities – all lost as the summer of their youth passes over into the darker autumn years.

My favourite story was probably “Nocturne” but I cannot say that I really any one over the others. These are well written and enjoyable stories. They did leave me feeling a little I suppose… thoughtful about all those dreams and ambitions that I have had, still have and seeing time slowly creep up on me. What happened to it all? So they were a little sad at times too.

I liked how each of these stories also seemed to be connected in little ways to each other – perhaps a name will pop up, or a place, or a character. They are all separate stories but they are very well put together as if they are individual movements in an orchestral piece. The book has to be read as a whole, rather then just a collection of similar stories.

I’m not 100% sold on short stories, but they do make a welcome break. I miss not being able to get to know the characters or live in that world. Short stories from that point of view, will always be lacking. Yet I admire an author’s ability to write such a well rounded piece in so little pages and still get a sense of personality and story across.

It’s a nice little book, an enjoyable read and if you enjoy short stories or you want to relax into something light but not too airy, I would recommend to you this book.