1954–, English novelist, b. Nagasaki. His family left Japan in 1960 and immigrated to England, where he attended the universities of Kent (B.A., 1978) and East Anglia (M.A., 1980). Ishiguro, who began his literary career writing short stories, creates subtle, finely crafted fiction that combines precise evocations of time and place with psychologically acute character studies. His themes often concern memory, denial, mortality, and the nature of time. With an identity neither completely English nor fully Japanese, he has characterized himself as an international novelist. His first two novels, A Pale View of Hills
(1982) and An Artist of the Floating World
(1986, Whitbread Prize), have Japanese narrators and settings. His best-known novel, The Remains of the Day
(1989, Booker Prize; film 1993), has a quintessentially English protagonist and setting: an emotionally repressed, self-deceiving, and politically naive butler serving in an aristocratic country household between the two World Wars. All quite different in plot and tone, his later novels are The Unconsoled
(1995); When We Were Orphans
(2000), a kind of detective story; Never Let Me Go
(2005), a dystopian sci-fi love story; and The Buried Giant
(2015), a dreamlike Arthurian fantasy. His later short stories include those in Nocturnes
(2009). He also has written television dramas. Ishiguro was the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.
See studies by B. W. Shaffer (1998) and M. Petry (1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 20th cent. to the Present: Biographies