But as Ono works to finalise the marriage of his youngest daughter the issue of his pre-war allegiances arise and he is forced to come to terms with his responsibility for the militarist direction the 1930’s took.
The question arises: what is the role of an artist in the wider political arena? Should the artist live solely for the reproduction of beauty, existing solely in a floating world divorced from society at large? Or should he become a conduit for change, a leader of public opinion? In the modern world where every rock star/artist/writer is expected to produce politically conscious work this is a valid and fascinating question.
An Artist of the Floating World produces a beautiful mirage, something like a Monet painting, with ideas and flawed characters flowing together in a silent, uneventful and almost heartbreaking novel. If you liked Remains of the Day then you will love this. It is absolutely fascinating to see the cultural comparisons between two such reserved societies on the verge of change. Kazuo Ishiguro is a rare gem of a writer and his earliest work is the most sparse of his career, he is a master of understatement, so I shall take a leaf out of his book and say nothing more. I enjoyed this book, you may too.
6.5 out of 10