30th Anniversary Edition (2016)
Winner of the 1986 Whitbread Book of the Year and shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize, Kazuo Ishiguro’s – An Artist of the Floating World (1986) celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016 having been published to great acclaim both then and now.
Included in the Observer’s 2015 list of the 100 best novels in English, (no.94 on the list), Ishiguro’s 2nd novel concentrates on a Japan pre and post war along with the impact of change to Japan and its people subsequent to the latter period of history.
The narrator – Masuji Ono – is a retired artist, bearing the secret of a past which is always bubbling beneath the surface waiting to explode at any time.
When it comes to writing about Japan and its people, Ishiguro is a master of such, himself having been born in Nagasaki. He is also adept at delicately portraying the, at times, very complicated relationships between young and old, teacher and student along with father and children as each group attempt to find their place within an ever changing world after the war.
The influence of the Western World as demonstrated through the grandson’s (Ichiro) love of cowboys and Pop-eye (American and European respectively) runs throughout the narrative, as does the struggle to negate for the past in the face of an ever changing present and future.
As such, An Artist of the Floating World, is a grand work well worthy of the acclaim to which its ascribed and clearly marks out Ishiguro as one of the finest writers in the English language.
(C) Copyright 2017, Darell J Philip
Hero of Hacksaw Ridge
Booton Herndon’s Hero of Hacksaw Ridge is the official authorized story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist who, as a war medic, saved over 75 lives without the use of a single weapon. The book is the gripping true story that inspired the Mel Gibson directed film – Hacksaw Ridge, which picked up two Academy Awards (Oscars) for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing in February this year.
Like the film, the book gives a fascinating account of a young man ridiculed for his faith in God but who would later become an inspirational American war hero, embraced and loved by the same comrades who had before shunned him. Such was the respect for Doss that he would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour, the nation’s highest honour presented to the nation’s heroes for outstanding gallantry beyond the call of duty in actual combat. The fact that Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honour was all the more fascinating.
In an interview with The Guardian, actor, Andrew Garfield, who is widely known for playing the role of Spiderman and took the lead role as Doss in Hacksaw Ridge said: “I think everyone can relate to that feeling of exile. That feeling of being misunderstood, not being seen in a deep way. Kind of kept out of the inner circle.” Highlighting the qualities that make Doss such a hero in Hacksaw Ridge, Garfield added: “He was treating Japanese soldiers in the middle of a war. He doesn’t see skin colour. He doesn’t see an enemy. He sees humanity.”
Upon watching the film or reading the book, this sense of humanity will also be seen as we are reminded of the acts of bravery from those before which make it possible for all of us to be here today.
Andrew Garfield Never Compromised Who Was Spiderman, The Guardian, 30th December 2016.
(c) Copyright 2017, Darell J Philip