Kazuo Ishiguro on Writing Novels: “I put them together out of anything I can think of to make the thing fly.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for haunting, elegiac novels like Remains of the Day, about an English butler working in a big house in the years before World War II.

Ishiguro was born in Japan but moved to England in 1960 at the age of five. He didn’t go back for 29 years. Ishiguro says: “I grew up with a very strong image in my head of this other country, a very important other country to which I had a strong emotional tie. In England, I was all the time building up this picture in my head, an imaginary Japan.” As a child in England, he pored over comic books and was obsessed with movies about cowboys and the American West, which influenced his later writing.

Ishiguro’s novels include An Artist of the Floating World, The Buried Giantand The Unconsoled, a 500-page book narrated by a pianist — a book that one critic said “invented its own category of badness.” It’s now considered a classic.

On his writing, Kazuo Ishiguro says: “You can think of me like an early aviator before airplanes were properly invented. I’m building some sort of flying machine in my back garden. I just need it to fly. And you know how odd some of those early flying machines looked? Well, my novels are a bit like that. I put them together out of anything I can think of according to my thinking to make the thing fly.”

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