My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs: The Nobel Lecture

My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs: The Nobel Lecture

Delivered in Stockholm on 7 December 2017, My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs is the lecture of the Nobel Laureate in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. A generous and hugely insightful biographical sketch, it explores his relationship with Japan, reflections on his own novels and an insight into some of his inspirations, from the worlds of writing, music...

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Title:My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs: The Nobel Lecture
Author:Kazuo Ishiguro
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Edition Language:English

My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs: The Nobel Lecture Reviews

  • Ammar

    In this lecture that was delivered on December 7th, 2017. Kazuo Ishiguro delivers a personal lecture about literature, his beginning as a novelist, the creative writing class he took in East Anglia, and how it made him the writer he is today.

    He describes the England that he moved to with his parents when he was 5 years old. How very different it is from today. And how the community accepted them even though he was the only Japanese in his school and probably the first Japanese encountered in hi

    In this lecture that was delivered on December 7th, 2017. Kazuo Ishiguro delivers a personal lecture about literature, his beginning as a novelist, the creative writing class he took in East Anglia, and how it made him the writer he is today.

    He describes the England that he moved to with his parents when he was 5 years old. How very different it is from today. And how the community accepted them even though he was the only Japanese in his school and probably the first Japanese encountered in his town.

    He talks about writing about his roots and heritage before that became popular and common in English lit, and how it helped him to immortalize his own vision of Japan into the written record even in a fictional form.

    Kazuo also talks about the effect of music on writing and how listening to some songs or the voice of singers helps him achieve an effect or fill a void in a piece he is writing.

    He encourages the Nobel committee to be inclusive of all kind of literature and to keep this form alive .

    This is an amazing short book. A lecture that is tremendously personal, yet universal.

  • Akylina

    "If we are to play an important role in this uncertain future, if we are to get the best from the writers of today and tomorrow, I believe we must become more diverse. I mean this in two particular senses. Firstly, we must widen our common literary world to include many more voices from beyond our comfort zones of the elite first world cultures. [...] Second: we must take great care not to set too narrowly or conservatively our definitions of what constitutes good literature. [...] Good writing

    "If we are to play an important role in this uncertain future, if we are to get the best from the writers of today and tomorrow, I believe we must become more diverse. I mean this in two particular senses. Firstly, we must widen our common literary world to include many more voices from beyond our comfort zones of the elite first world cultures. [...] Second: we must take great care not to set too narrowly or conservatively our definitions of what constitutes good literature. [...] Good writing and good reading will break down barriers. We may even find a new idea, a great humane vision, around which to rally."

    Words are needless. Ishiguro said everything.

  • Sam Quixote

    My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs is Kazuo Ishiguro’s speech from when he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. It takes the form of a truncated career retrospective/autobiography, touching upon the creation of his more well-known books like The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

    The lecture, in the author’s usual style, is eloquent and understated but not especially powerful, moving or thought-provoking either. And, as I was reading this, I began to wonde

    My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs is Kazuo Ishiguro’s speech from when he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. It takes the form of a truncated career retrospective/autobiography, touching upon the creation of his more well-known books like The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

    The lecture, in the author’s usual style, is eloquent and understated but not especially powerful, moving or thought-provoking either. And, as I was reading this, I began to wonder: did Kazuo Ishiguro really deserve the Nobel Prize? I mean, he’s a decent writer and I enjoyed The Remains of the Day (the only other book by Ishiguro I’ve read is An Artist of the Floating World which I didn’t like nearly as much) but have his contributions to literature warranted the Nobel? I don’t think he’s pioneered any innovative techniques or ideas, nor are his books especially pivotal or influential literary landmarks.

    He also basically admits towards the end that he’s no longer relevant these days – hence the title’s focus on “Twentieth Century” – which I feel is true, going by his latest novel, The Buried Giant, a vague and unimpressive book that I tried and failed to get through (SO boring!). That said, the Nobel Prize for Literature has effectively been a lifetime achievement award - as opposed to being given to the writer who contributed the most to their field in the past year - for decades now anyway. Still, I’m not convinced he was ever that relevant a writer!

    My Twentieth Century Evening is a well-crafted and readable though underwhelming and forgettable speech. Kazuo Ishiguro continues to be a skilful stylist with at least one great book to his name. At any rate, congrats, Kazuo!

  • Deniz Balcı

    Dünyaya dair sözler sarf ettiği, konuşmanın son bölümünü etkisiz ve fazla optimist bulsam da kendi yazma tecrübesine dair ilginç detaylar verdiği ilk bölümü çok sevdim. Çift-uluslu olmasına dair psikolojisini kitapları üzerinden anlamaya çalışmaktansa böyle bir metinle, ilk ağızdan duymak bana iyi geldi. "Uzak Tepeler" neden bende o kadar eksik bir duyumsamaya sebep oldu, kitabın yazılışına dair ayrıntıları öğrenince anlaşılabilir hale geldi. Ayrıca Ishiguro'ya yazarlığı öğreten insanın Proust o

    Dünyaya dair sözler sarf ettiği, konuşmanın son bölümünü etkisiz ve fazla optimist bulsam da kendi yazma tecrübesine dair ilginç detaylar verdiği ilk bölümü çok sevdim. Çift-uluslu olmasına dair psikolojisini kitapları üzerinden anlamaya çalışmaktansa böyle bir metinle, ilk ağızdan duymak bana iyi geldi. "Uzak Tepeler" neden bende o kadar eksik bir duyumsamaya sebep oldu, kitabın yazılışına dair ayrıntıları öğrenince anlaşılabilir hale geldi. Ayrıca Ishiguro'ya yazarlığı öğreten insanın Proust olduğunu öğrenmek ise farklı bir hoşluk oldu. Güzel bir Nobel konuşması, meraklılarına tavsiye ederim.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    Ishiguro has written some great novels, though I really don’t think he deserved to win the Noble Prize for Literature last year.

    There are so many other writers who have, objectively speaking, contributed more to the arts. Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami and even Neil Gaiman stand out as immediate examples to my mind. They have just done so much more for literature in general with their creativity and innovative writing styles.

    I don’t mean to undermine the power of Ishiguro’s wr

    Ishiguro has written some great novels, though I really don’t think he deserved to win the Noble Prize for Literature last year.

    There are so many other writers who have, objectively speaking, contributed more to the arts. Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami and even Neil Gaiman stand out as immediate examples to my mind. They have just done so much more for literature in general with their creativity and innovative writing styles.

    I don’t mean to undermine the power of Ishiguro’s writing.

    and

    are both fantastic books but there are more accomplished writers out there today; there are writers who have written more and demonstrated a wider range of skills. Look at all the different things Gaiman has done: comic books, fantasy novels, children’s lit and epics about godhood, his imagination and skill set is far wider.

    The speech Ishiguro gave here is not very engaging or inspiring. He talks about his own experiences as a writer and what led him to the craft and, surprisingly, it’s not that interesting to read about. I appreciated his stance on global literature, on looking beyond standard western writers, though this was only mentioned briefly at the end. All in all, it’s mundane and unremarkable.

    Only recommended to those that thought he deserved the noble.

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