Sunday, Dec 17, 2017 | Last Update : 03:53 AM IST
The Swedish Academy thinks he is a mixture of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka with a bit of Marcel Proust thrown in.
The Nobel committee has made a choice for the literature prize this year that would be better understood. After having given last year’s award to a balladeer in Bob Dylan by seemingly stretching the rules and the year before to a writer outside the conventional boundaries in the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, the committee may have settled on a more straightforward and apolitical choice in an English writer in Kazuo Ishiguro, even if he is as unusual as a Japanese boy born in Nagasaki in 1954, a city with a very sad history in having been bombed in World War II. The world of English literature may not be unique when it comes to the several languages of the world, but it boasts of a reach any other language would be proud to possess.
“The important thing is making the story fly,” Ishiguro had said of his own work and which he may have achieved best in his Remains of the Day, published in 1989, and which is still recalled as his best work — ironic, reflective and precise. It is deemed Ishiguro’s best literary gift that he leaves many things unsaid that are as deep as what he says with delectable restraint. The Swedish Academy thinks he is a mixture of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka with a bit of Marcel Proust thrown in. Such is the range of genres in which his seven books are categorised that his meriting the award can be seen in many of his efforts. That he is also a fan of Dylan might also please the Academy although one would daresay they would have far less of a problem communicating with him about attending the ceremony and accepting the honour in its highest traditions. Also, the prize goes this time on pure literary merit in the more conventional sense.