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- More fundamentally, I'm interested in memory because it's a filter through which we see our lives, and because it's foggy and obscure, the opportunities for self-deception are there. In the end, as a writer, I'm more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.
- Dunn, Adam. "In the land of memory: Kazuo Ishiguro remembers when" cnn.com Book News. 27 Oct. 2000 (archived from the original on 2001-06-25).
- I have a sense of having just left without saying goodbye, and of this whole other world just kind of fading away. … I have the feeling of this completely alternative person I should have become. There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.
- I don't really like to work with literary allusions very much. I never want to be in a position where I'm saying, "You've got to read a lot of other stuff" or "You've got to have had a good education in literature to fully appreciate what I'm doing." ... I actually dislike, more than many people, working through literary allusion. I just feel that there's something a bit snobbish or elitist about that. I don't like it as a reader, when I'm reading something. It's not just the elitism of it; it jolts me out of the mode in which I'm reading. I've immersed myself in the world and then when the light goes on I'm supposed to be making some kind of literary comparison to another text. I find I'm pulled out of my kind of fictional world, I'm asked to use my brain in a different kind of way. I don't like that.
- Rukeyser, Rebecca. "Kazuo Ishiguro: Mythic Retreat" guernicamag.com interview. 1 May 2015.
The Remains of the Day (1989)
- It is now some twenty minutes since the man left, but I have remained here on this bench to await the event that has just taken place – namely, the switching on of the pier lights. As I say, the happiness with which the pleasure-seekers gathering on this pier greeted this small event would tend to vouch for the correctness of my companion’s words; for a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and I, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services. What is the point in worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.
- p. 244
- Perhaps it is indeed time I began to look at this whole matter of bantering more enthusiastically. After all, when one thinks about it, it is not such a foolish thing to indulge in – particularly if it is the case that in bantering lies the key to human warmth.
- p. 245
Never Let Me Go (2005)
- All page numbers from the trade paperback First Vintage International Edition published by Vintage Books in March 2006
- My donors have always tended to do much better than expected.
- p. 3
- And I'm a Hailsham student – which is enough by itself sometimes to get people's backs up.
- p. 3
- Ruth, incidentally, was only the third or fourth donor I got to choose.
- p. 4
- The idiot.
- p. 7
- Tommy's got his shirt on. His favourite polo shirt.
- p. 8
- It'll come off. If you can't get it off yourself, just take it to Miss Jody.
- p. 11
- It's nothing to do with you anyway.
- p. 11
- 'At least you got him to pipe down,' she said. 'Are you okay? Mad animal.'
- p. 12
- Kath, I've been looking all over for you. I mean't to say sorry. I mean, I'm really, really sorry. I honestly didn't mean to hit you the other day. I wouldn't dream of hitting a girl, and even if I did, I'd never want to hit you. I'm really, really sorry.
- pp. 13–14
- ... I must admit, if it hadn't been for the encounter on the stairs, i probably wouldn't have taken the interest I did in Tommy's problems over the next several weeks.
- p. 14
- I'd no idea if anyone was actually watching.
- p. 25
- She said we weren't being taught enough.
- p. 29
- What is this gallery? Why should she have a gallery of things done by us?
- p. 30
- Maybe she sells them. Outside, out there.
- p. 31
- Ruth insisted – that she really was afraid of us.
- p. 34
- It never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel being seen like that.
- p. 34
- I won't be a carer any more come the end of the year, and though I've got a lot out of it, I have to admit I'll welcome the chance to rest.
- p. 37
- until it came to dominate our lives.
- p. 37
- nostalgic about their collections.
- p. 38
- The Sales were important to us because that was how we got hold of things from outside.
- p. 41
- Her general drift was clear enough: we were all very special, being Hailsham students, and so it was all the more disappointing when we behaved badly.
- p. 43
- Miss Emily had an intellect you could slice logs with.
- p. 43
- It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you've made, and there's this panic because you don't know yet the scale of disaster you've left yourself open to.
- Well, this is a surprise. If you aren't here to give me trouble, then why are you here?
- p. 248
- This is all strictly against regulations, of course, and Marie-Claude should never have asked you in. And naturally, I should have turned you out the second I knew you were here. But Marie-Claude doesn't care much for their regulations these days, and I must say, neither do I.
- p. 259
- Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don't go along with that. The memories I value most, I don't see them ever fading.
- p. 280
- I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever.
- p. 282
Quotes about Ishiguro
- [Kazuo Ishiguro], in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.
- Nobel Prize Committee (2017)