An Artist of the Floating World, Paperback Book

An Artist of the Floating World Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


It is 1948. Japan is rebuilding her cities after the calamity of World War Two, her people putting defeat behind them and looking to the future.

The celebrated artist, Masuji Ono, fills his days attending to his garden, his house repairs, his two grown daughters and his grandson; his evenings drinking with old associates in quiet lantern-lit bars.

His should be a tranquil retirement. But as his memories continually return to the past - to a life and career deeply touched by the rise of Japanese militarism - a dark shadow begins to grow over his serenity.

If you enjoyed An Artist of the Floating World, you might also like Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, now available in Faber Modern Classics.


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In Japan after the decimation of WWII, the country is beginning to rebuild itself and Masuji Ono, a retired painter, fills his days with his house and garden, his two adult daughters, and spends his evenings in the last remaining bar in the district. But in the quietness of his retirement, he also finds himself reflecting on the past and re-evaluating his life as an artist and his role in the rise of militaristic Japan.Ishiguro is a master of subtle prose. This novel is never a dense read and the narrative flows smoothly and yet there are deep and swift currents beneath the surface that will catch the reader and leave them asking questions about Masuji Ono if they care to dip deeper. The novel is a character study of a man who has lived his life, done his best for his country, and then found himself on the wrong side of the line. At the same time, it is also a reflection on the realities of post-war Japan and the effect of their loss (and subsequent American occupation) on the national psyche. With elegant and evocative writing, Ishiguro once again creates a beautiful novel that haunts the reader after the final page.

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