‘For me, England is a mythical place’ – an interview with Kazuo Ishiguro

I have directed you to this excellent interview with Kazuo Ishiguro before but please read it again.

From his semi-detached house in suburban Golders Green, in north London, Kazuo Ishiguro has made himself an architect of singular, self-enclosed worlds. His writing traps us inside strange skulls. He spends, he says, around five years on each of his books and the first couple of these years, each time, involves little circumnavigations of the imaginative space of his novel, marking boundaries, testing structures, making himself at home. All of his quietly unsettling, intimate vantages have foundations in the voices that narrate them and he spends a good deal of time, too, ‘auditioning’ these voices, listening to different possibilities, before he settles on one.

The voice of his new, oppressively brilliant novel, Never Let Me Go, is that of Kathy H, who at 31 is looking back on her curious English boarding-school days at a place called Hailsham. Kathy’s world seems so logical and mundane, the surface of her language so steady and familiar, that it takes the reader a little time to discover the disturbing facts of the lives she describes. The first clue comes in her use of simple little euphemisms: she is a ‘carer’, these days, she explains, she looks after ‘donors’ before they ‘complete’; she remains in thrall to the ‘guardians’ who taught her at school.

The full implications of these charged little power relations emerge from her account very slowly. It is, hopefully, not giving away too much of Ishiguro’s meticulous dystopia to say that Kathy and all the rest of the children who were at Hailsham are clones and that their macabre stories expand, in a way Kafka would have recognised, to become a metaphor for all of our lives.

Read the rest here.


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