When we were orphans
Kazuo Ishiguro OBE; born 8 November 1954) is a Japanese-English novelist. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and his family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor’s degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982.
Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English speaking world, having received four Man Booker Prize nominations, including winning the 1989 prize for his novel The Remains of the Day. In 2008, The Times named Ishiguro among their list of “The 50 greatest English writers since 1945″.
It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been occupying my imagination now for some days.
The Remains of the Day is about Stevens, a butler in a “grand old English house”. He spent his life trying to be a “great” butler in the service of Lord Darlington. With the death of Darlington he remains in Darlington Hall working for the new owner a rich American, Mr Farraday. It is at Mr. Farraday’s suggestion that Stevens, our narrator, first begins thinking about taking a short trip out into the English countryside, and to see Miss Kenton. Now Mrs. Benn she recently sent him a letter, hinting, Stevens thinks, at her unhappy marriage and her wish to return to service in Darlington Hall. On his journey Stevens reflects over his life and the changes he has seen.
My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years. That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the end of this year.
I picked this upon impulse. At home, looking for something for the train, I recognised the author’s name and thought that I may as well give it a go. And I’m so glad I did because I loved this book. The narrator is Kathy H., a 31 year old woman, and the book is her memories of life at boarding school. She and other students lived at Hailsham where they were taught by the “guardians” and brought up in a privileged manner. But all is not as it seems and throughout the novels there are hints at something darker.