An Artist of the Floating World

( 9 )

Overview


From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by Jessica Hische

It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet. In a design collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series features unique cover art by Hische, a superstar in the world...

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Overview


From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by Jessica Hische

It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet. In a design collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series features unique cover art by Hische, a superstar in the world of type design and illustration, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson's recent film Moonrise Kingdom to Penguin's own bestsellers Committed and Rules of Civility. With exclusive designs that have never before appeared on Hische's hugely popular Daily Drop Cap blog, the Penguin Drop Caps series launches with six perennial favorites to give as elegant gifts, or to showcase on your own shelves.

I is for Ishiguro. 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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Editorial Reviews

Kathryn Morton
. . . Good writers abound - good novelists are very rare. Kazuo Ishiguro is that rarity. His second novel, ''An Artist of the Floating World,'' is the kind that stretches the reader's awareness, teaching him to read more perceptively. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like figures on a Japanese screen, the painter Masuji Ono and his daughters Setsuko and Noriko are fixed in the formal attitudes that even their private conversations reflect. In the postwar 1940, the father is a relic of traditional Japan, of teahouses, geishas and patterned gardens not yet destroyed by industry and Westernized thinking. He is unable to communicate with his daughters, unsure of the propriety of his wartime nationalism yet unwilling to exchange it for what seem to him doubtful modern values. His thoughts turn to the optimism of his student days, to uncertainties and disappointments that were mitigated by his sense of a prevailing order, now nowhere apparent. He cannot fathom why his daughters treat him with a disdain that approaches rudeness, why they imply that he and his kind were responsible for the war that killed so many sons, his own among them. And so, despite the rigidity of Ishiguro's prosewhich matches Ono's inflexibilitythe once famous artist gathers pathos as he moves through the pages of a novel that is both a reminder and a warning. Ishiguro wote A Pale View of Hills. May 5
Library Journal
It is postwar Japan and a now retired and seemingly discredited painter, Sensei Ono, reflects on his career, the limits to loyalties between teachers and students, and the life of art. Occasions such as the forthcoming engagement of his daughter which involves investigations into the family background bring his involvement with the political campaigns of the prewar regime painfully to the fore of his consciousness. Should he have remained a traditional painter of the floating world of geishas, tea houses, and such? Do his high-minded intentions excuse his propaganda posters? Should an artist follow an aesthetic of pure art or of social involvement? How does a personor a societycome to terms with mistakes of the past? This new novel by the author of A Pale View of Hills will appeal to the thoughtful reader. Recommended. Carl Vogel, San Francisco P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143124283
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Series: Penguin Drop Caps Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 166,494
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954. His family moved to England in 1960. He attended the University of Kent at Canterbury and the University of East Anglia. His novels have been nominated four times for the Man Booker Prize, which Remains of the Day won in 1989. A Pale View of Hills, his first novel, won the Winifred Holtby Prize of the Royal Society of Literature and has been translated into thirteen languages. An Artist of the Floating World won the 1986 Whitbread of the Year Award and has been translated into fourteen languages. His most recent novel is Never Let Me Go. He currently lives in London.
 
Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes Magazine "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of Print Magazine’s "New Visual Artists". She has designed for Wes Anderson, McSweeney's, Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco, occasionally in Brooklyn.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Dwelling in the past.

    The early novels by Kazuo Ishiguro deal with loneliness, isolation ('A Pale View of Hills', 'An artist of the Floating World') and the inability to respond to the feelings of others (The Remains of the Day).

    Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of five.

    It is 1948. Japan is rebuilding her cities after the calamity of World War II, her people putting defeat behind them and looking to the future. The celebrated painter, Masuji Ono, fills his days attending to his garden, his house repairs, his two grown daughters and his grandson; his evenings drinking with old associates in quiet lantern-lit bars. He should have a tranquil retirement. But as his memories continually return to the past - to a life and career deeply touched by the rise of Japanese militarism - a dark shadow begins to grow over his serenity...

    It's the tragedy of a man who supported the wrong political ideas and somehow hasn't come to terms with his wrong judgement.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2000

    Breathtaking...but again?

    This was a very nice book, presenting a uniquely surreal and intriging view of Japanese life pre- and post-WW2. I was deeply troubled by this book, however, as it is far too similar to his previous work in 'The Remains of the Day' and 'A Pale View of the Hills.' Both previous works have a character trying to overcome denial through recounting tales of important espisodes from their past leading up to the second world war. Same with this one. The only major difference is that while the previous works take place in England, this one is set in Japan. If it wasn't for the saving grace of incorporating his cultural heritage so vividly into this book, I would have hated it for being almost EXACTLY like his previous two in character development and plot. On its own, it's an intriguing and deeply satisfying work, and worth reading even if you've read his older books. But please, can we move on to something new, Ishiguro?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Japan

    This book japan aritist was special because japan can use it a book or enything make you what ever make you feel better and i like all of your writing it was special to me because it you more writing to share i love to share my to who wrote this book was great i have so many books of your it special and i love your storyes

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    To read the blurb on the back of this novel you'd think this was

    To read the blurb on the back of this novel you'd think this was a book about a man coming to terms with his past. And it is. But that's not all it is, nor is it even the main thrust of the novel. Ono is an artist who once employed his talents toward a vision of a stronger Japan. A vision which would eventually lead Japan into WWII. Now, some years after the war, Ono reminisces about his younger days, and while he is able to admit his vision was ultimately wrong for Japan, he is still proud of the will which drove him. Even if his vision was a mistake, he takes pride in standing for, and working toward, a goal he believed in; which is more than most people ever do. Framing this history is the story of Ono's current negotiations to arrange a marriage for his younger daughter, Noriko. Noriko however belongs to the emerging generation which is looking to cast off the old ways of traditional Japan. Caught somewhere in the middle is Ono's elder daughter, Setsuko, who although still acts the subservient daughter, clearly shares her sister's outlook. Ono is a man clinging desperately to outmoded traditions, while the world around him rapidly modernizes. Willfully blind to his own failings, both past and present, he is at once both pathetic and sympathetic. This really isn't a novel about a man coming to terms with his past, but more a novel about a man coming to terms with the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Complex and insightful story

    I have rather mixed feelings about this novel. The main character is constantly trying to reconcile his conflicted feelings during the entire novel. As a young artist in 1940's Japan, he gives up studying the "floating world" of pleasure and uses his talents to create propoganda for Imperialist Japan. After the war is over and Japan has npw taken on a more westernized mentality, he is now looked on as a traitor. Though he now admits he has made mistakes, he is still proud of the work he has done and does not understand why some treat him as an outcast. Interesting novel. I enjoyed learning more about the Japanese mindset than the actual storyline. Still, I would give this one a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2000

    Not to be overlooked

    'Artist' stands alone as a gem in spite of the popularity of his other books. Ishuguro masterly blends character development with insights about the past and present life of our main character with such finess that many paragraphs have their own artistic value.If you are new to Kazuo or are an old fan this one is not to be overlooked. The story will also offer insight into the historical dilemma found within Japan. Ishuguru gives the world a new perspective of mankind and moral decision making. With prose as lovely as poetry and scenes painted with tender words and patience you will enter the artists floating world and realize you have experienced true human experience with all its insecurities and insights.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2000

    east is east

    Ishiguro writes well, and it's curious because I know very few about Japanese people except his electronic goods and cars. From where come all this? I find the personnage of the painter Ono is very acquiescent while he tell us another japanese people killed themselves. For the occidental it seems it hasn't no place for intermediate gestures. Yet it's surprising a plastic artist should play so important place in the preparation of war with propagandistic pictures, draws, etc. I think in Spain, neither Picasso was considered so important about the civil war. Writers, I think are different. Ishiguro says this was so in Japan, but this is the case there was another people as ex- generals and military people affected by a kind of amnesia and directing the new entreprises of the post - war Japan. Curiously, Ono has a moment of doubt after a big success- the Sigheta prize- because inexplicably he doesn't attain to see to Mori- San, his old master in the Floating, ligth world of sake, sweet nigths and women. The author doesn't explain why he does so and after arrtiving by railway he only rests eating some oranges; indeed we are authorized to think Ono at last wasn't no so sure of his merits in getting close to war japanese politics of thirties.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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