I’d read, and loved Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World , which captured so well the evasions and indirection that so characterizes Japanese speech. At one level, the book read like an extended metaphor for Japan’s refusal to own up to its wartime past. Next, I read When We Were Orphans , which I admired for some of the same reasons, even if it was more drawn out and even more opaque.
There are great passages in it, like the one in the extended entry, below.
I got to talk to Ishiguro the other day, in an interview for a piece I was doing on the new Merchant Ivory film, The White Countess, that was just shot in Shanghai. He was very generous with his time, and spoke interestingly about writing, and about his life, growing up in England in a middle class Japanese family, traveling to the US as a young man, sort pf possessed with the idea of Americanness.

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