Friday, December 18, 2020

Book Beginnings: An Artist of the Floating World

An Artist of the Floating World
by Kazuo Ishiguro

Vintage, 2012; First published 1986

Opening Lines
If on a sunny day you climb the steep path leading up from the little wooden bridge still referred to around here as 'the Bridge of Hesitation', you will not have to walk far before the roof of my house becomes visible between the tops of two gingko trees. Even if it did not occupy such a commanding position on the hill, the house would still stand out from all the others nearby, so that as you come up the path, you may find yourself wondering what sort of wealthy man owns it.

About the Book
In the face of the misery in his homeland, the artist Masuji Ono was unwilling to devote his art solely to the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II. 
Now, as the mature Ono struggles through the aftermath of that war, his memories of his youth and of the “floating world”—the nocturnal world of pleasure, entertainment, and drink—offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise. Indicted by society for its defeat and reviled for his past aesthetics, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward but, above all, a human being. (Publisher's description)

Initial Thoughts
This is a book I've had on my must-read list for many years, and I finally pulled it out and started it last month. I'm enjoying it, but it's taking longer than I expected to finish. Ishiguro's style in this early novel is a bit meandering, very much like that opening paragraph, and tends to wander around and double back on itself. Enjoyable, but now and then I start wishing he'd just focus and get to the point. 

Have a good weekend, everyone.
Stay safe. Stay calm. And happy reading!

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.



  1. I think the book I just finished (The Boiling Season by Christopher Hebert) was compared to another book by this author in the Amazon summary. So interesting seeing the name right away again! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your holidays!

  2. The visual images brought forth from the words kept me reading...and wanting to know more. Thanks for sharing.

  3. That opening sentence is beautiful and intriguing.

  4. I have another of Kazuo Ishiguro's books on my TBR shelf that has been waiting awhile for me to read. I like the imagery from the opening you shared. Thank you! I hope you have a great week.


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