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Extended Audio Sample An Artist of the Floating World Audiobook, by Kazuo Ishiguro Click for printable size audiobook cover
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: David Case, Frederick Davidson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780385362573
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In the face of the misery in his homeland, the artist Masuji Ono was unwilling to devote his art solely to the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II.

Now, as the mature Ono struggles through the aftermath of that war, his memories of his youth and of the “floating world”—the nocturnal world of pleasure, entertainment, and drink—offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise. Indicted by society for its defeat and reviled for his past aesthetics, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward but, above all, a human being. Download and start listening now!

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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, the author of several acclaimed novels, won the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. The Remains of the Day won the Booker Prize and was the basis for a major motion picture. The Buried Giant was a New York Times bestseller, A Pale View of Hills won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, and An Artist of the Floating World won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. The Unconsoled won the Cheltenham Prize and Never Let Me Go won the Corine Internationaler Buchpreis, the Serono Literary Prize, the Casino de Santiago European Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In 1995 Ishiguro received an OBE for Services to Literature and in 1998 the French decoration of Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of five.

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.