A Visiting Artist

Kazuo Ishiguro

When I heard Kazuo Ishiguro was coming to Denver, I panicked and ordered “The Remains of the Day” as quickly as I could from the library, having never read a word by the man.

At first I thought I’d be put off by a story about a butler, remembering the sweeping years of his life. And then I’d think of my love for “Downton Abbey” and getting to really see what goes on behind the curtain. For, in these stories, it is the wizard that sits in front of the curtain, while his world of staff and supporters keep the gears going from behind the red velvet.

“The Remains of the Day” was a similar story that involved love, devotion, tradition, and what I would call a staunchly British heartbreak. This magnificent story was first written in the span of four weeks.

Four weeks.

I envied the man. But as he took to the stage and proceeded to entertain his readers with stories of memory, with allegoric tales of “burried giants”, and his ties to Britain, Japan, and the atomic bomb, it became very clear that yes, that book had been written in four weeks. It had such focus and such depth, yet had the slight feeling of it coming to the person reflecting (both the writer and the character) in a quick manner; that this was something that had not been dwelled on for ages, but something that was dredged up, cleaned off and set a short distance away.

It was truly an honor to be able to sit in on Ishiguro’s talk. It will not be soon forgotten.

“But then, I suppose, when with the benefit of hindsight one begins to search one’s past for such ‘turning points’, one is apt to start seeing them everywhere.”
-Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
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