Synopses & Reviews
From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by Jessica Hische
It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet. In a design collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series features unique cover art by Hische, a superstar in the world of type design and illustration, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson’s recent film Moonrise Kingdom to Penguin’s own bestsellers Committed and Rules of Civility. With exclusive designs that have never before appeared on Hische’s hugely popular Daily Drop Cap blog, the Penguin Drop Caps series launches with six perennial favorites to give as elegant gifts, or to showcase on your own shelves.
I is for Ishiguro. Masuji Ono saw misery in his homeland and became unwilling to spend his skills solely in the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he envisioned a strong and powerful nation of the future, and he put his painting to work in the service of the movement that led Japan into World War II. Now, as the mature Masuji Ono struggles through the spiritual wreckage of that war, his memories of the “floating world” of his youth, full of pleasure and promise, serve as an escape from, a punishment for—and a justification of—his entire life. Drifting without honor in Japan’s postwar society, which indicts him for its defeat and reviles him for his aesthetics, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward but, above all, a human being. An Artist of the Floating World is a sensual and profoundly convincing portrait of the artist as an aging man. At once a multigenerational tale and a samurai death poem written in English, it is also a saga of the clash of the old and new orders, blending classical and contemporary iconography with compassion and wit.
"Good writers abound—good novelists are very rare. Kazuo Ishiguro is that rarity. His second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, is the kind that stretches the reader's awareness, teaching him to read more perceptively." The New York Times Book Review, Kathryn Morton
"It is postwar Japan and a now retired and seemingly discredited painter, Sensei Ono, reflects on his career, the limits to loyalties between teachers and students, and the life of art. Occasions such as the forthcoming engagement of his daughter (which involves investigations into the family background) bring his involvement with the political campaigns of the prewar regime painfully to the fore of his consciousness. Should he have remained a traditional painter of the floating world of geishas, tea houses, and such? Do his high-minded intentions excuse his propaganda posters? Should an artist follow an aesthetic of pure art or of social involvement? How does a person—or a society—come to terms with mistakes of the past? This new novel by the author of A Pale View of Hills will appeal to the thoughtful reader. Recommended." Library Journal, Carl Vogel, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Like figures on a Japanese screen, the painter Masuji Ono and his daughters Setsuko and Noriko are fixed in the formal attitudes that even their private conversations reflect. In the postwar 1940, the father is a relic of traditional Japan, of teahouses, geishas and patterned gardens not yet destroyed by industry and Westernized thinking. He is unable to communicate with his daughters, unsure of the propriety of his wartime nationalism yet unwilling to exchange it for what seem to him doubtful modern values. His thoughts turn to the optimism of his student days, to uncertainties and disappointments that were mitigated by his sense of a prevailing order, now nowhere apparent. He cannot fathom why his daughters treat him with a disdain that approaches rudeness, why they imply that he and his kind were responsible for the war that killed so many sons, his own among them. And so, despite the rigidity of Ishiguro's prose—which matches Ono's inflexibility—the once famous artist gathers pathos as he moves through the pages of a novel that is both a reminder and a warning. Ishiguro wote A Pale View of Hills." Publisher's Weekly, Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is the story of an artist as an aging man, struggling through the wreckage of Japan's World War II experience. Ishiguro's first novel.
About the Author
Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of five. He is the author of five novels, including The Remains of the Day, an international bestseller that won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an award-winning film. Ishiguro's work has been translated into twenty-eight 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 lives in London with his wife and daughter.