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Download Artist of the Floating World epub

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Download Artist of the Floating World epub
ISBN: 1417639830
ISBN13: 978-1417639830
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Literary
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Language: English
Publisher: San Val (September 1989)
ePUB size: 1100 kb
FB2 size: 1729 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 768
Other Formats: azw lrf mbr doc

Thirty years between writing his latest novel "The Buried Giant" and "An Artist of the Floating World". After reading "The Buried Giant" and most of his other works, I stumbled upon "An Artist of the Floating World" and thought I'd give it a try and I'm glad I did but my final feelings were quite mixed. It almost seems as if the two works were written in reverse order. "An Artist of the Floating World" seems as if it was written by an older man , someone close to Ishiguro's age and "The Buried Giant" by a much younger writer. Both books are somewhat melancholy in style and tone, not what I'd call "uplifting" or optimistic and both are beautifully executed in Ishiguro's own inimitable style. 'The Buried Giant" might have been written by an English author but "An Artist of the Floating World" could only have been written by someone Japanese. All of Ishiguro's works should be read at least twice for full effect.
The main character attempts to remain convinced that if you fight for what you believe, there is nothing to apologize for, whatever the consequences of your misguided beliefs. Story is simply told, yet manages to hold the reader’s interest. The secondary characters help illuminate Japanese society during the early post-war years.

Why is the main character’s grandson so obnoxious, and where does the idea of being a “man”, so important to grandfather/grandson communication, fit in? Sometimes it almost seems like comic relief, or a means of making fun of the grandfather. not worthy of the author.
In his ambitious youth, a now older man made a commitment to an idealistic cause, which for a time brought him acclaim and power in his field. But in his maturity, this man realizes that his youthful cause had a disastrous effect on his family life. Furthermore, he sees that his youthful ideals are no longer respected by the rising generation. This mature man does not regret or forsake his ambitious nature. But he does ultimately see that his idealism and ambitions combined to support what history has shown to be a misguided failure.

This plot summary applies to Ishiguro's impressive second novel, AN ARTIST OF THE FLOATING WORLD. There, Masuji Ono, a master painter, develops and uses his talents to support imperialistic Japan. And, it applies to THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, Ishiguro's terrific third novel, where Stevens, a dedicated butler, provides great service to a disgraced aristocratic household. IMHO, AAotFW is a good novel. But it also reads like a warm-up for TRotD.

In AAotFW, the talented Ono is initially schooled as an artist of the floating world. This is "the night-time world of pleasure, entertainment, and drink which formed the backdrop for all our paintings." It offers "...the finest, most fragile beauty an artist can hope to capture..." But the youthful and idealistic Ono, shocked by poverty in his native city, allows politics to enter his painting. Ultimately, this becomes both the reason for his early prominence and later problems.

Ishiguro organizes AAotFW into four sections: October 1948; April 1949; November 1949; and June 1950. In each section, he uses the dilemma of Noriko, Ono's initially unmarried daughter, to explore and layer the issues of Ono's life, which include artistic integrity, fame and authority, misguided idealism and ambition, guilt and responsibility, and the disappearance and reformulation of the past. In all four sections, Noriko's situation evolves with time. Meanwhile, Ono's concerns become increasingly nuanced and layered. Ultimately, he recognizes that what he once viewed as a highpoint in his professional life--the moment he surpassed his former teacher and father figure--was also his moment of classic hubris.

This is a good novel, albeit not quite as focused as TRotD. Regardless, rounded up to five stars and recommended.
What does it mean to be an artist? Does being an artist carry social responsibilities? These very big questions are hinted at throughout this delicate and interesting story. Moreover, these very big questions are framed in the context of a very big time in Japan, as it tries to come to terms with its regrets regarding its behavior during WWII, and as it observes its self-image changing.

Such big issues had me expecting big ideas. By the end of this very enjoyable book, however, I was disappointed. While the author poses some very big questions -- and paints some excellent images -- he seems content to suggest small-minded answers. While the very attractive writing is wonderful, the modesty of the ideas seems at odds with the grandeur of the issues. It's a lovely novel, nevertheless.
The protagonist and narrator is Masuji Ono and it is set 3 years after the end of WWII. Ono has managed to hold on to his assets and it begins as he is negotiating for the marriage of his youngest daughter. The novel is constantly going back and forth in his life as he is currently elderly in the telling of this novel.

In the buildup to WWII, Ono is a promising young artist who breaks away from his teacher and his way of doing art. He becomes involved in making propagandistic art before and during the war and becomes an advisor to the Unpatriotic Acts Committee and even turns in one of his own students. Throughout the novel he comes to terms with the mistakes he made when he was young even though he did them for the best of reasons. He begins to think his daughter may not be able to get married because of his past.

He has many fond memories of what he calls the pleasure district and where he spent much time as a young man. Since a lot of his city has been bombed and remains in ruins this district is obviously gone except for one bar which only he and one other man frequent. He has retired from his life as an artist and his son and wife are both dead but he is a grandfather by his oldest daughter who he only sees once a year or so.

It's a story about the way life changes and societal attitudes change over time. It's also about a man looking back on his life and his mistakes and taking responsibility for them. You will be surprised at what he does take responsibility for and what he does not.