My friend Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘an artist without ego, with deeply held beliefs’
Last week, the British novelist was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. His first editor at Faber recalls the rise to greatness
One minute, the old friend I know as “Ish” was sitting at his kitchen table, doing emails, having not yet showered or washed his hair. Half an hour later, the world’s media was snaking up the path to his house in Golders Green, north London. “How on earth did they know where I lived?” he puzzled, reviewing a day of “bizarre” events. It was, he says, not until the news was confirmed by the BBC that he began to compose himself to address the great honour bestowed upon him by the Swedes.
Last Thursday, Kazuo Ishiguro – a writer I’ve known for close on 40 years – was awarded the 2017 Nobel prize for literature. Precisely at noon, among its gilt-and-white mirrors, the Swedish Academy’s spokeswoman stepped in front of the international press with a short statement about its prize for “the English writer… Kazuo Ishiguro, whose novels of great emotional force have uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”, followed by allusions to Austen, Kafka and Proust. Then, the usual mayhem: how, what, when, and why?