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Download Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall 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 (5,017 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Narrator: Mark Bramhall, Kirby Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe, Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9780739381779
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One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character.

A once-popular singer, desperate to make a comeback, turning from the one certainty in his life…A man whose unerring taste in music is the only thing his closest friends value in him…A struggling singer-songwriter unwittingly involved in the failing marriage of a couple he’s only just met…A gifted, underappreciated jazz musician who lets himself believe that plastic surgery will help his career…A young cellist whose tutor promises to “unwrap” his talent…

Passion or necessity—or the often uneasy combination of the two—determines the place of music in each of these lives. And, in one way or another, music delivers each of them to a moment of reckoning: sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes just eluding their grasp.

An exploration of love, need, and the ineluctable force of the past, Nocturnes reveals these individuals to us with extraordinary precision and subtlety, and with the arresting psychological and emotional detail that has marked all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed works of fiction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Expressive and harmonic, delicate yet substantive…[A] true virtuoso performance.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • Reviews from the UK:
  • “Chopin is the composer most associated with the form [of the nocturne], bringing to it grace and beauty, fragility and poise, qualities conspicuous in this diverting collection of five stories by Kazuo Ishiguro . . . Serious as Ishiguro’s intentions surely are, in these well-tempered, witty and droll stories he is more playful than he has ever been. Glasgow Herald
  • “Ishiguro’s volume has the quality of a song cycle, with recurring themes developed in different guises . . . They resonate long after the book is set aside. Daily Telegraph
  • “It’s hardly surprising that the arrival of a new Ishiguro book makes a reader eager to pounce on it . . . The quintet consists of first person narratives and each one is likeable, original and succeed in sustaining the reader to the final word . . . There are echoes of Somerset Maugham. But Ishiguro, the most literary of writers, is seldom derivative. [He is] a canny writer who is cool, poised and well capable of shifting directions and shaping surprises . . . Somehow he manages to say a great deal about the business of being alive. The Irish Times
  • A brilliant new book . . . Art, its dangers, its pains and its gaiety [are] all topics seriously considered in this accomplished book. Frank Kermode, London Review of Books
  • Spellbinding . . . Each of these stories is heartbreaking in its own way, but some have moments of great comedy, and they all require a level of attention that, typically, Ishiguro’s writing rewards . . . The final story [is] exquisite. Observer
  • “By now it is clear that this exquisite stylist is serious in his pursuit of a minimal–perhaps even universal–mode of expression for the emotional experiences that define our lives as human. Nocturnes is a set of poised and playful reflections on the falling away of sentiment . . . These stories recall Ishiguro’s best known novel, The Remains of the Day. In their surreal touches they resonate with The Unconsoled. And in their deceptively simple exploration of love and loss, they build on the achievement of Never Let Me Go. The Times
  • It is hardly surprising that a writer as resonant, and as emotionally pitch-perfect, as Kazuo Ishiguro should be so keen on music . . . [The title story’s] set-up is so beautifully engineered that it left me simultaneously gasping in admiration and shaking with laughter. Sunday Telegraph
  • These stories come up on you quietly, in Ishiguro’s strangely weightless style [and] haunt you for days . . . A nocturne is a piece of music inspired by, or evocative of, the night . . . These little pieces could only be the work of a great composer. Evening Standard
  • “In both craft and substance Nocturnes reveals a master at work.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Tight and assured…Suffused with sympathy.”

    Time

  • “These stories recall Ishiguro’s best known novel, The Remains of the Day…By now it is clear that this exquisite stylist is serious in his pursuit of a minimal—perhaps even universal—mode of expression for the emotional experiences that define our lives as human.”

    Times (London)

  • “Superb…A deceptively plain and easy style that rides on the surfaces of manners and decorous behavior.”

    Providence Journal

  • “A brilliant new book…Art, its dangers, its pains, and its gaiety [are] all topics seriously considered in this accomplished book.”

    London Review of Books

  • “Each of these stories is heartbreaking in its own way, but some have moments of great comedy, and they all require a level of attention that, typically, Ishiguro’s writing rewards.”

    Observer (London)

  • “These stories come up on you quietly, but then haunt you for days.”

    Evening Standard (London)

  • “Ishiguro blends musical concepts with their literary counterparts in his latest work, and Nocturnes has the…quality of a song cycle with recurring themes and motifs developed in different prose keys.”

    Bookmarks

  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Selected for the October 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pauline | 2/11/2014

    " My second Ishiguro read - and as with all short story collections, this one is made up of hits and misses. Not necessarily bad, but it wasn't at par with his other, older works either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eden | 2/9/2014

    " I loved the first two stories, but found the other three disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Neha Agarwal | 2/8/2014

    " Kazuo Ishiguro's writing, as always, is top-notch. However this was not my kind of book. It reminded me of Hanif Qureshi's short stories. Each of the stories seem like fragments from what should be a book in itself. There is a body to the story but no beginning and no end. As a matter of personal preference I dislike such fiction. The 3 stars (actually want to give it 2.5) are purely for the quality of his writing. Each story draws you in. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Xarah | 1/28/2014

    " Novels like this make me happy that I read short stories. I enjoyed how Ishiguro tied music into his five stories and how the stories flowed with one another. Beautiful stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 M. Baradi | 12/29/2013

    " My two stars here are very reluctant two stars, because I associate Ishiguro with Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. His prose glitters there. But in this collection, I'm tempted to say his alluring tone took a nap. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric pearson | 12/23/2013

    " Five stories about music and nightfall by the master Ishiguro. I fell in love with this book. I like Ishiguro's writing style and his characters are very believable. Out of the five stories the only one I did not care for was the last. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Juwita | 12/23/2013

    " I wanted so badly to love it, but sad to say I couldn't. It was just so-so for me. This is really a far cry from Never Let Me Go, which I absolutely love to bits. Can't say much more about this one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Selene | 10/15/2013

    " Read the first two stories of five and I must say I love his style of writing but the content in this case is c..p! Such a shame, as his writing sways flows beautifully. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louise Wessman | 8/23/2013

    " Disappointing.....I was expecting something much deeper and more profound "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl | 2/13/2013

    " Fairly light by Ishiguro standards, but still has that appealing narrative flavor. These stories definitely don't rank with Remains or Never Let You Go, but were entertaining enough. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Candice | 10/26/2012

    " Very well written - I found one of the stories laugh-out-loud funny which was delightfully unexpected. I realize I need to read more funny books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 7/11/2012

    " Gorgeous, beautiful stories about music. I listened to this in the car from CDs and the readers did a beautiful job. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Breeann Kirby | 5/22/2012

    " The title is the best part. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew Rosas | 5/20/2012

    " Another masterpiece. His writing towers above most even in simple stories such as these. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 3/25/2012

    " I listened to this on cd in the car. I really liked it. It had that quality of.... Like as if a friend were telling you a story. The sense of the characters' disposition, and mood came thru in such a way that one can nearly picture them in person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denae | 11/15/2011

    " Lovely and well-written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel Anderson | 9/21/2011

    " I'm always hopeful I'll find the perfect series of connected short stories, this wasn't quite it but it's close. Beautifully written at times, it has clear themes but none of them are forced on you... subtlety is its strength. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean Brown | 8/14/2011

    " I usually don't like short stories but I loved these..Ishiguro is a wonderful writer! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mitsuyasu | 5/9/2011

    " As always, he (KI) wrote poignant stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 5/7/2011

    " Lovely book. Really interesting short stories about different characters with the themes of relationships and music throughout each story.
    I read this book as an audiobook. Very easy to listen to. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 4/19/2011

    " Nice enough stories. It's just his prose
    is so rigid and the style feels very
    old fashioned. That would be fine if I liked
    the style. Maybe that's what it's about -
    don't like his style, but kinda like the stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 4/17/2011

    " Still containing the original elegance of his other works, this one doesn't quite reach the heights of the others insofar as impact. Temporary, but good. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jane | 4/16/2011

    " characters were bland/ flat... I really tried to like this book since I liked Never Let Me Go.

    Found myself wanting to finish the book asap.


    I quite liked the first story though... especially the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 4/15/2011

    " Like Chopins Nocturnes, with a strong melody on one side and an undertone of very choppy chords, these stories combine interesting stories of musicians , with an undertone of obsession. Not as multi layered as his novels, the stories were still interesting, and skillfully written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wenning | 3/24/2011

    " decent but not nearly as good as his novels. i'm not sure if his writing style fits with short prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 3/16/2011

    " A delightful set of stories that are linked together. An apt title to the book.

    Given to a fellow bookcrosser "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 3/15/2011

    " A book of five short stories in which nothing really happens.

    However, as a reader I was fully immersed in each. A difficult enough feat to achieve even with a rip-roaring tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassandra | 3/8/2011

    " Just some nice short stories for a lazy afternoon. Nothing spectacular here, but sweet enough. I listened to them on audio and was very pleased with the readers that were chosen for each segment. "

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About the Author
Author Kazuo IshiguroKazuo Ishiguro is thw author of four previous novels, including TheRemains of the Day, which won the Booker Prize, and An Artist of the Floating World, which won the Whitbread Award. He lives in London.
About the Narrators

Mark Bramhall has won eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been a finalist for the Audiobook Publishers Association’s prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been named by Publishers Weekly and AudioFile magazine among their “Best Voices of the Year” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.

Kirby Heyborne is a musician, actor, and professional narrator. Noted for his work in teen and juvenile audio, he has garnered numerous Earphones Awards. His audiobook credits include Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and George R. R. Martin’s Selections from Dreamsongs.

Lincoln Hoppe is an accomplished actor of stage and screen with several films, plays, television shows, and numerous audiobooks to his credit. His audiobook narrations have earned him nine AudioFile Earphones Awards. His diverse voice characterizations can be heard on animated films, video games, and commercials across the globe. He is a member of the Lost Angeles Comedy Sportz Improv Company.

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.