Sunday, October 03, 2010

6 books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro's novels include Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, which won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an award-winning film. Ishiguro’s work has been translated into forty languages. In 1995, he received an Order of the British Empire for service to literature, and in 1998 was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

He told O, The Oprah Magazine about the books that made a difference to him.

One novel on the list:
Right Ho, Jeeves
by P.G. Wodehouse

The best Jeeves novel, and as such a masterpiece of comic escapism. The plot is standard Wodehouse: a country-house farce in which Bertie Wooster attempts to help his pathetic geek friend, Gussie, find the courage to propose to his true love. It's hard to say why this is great literature. There's no attempt to engage with the complexities of life. But the book does several things supremely well: There's Bertie's first-person voice, a pitch-perfect mix of posh English and American Jazz Age slang; it has a beautiful structure, with one hilarious, expertly staged setup folding seamlessly into the next. And Wodehouse does make you believe (at least momentarily) in a world where trivial problems have the status of huge ones, and the huge ones have vanished altogether. Pure delight.
Read about another title on Ishiguro's list.

Right Ho, Jeeves is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best disastrous performances in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue