Globalization and Dislocation in the Novels of Kazuo Ishiguro

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This book examines, in thematic and stylistic terms, the six novels that Kazuo Ishiguro has published so far. It is the first study to advance an argument linking these works to wider issues in the interpretation of migrant and cosmopolitan literature. Individual chapters examine Ishiguro’s appropriation of exotic fiction, the countryhouse novel, the high-modernist European novel, detective fiction, and science fiction. From early works that tackle the exigencies of immigrant self-fashioning through the critique of essentialist depictions of Japanese sociality, Ishiguro went on to criticize English exceptionalism in the Booker prize-winning novel, The Remains of the Day. His misrecognition as a supplier of English and Japanese authenticity is adduced as evidence for the fabulist turn of his subsequent work, suggesting that his writing is typified by a propensity to rework the substance of earlier novels in response to their critical and popular reception. Ishiguro breaks new ground in his last two books by raising the issues of distributive justice, progressive nostalgia, and the role of utopian imaginative discourse. This trajectory suggests a need to re-examine dominant theoretical tendencies, in particular those that draw colorful portraits of the delights afforded by cultural flows and exchanges within a decentered and borderless post-imperial global order.


“Ishiguro’s recognition as a major writer within metropolitan literary circles has hitherto not been matched by an academic criticism commensurate with the singularity of his work. This gap has now been filled by Dr. Sim’s scholarly and innovative study of the cognitive and aesthetic dimensions to the fictions of an author who subverts the categories within which reviewers and critics have wanted to contain him, whether as native informant of Japan’s sociality and culture, or as yet another diasporic writer celebrating the hybrid and the inbetween. (from the Preface) Professor Benita Parry, Warwick University

“... this book is essential reading for scholars of Ishiguro, contemporary writing, postcolonial studies, and for anyone interested in a less politically anodyne way of apprehending the world, one that is grounded in materialist considerations of the specific conditions of cultural production and consumption, intensely aware of the workings of political economy, and attuned to the dialectical relationship between such a system and the text as cultural artifact.” – Professor Angelia Poon, Nanyang Technological University

“I appreciate Dr. Sim’s ability to provide cogent arguments to support his analyses. There is no question that he has studied these texts in great detail, as well as the literary critical theoretical background through which he chooses to observe them. His knowledge of critical issues is truly detailed, deep and encompassing.” – Professor Ronald D. Klein, Hiroshima Jogakuin University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. A Pale View of Hills
3. An Artist of the Floating World
4. The Remains of the Day
5. The Unconsoled
6. When We Were Orphans
7. Never Let Me Go
8. Conclusion

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