Japan -- fiction
In eighteenth-century Japan, fourteen-year-old Seikei, a merchant's son in training to be a samurai, helps his patron investigate a series of murders and arson in the capital city of Edo, each of which is associated in some way with a popular geisha.
Having failed apprenticeship as a dye maker, Koji is captured and forced to train as a ninja, where he remains disloyal until he discovers samurai have burned his former village.
In An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro gracefully explores the experiences and memories of a disgraced artist living in post-war Japan. The novel is seductive and haunting, but I was also impressed by its substance and depth.
Mansuji Ono, the novel’s protagonist, was once a great artist whose paintings commanded respect throughout Japan. Following the end of World War II, however, Ono experiences a surreal displacement. From Ono’s perspective, the former order he was a part of has not only been abandoned, it has been rejected and renounced as the epitome of disaster. Instead of enjoying the power and prestige that accompanied his former reputation, Ono finds himself adrift, an aging man who wanders through a crumbling house, where all traces of his past life have been “tidied away.”