So Kazuo Ishiguro won this years Nobel prize for literature. I don’t usually follow the Nobel prize particularly closely, other than the annual will he/won’t he speculation that Murakami brings, but seeing that Ishiguro had won really made me smile. I’ve only read two of his books, The Remains of the Day and Nocturnes, but I have to say that The Remains of the Day is a truly astonishing novel.
I wonder what someone does after they win a Nobel prize? Do they just try and get on with their day? Do they go and potter in the garden and then pop to the supermarket? Do they just spend a week staring out of the window?
Today I re-read an old Guardian article about how he wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks. Obviously that doesn’t take all the inevitable, and I imagine considerable, editing that would have followed, but still; four weeks. That’s like a nanowrimo project winning the Nobel. I love the idea of the kind of immersion that he described, writing for more hours in the day than seems possible. There’s a bit in there about the idea that after writing for more than four hours you start to hit diminishing returns. I have to say I agree with that. The kind of mental endurance required to continue writing for so long in one sitting without the writing falling to pieces is astonishing to me.
There are quite of his other books that I want to read, and I think I’ll try and fit one in soon. It’s been a long time since I read the two that I have read. I think I read The Remains of the Day in 2010. Maybe 2011. I can’t remember. I remember that I loved the book so much I watched the Merchant Ivory adaptation the day after I finished it. That was probably a bit much, in hindsight, but Stevens is such a brilliant character I just wanted to hang out with him some more.
I don’t know why I am so pleased for Ishiguro to have won this years Nobel but I am. I hope he spends a week staring out of the window. He’s earned it.