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12 October, 2017 11:42:30 AM
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Kazuo Ishiguro and the Nobel Literature prize

Ishiguro’s novels are often written in the first person, with unreliable narrators who are in denial about truths that are gradually revealed to the readers
Masum Billah
Kazuo Ishiguro and the Nobel Literature prize

Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese origin British novelist has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature for the year 2017. Hats off to Ishiguro for highlighting the curse of war, its aftermath and the background. Waging war is the luxury of the rich and powerful who either pretends to hear nothing or hears everything. Mankind witnessed two greatest curses in the civilization –the First World War and the Second World War. General people did not have any nod towards these destructive wars.  World Wars have given the taste of   nuclear weapons to mankind interestingly invented by men. It was on August 6, 1945 when Hiroshima, the city of Japan and August 9, 1945 Nagasaki, another city of Japan witnessed the cruelest form of human casualties caused by fellow humans. A great author like Ishiguro must have been moved by the cruelest casualties his original birthplace Nagasaki experienced and that he tends to reflect through his creations. This attempt has drawn the attention of the Global Body ‘Nobel Committee.’
 “Memory, time and self-delusion” are the themes going through his works. `A Pale View of the Hills’ was his first novel which got published in 1982. In 1983, he was included in Granta magazines best of young British writers list, joining luminaries such as Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie.  His second novel ‘    An Artist of the Floating World’ appeared in 1986. `The Remains of the Day’ appeared in 1989 won him the Booker prize the same year and was adapted into a film. Ishiguro, 62, is best known for his novels “The Remains of the Day, that talks about a butler serving an English lord in the years leading up to World War II, .“Never Let Me Go,” a melancholy dystopian love story set in a British boarding school. He has obsessively returned to the same themes in his work, including the fallibility of memory, mortality and the porous nature of time. His deep understanding of the social conventions and affectations of his adopted homeland shaped his third novel. His novels are often written in the first person, with unreliable narrators who are in denial about truths that are gradually revealed to the reader. The resonance in his plots often comes from the rich subtext — the things left unsaid, and gaps between the narrator’s perception and reality. The thirty-five year span of Ishiguro’s career has won wide recognition for this emotionally restrained prose.

 Ishiguro was born in 1954 in Nagasaki, the city which witnessed cruelest bombing and one of the most tragic histories the world has so far met. He left Nagasaki for Surrey, United Kingdom with his two sisters and father who was an oceanographer. He was then only five years old but could not forget his motherland. He used to draw the picture of his mother land, its nature, people, the victims of Second World War and so. He has grown up with these scattered ideas in his mind. He made a visit to his mother when he grew to be a youth. Mr. Ishiguro attended Working County Grammar School, a school that he told The Guardian was “probably the last chance to get a flavor of a bygone English society that was already rapidly fading. “After studying English and philosophy at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, he spent a year writing fiction, eventually gaining a Master of Arts in creative writing, and studied with writers like Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

Ishiguro, author of novels including The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, was praised by the Swedish Academy for novels which “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world” and were driven by a “great emotional force”. Addressing Ishiguro’s Nobel win, the former poet laureate Andrew Motion, said: “Ishiguro’s imaginative world has the great virtue and value of being simultaneously highly individual and “He is someone who is very interested in understanding the past, but he is not a Proustian writer, he is not out to redeem the past, he is exploring what you have to forget in order to survive in the first place as an individual or as a society.”

Franz Kafka’s books mostly focus on the shift from a normal life, rationality and control to a state of total helplessness, uncertainty, irrationality and the inevitable drift towards fatality. One of the most important themes in Jane Austen's writings is society and a woman's place in it. The theme of Kazuo Ishiguro’s creations is a blending of the themes of Austen and Kafka as has been claimed by Sara Damius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. She continues ‘but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix’. Ishiguro has developed an aesthetic universe all his own. His most recent novel, “The Buried Giant,” defies expectations once again. A fantasy story set in Arthurian Britain, the novel centers on an older couple, Axl and Beatrice, who leave their village in search of their missing son, and encounter an old knight. Though the story was a full-blown fantasy, with ogres and a dragon, it was also a parable that explored many of the themes that have preoccupied Mr. Ishiguro throughout his career, including the fragile nature of individual and collective memory. Another feature touches his writings i.e. the stories and events employed in his write ups leave no conclusion. They rather engage their readers to reach a conclusion or find out a solution to the riddle.
In response to learn his feelings about winning this global award Ishiguro says,  “This is a very weird time in the world, we’ve sort of lost faith in our political system, we’ve lost faith in our leaders, we’re not quite sure of our values, and I just hope that my winning the Nobel prize contributes something that engenders good will and peace,” he said. “It reminds us of how international the world is, and we all have to contribute things from our different corners of the world.” Various parts of the world witness conflicts compelling millions of humans to flee their own homeland with a view to saving their lives and escaping torture inflicted upon women bodies. Innocent babies are killed mercilessly which simply expresses the brutal power hiding the humanity. The humanity must be exposed and it must reign in the globe as the Noble winner Ishiguro wants to resonate in his significant literary creations. Let humanity prevail banishing the brutality. Le this planet be suitable place to reside only for humans.

The writer works for BRAC Education Program and formerly worked in cadet colleges and Rajuk College
Email: masumbillah65@gmail.com

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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