An Artist of the Floating World

An Artist of the Floating World


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An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro, Jessica Hische

The Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel by 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Kazuo Ishiguro

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143124283
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Series: Penguin Drop Caps Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 169,253
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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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Artist of the Floating World 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
CR-Buell More than 1 year ago
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.
Dierckx More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
'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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.