Narrators: Mark Bramhall, Kirby Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe, and Simon Vance
Source: Sacramento Library
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 6 hours, 39 minutes
Pages: 240 (print version)
Challenges: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis (from the book’s description): A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life… A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him… A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he’s only just met… A gifted, under-appreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career… A young cellist whose tutor promises to “unwrap” his talent….Passion or necessity, or the often uneasy combination of the two, determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp.
Overall Impression: It was okay-good-kinda-? I don’t really have much to elaborate on in this review, actually. I thought the stories were interesting little snippets of the characters lives with some well-written bits and a few unusual clunkers from the almost-always-eloquent Ishiguro. The themes of music and loss and night were nicely built upon throughout. But there wasn’t anything astounding about the stories either. I found myself just driving and listening and not thinking too much about the stories. Each story was sort of sad and sentimental (with some funny bits thrown in), which is what I prefer in a short story, but none of them made me want to shove this book in the hands of everyone I know (see: Jhumpa Lahiri). I’m wondering if Ishiguro’s writing is better suited to full-length novels instead of short stories. I think his beautiful character development takes longer than a short story might allow for.
Positives: A nice break from some of the very long audio books I’ve been plowing through lately. I found the stories pleasantly sad, if that’s even a thing.
Negatives: Not enough character development. I didn’t learn anything new either. A lot of times I think short stories are perfect for revealing different bits of human nature, and I’m not sure I got this here.
Narration: All the narrators did a fine job. Vance and Bramhall were especially outstanding (as per usual).
Other books I’ve read by Kazuo Ishiguro:
Never Let Me Go (review)
Remains of the Day (no review)
Other books I’ve listened to narrated by the narrators:
Mark Bramhall: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (review)
Kirby Heyborne: Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner (review)
Lincoln Hoppe: none
Simon Vance: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (review), The Art Thief by Noah Charney (review), and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (review)
Other blogger opinions:
books i done read: “I’m pretty bummed about this, yo. This is like the reverse of discovering a new, delicious author. We aren’t NMEs 4 Life, Ishiguro, but my love for you is on probation.”
The Asylum: “Nocturnes retains some aspects of Ishiguro’s world which are familiar to us – the elegant, understated language used by his narrators, the sense of people speaking not just at cross purposes but in active denial of communication, characters paralysed by the past.”
Fantasy Book Critic: “Overall with two A++ stories, two A stories and a good B like beginning one, Nocturnes is a highly recommended collection and a good introduction to Mr. Ishiguro’s art.”