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Kazuo Ishiguro

Therapeutic writer

"I believe there's something to be said for a story having a rhythm and a pattern. It can be therapeutic, it can be a way to make sense of things." (Klara and the Sun, p. 221)

Kazuo Ishiguro's works often delve into themes of memory, time, and self-delusion. Here's how his writing style and themes can be considered therapeutic:

Exploration of Memory and Time: Ishiguro's works often explore the concept of memory and time. His characters frequently grapple with their pasts and the impact of time on their lives. This exploration can be therapeutic for readers, encouraging them to reflect on their own memories and the passage of time.

Self-Delusion and Self-Understanding: Many of Ishiguro's characters are marked by self-delusion, gradually coming to understand their own failings and misconceptions. This can be therapeutic for readers, prompting them to examine their own self-perceptions and encouraging self-understanding.

Empathy and Understanding: Ishiguro's characters are often complex and deeply flawed, but he portrays them with empathy and understanding. This can be therapeutic for readers, encouraging them to cultivate empathy and understanding towards others.

Quiet Reflection: Ishiguro's writing style is characterized by its quiet, reflective tone. His works often lack dramatic action, instead focusing on the inner lives of his characters. This can be therapeutic for readers, offering a space for quiet reflection.

Dealing with Loss and Regret: Many of Ishiguro's works deal with themes of loss and regret. His characters often grapple with lost opportunities and the weight of their past decisions. This can be therapeutic for readers, helping them to process their own feelings of loss and regret.

Coping with Change and Uncertainty: Ishiguro's works often explore themes of change and uncertainty, with characters facing shifting realities and uncertain futures. This can be therapeutic for readers, helping them to cope with change and uncertainty in their own lives.

In these ways, Kazuo Ishiguro's writing can be seen as therapeutic, offering readers a space for reflection, understanding, and emotional processing.

About Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro is a British novelist of Japanese origin, known for his beautifully crafted narratives that often explore themes of memory, time, and self-delusion. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, on November 8, 1954, and moved to England at the age of five.

Ishiguro studied at the University of Kent, where he received a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy. He later pursued a master's degree in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Ishiguro's first novel, A Pale View of Hills, was published in 1982 and won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. His subsequent novels, including An Artist of the Floating World (1986) and The Remains of the Day (1989), have also been highly acclaimed. The Remains of the Day won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989 and was later adapted into a successful film.

His other notable works include Never Let Me Go (2005), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and adapted into a film, and The Buried Giant (2015), a departure from his earlier works, delving into the realm of fantasy and mythology.

Ishiguro's writing is characterized by its understated and precise style, and his narratives often involve unreliable narrators who gradually reveal their failings and self-deceptions. His works explore themes of memory, loss, and the passage of time, and they often grapple with questions of personal and national identity.

In 2017, Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, with the Swedish Academy praising him as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."

His most recent novel, Klara and the Sun, was published in 2021.

Kazuo Ishiguro's contributions to literature have established him as one of the most celebrated and influential writers of his generation.

Therapeutic Quotations

Klara and the Sun:

"Josie came hurrying to me. She put her arms around me and held me. When I gazed over the child’s head, I saw Manager smiling happily, and the Mother, her face drawn and serious, looking down to search in her shoulder bag." (pp. 42,44)

Never Let Me Go: "You see, because it's stuck there, it's started to attract a lot of rubbish. Have you noticed how wherever you find a piece of rubbish, you find more rubbish? It's like it's saying to other rubbish: 'Come and join me, I'm rubbish too.' It's a pity, because apart from that, it's quite a nice pond." (p. 68)

The Unconsoled: "I think it's therapeutic to put things in their place. To get things sorted out. There's something very therapeutic about it." (p. 120)

The Remains of the Day: "I can't help feeling that it's healthy to have a change of scene after such a long time. I believe it can be quite therapeutic." (p. 48)

When We Were Orphans: "I believe it's important to establish a rapport with the person one is photographing. It can be quite therapeutic." (p. 75)

An Artist of the Floating World: "It's no bad thing that a young artist experiment a little. Amongst other things, he is able to get some of his more superficial interests out of his system that way. Then he can return to more serious work with more commitment than ever. No, it's no bad thing to experiment. It's all part of being young. It's no bad thing at all." (pp. 162-163)

A Pale View of Hills: "As the summer grew hotter, the stretch of wasteground outside our apartment block became increasingly unpleasant. Much of the earth lay dried and cracked, while water which had accumulated during the rainy season remained in the deeper ditches and craters. The ground bred all manner of insects, and the mosquitoes in particular seemed everywhere. In the apartments there was the usual complaining, but over the years the residents had come to accept the wasteground for what it was." (pp. 54-55)

The Buried Giant:

"'Father Jonus,' Beatrice said, 'now you’ve seen the boy’s wound, tell us if it’s clean and will heal on its own.' Father Jonus’s eyes were closed, and he was still breathing heavily, but he said quite calmly: 'I believe it will heal if he takes good care." (p. 138)

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