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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,111 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780385362573
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Masuji Ono saw misery in his homeland and became unwilling to spend his skills solely in the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he envisioned a strong and powerful nation of the future, and he put his painting to work in the service of the movement that led Japan into World War II. Now, as the mature Masuji Ono struggles through the spiritual wreckage of that war, his memories of the “floating world” of his youth, full of pleasure and promise, serve as an escape from, a punishment for, and a justification of his entire life. Drifting without honor in Japan’s postwar society, which indicts him for its defeat and reviles him for his aesthetics, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward but, above all, a human being.

An Artist of the Floating World is a sensual and profoundly convincing portrait of the artist as an aging man. At once a multigenerational tale and a samurai death poem written in English, it is also a saga of the clash of the old and new orders, blending classical and contemporary iconography with compassion and wit.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 1986 Man Booker Prize Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 2/19/2014

    " This was one of the best books I can remember reading. It is slow moving like a river but builds on you. You have to savor it like a fine wine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/13/2014

    " This might be my favorite of Ishiguro's books. As in "The Remains of the Day," we have the unreliable narrator who has repressed certain dubious acts and rationalized them using appeals to higher duties. Unlike Stevens, however, Ono appears to deceive only himself, both under- and overestimating his worth, his contributions to society, and his morally questionable activities in wartime Japan. The result is, strangely, a Quixote-like figure, but much less sympathetic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anya | 2/7/2014

    " I thought I had read all of Ishiguro's work so was excited to find this gem. What a great store. His empathy is always refreshing. There's something to be said for looking at the world from a different perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 yb | 2/4/2014

    " I read this immediately after finishing A Pale View of Hills, which left me rather disappointed. This left me slightly less disappointed, though not at all enthusiastic. The protagonist here is more compelling than in Pale View, since he grapples with the effect his career and beliefs have had on his career, the lives of his children and colleagues, and the way he sees himself as an elderly man. It may be that Ishiguro's language is too sparse, too precise - too much like what Ono should be; though Ishiguro does a very good job at crafting a realistic character in Ono, in the end I found it difficult to feel any real emotion at all for him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally Bullock | 1/21/2014

    " Not as good as his later stuff but still worth a read for Ishiguru fans. And as usual, a refreshingly different perspective of the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Я. | 1/19/2014

    " Amazing and sad novel. Couldn't stop reading. Noticed a very odd historical tic in the book, but it wouldn't bother anyone but a film history buff. (Godzilla came out five years after they see it in the book. Which is only certain because the author gives you the dates of events occasionally. Except we have a narrator here who is unreliable, so it is very possible this is not an error at all.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole McCann | 1/8/2014

    " i really enjoyed this book in regards to reminiscing about art and japan in the past, but i did not like how women were presented. however, this is an issue i have with japanese culture rather than the author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carine | 1/1/2014

    " Ishiguro's portrait of post-WWII life in Japan from the perspective of a once famous artist seamlessly allows for memories of the old Japan to drift in and out, creating a living history of generations. Beautifully written and relentlessly reflective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 12/29/2013

    " This book knocked me out. Flat out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 12/9/2013

    " Wise, deep and delicate insight of an aging Japanese society by an artist who lived through WWII. He wrestles with guilt and search for peace of mind. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alwyn | 10/27/2013

    " Read only if you would enjoy the warped logic of a long-winded old man. Kazuo seems to specialise in this sort of character. I think he has more success writing about the English. He should stick to it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malini | 7/26/2013

    " A slow but compelling read, providing a rich picture of the Japanese mind. (There are no English in this book, but reading Ishiguro does make you thnk about how much the two island nations share in terms of a national character.) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eli | 7/8/2013

    " I guess this was too subtle or formal or Japanese for me or something. It was like an awkward date with a really quiet person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 C. | 2/2/2013

    " In general I think Ishiguro is too subtle for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katkni | 1/26/2013

    " Didn't bother finishing. Oddly quaint in a uninteresting way. Big disappointment, since he's one of my favorite authors. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Verniboomboom | 10/14/2012

    " I really like his writing style. Does Kazuo Ishiguro always write like this? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michael | 10/9/2012

    " Good book, but I think my expectations were a little high after reading "Never Let Me Go." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher | 9/24/2012

    " Love it. Absolutely love it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sluggish Neko | 8/17/2012

    " True to Ishiguro's style, the novel is told in a foggy first-person narrative full of regret, honesty, doubt, and self-deception. Although the narrator is unreliable, the drastic changes in pre-war and post-war Japan are skillfully depicted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 8/10/2012

    " The floating world of transient beauty and loss is portrayed in Hishiguro's words and in his protagonist's experimental paintings. "

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About the Author
Author Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of several novels, including the international bestsellers The Remains of the Day, which won the Booker Prize; An Artist of the Floating World, which won the Whitbread Award; and Never Let Me Go. He received an OBE for service to literature and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.