Kazuo Ishiguro Books in Order List and Best Books

Who is Kazuo Ishiguro?

Kazuo Ishiguro is a critically acclaimed British author and novelist of Japanese origin. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, on 8 November 1954 and moved to England when he was five years old.

His first novel, “A Pale View of Hills,” appeared in 1982. Other novels include “The Remains of the Day” (1989), which won the Booker Prize and became an international bestseller, as well as “An Artist of the Floating World” (1986) and “The Unconsoled” (1995). His novels are set mostly in England and are known for their unadorned prose and psychological realism. 

He has also written screenplays for movies such as The White Countess(2005), starring Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson, and The Saddest Music in the World(2003).

After years of creating and publishing books, Kazuo Ishiguro was finally rewarded for his hard work when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017 ( prestigious literary award’s 110th Winner)

In recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro’s literary output has slowed down to almost one book every five years. He maintains that he will never write a sequel to any of his novels because they can be read as self-contained stories. His most recent novel “Klara and the Sun“, the first novel since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, was published by  Faber and Faber on March 2, 2021.

Although he only wrote eight books, Kazuo Ishiguro is a very celebrated and well-known author. His books are worth every penny because they are engaging, thought-provoking, and deep with intriguing content. You will not regret adding Kazuo Ishiguro’s books to your bucket list.

Best Kazuo Ishiguro Books

ImageProductFeaturesMore Info
1. The Remains of the Day 1. The Remains of the Day
  • Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989
  • A film adaptation of the novel, made in 1993
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2. An Artist of the Floating World 2. An Artist of the Floating World
  • won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award 1986

 

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3. Never Let Me Go 3. Never Let Me Go
  • received an ALA Alex Award in 2006
  • A film adaptation directed by Mark Romanek was released in 2010
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Kazuo Ishiguro Award-Winning Books

A Pale View of Hills

  • 1982: Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for A Pale View of Hills

An Artist of the Floating World

  • 1986: Whitbread Prize for An Artist of the Floating World
  • 1986: Booker Prize shortlisted

The Remains of the Day

Never Let Me Go

  • 2005: Never Let Me Go named on Time magazine’s list of the 100 greatest  English language novels since the magazine’s formation in 1923

Klara and the Sun (2021)

  • 2021: Booker Prize for Klara and the Sun

The Latest Book by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun is Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest and first novel since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The book tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend.

Artificial Friends are humanoid machines sold as children’s companions, but Klara lives in a store window where she sees and can be seen. She watches patiently in the store – anyone who enters and any passerby on the street outside. She knows she’ll be chosen soon – not because of her outer beauty, but because of her observational qualities and the way she listens attentively.

Until one day when someone comes into the shop looking for an Artificial Friend…

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Kazuo Ishiguro Books in Order

1.  A Pale View of Hills (1982)

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This is the first novel of Ishiguro’s that won him considerable critical acclaim at home in Britain and abroad.

It is about the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman living in England who doesn’t understand why her daughter killed herself. The novel starts with her remembering scenes from Japan’s devastation in the aftermath of World War II and progresses to Etsuko’s life after her daughter’s death.

She also remembers an affair with a British soldier during this time period, which resulted in a pregnancy. As she reviews these memories, she realizes that there was never any real escape from war for anyone involved in it.

She sees parallels between herself and those who lived through Hiroshima- Nagasaki bombings and the Vietnam War. Studying these parallels is a way for her to avoid facing the reality of her daughter’s death.

2. An Artist of the Floating World (1986)

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“An Artist of the Floating World” is the second novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, and was shortlisted in October of 1986 for the Booker Prize and won the prize of the Whitbread Fiction Award. The story revolves around an aging painter who has lived through a period of Japan’s history which he had desired – that is until his life takes unexpected turns.

The book takes place in Japan at the end of WWII.  The main character is Masuji Ono, an old man who has lost his self-confidence and is ashamed of his past (he was once a famous artist).

In the face of World War II, Ono is willing to sacrifice happiness in his homeland and help the imperialist movement that led Japan into war.

In this book, we see a painter who has led an incredible life in the shadows. Now, as he’s rediscovering his talents later through old photos and memories of the floating world, it seems to offer him both escape and redemption. We’re sure you’ll find plenty of laughs and tears with this true coming-of-age story that will resonate deeply with anyone wanting to know more about Japan’s involvement in World War II.

Life’s not easy after being rejected from society, but memories offer him a different perspective.

3. The Remains of the Day (1989)

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The Remains of the Day is a story primarily about regret; throughout his life, Stevens put his absolute trust and devotion in a man who makes drastic mistakes. In the totality of his professional commitment, Stevens fails to pursue the one woman with whom he could have had a fulfilling and loving relationship; this is because his prime mask of formality cuts him off from intimacy, companionship, and understanding.

Stevens describes his memories in four different episodes. Each episode deals with a different period of his professional and personal life. The first episode describes Stevens’s childhood, specifically the influence that housekeeper Miss Kenton has on his early working life. 

The great butler, Mr. Stevens, has lived an exemplary, faithful life in service of Lord Darlington at the estate called Darlington Hall. He is very proud of his work and has always done everything he could to serve Darlington well. 

The key theme of The Remains of the Day is regretfulness; Stevens regrets so many things that happened in his life, such as mistakes and misunderstandings during his career as a butler, but most importantly, not having resolved his feelings towards Miss Kenton. He admits that his choice was caused by fear: “I had loved her too much”.

Dissonance versus symmetry is another important theme within the novel. This refers to Stevens’s struggle between his desire for companionship and intimacy versus the need to maintain formality and professionalism throughout his workday. The internal conflict evident in each episode depicts Stevens’s continuous battle between these two desires.

The Remains of the Day was adapted into a movie and is also an award-winning 1993 film directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

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4.  The Unconsoled (1995)

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The novel takes place over three days. It is about Ryder, a pianist who goes into this weird city in Central Europe where there are people obsessed with weird things. Some things don’t make sense or seem normal at all. 

He gets distracted and loses time while trying to remember things from his past. Then after going through several different dreams/adventures, he seems to have some realization of what happened to him when he was younger…

By the end, he realizes that what he’s going through might be one of the most challenging performances for him ever.

The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro is a thought-provoking and sometimes frustrating read. However, it’s not a straightforward story to get through because it deals with some heavy topics like death and grief for many older people.

Some readers may find themselves questioning what they would do if faced with similar situations as those found in the book. Others might relate on a personal level or see their life parallels within its pages. Either way, we think this work is worth your time, so buckle up and prepare yourself for one wild ride!

The novel had received the Cheltenham Prize in 1995.

5. When We Were Orphans (2000)

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This book is about an English detective named Christopher Banks who has an outstanding mystery in the past. He wants to solve the mystery, so he decides to visit Shanghai for a case about his parents’ disappearance. Japan used to control Shanghai in 1937, and it was the start of World War 2. So in order to find the truth about his parents, Bank starts looking for clues and suspects in Shanghai.

Banks tries to figure out what happened to both of his parents. His father had disappeared when they lived in Shanghai (which is now being invaded), and his mother disappeared when they were living in London(he now lives alone). He thinks that by finding their bodies, he’ll finally be able to know what happened all those years ago.

When we were Orphans was shortlisted for both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Booker Prize for Fiction.

6. Never Let Me Go (2005)

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In “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, a realistic picture is painted of what could happen if human cloning occurs. The novel raises many ethical and moral questions about cloning, as well as our duties to others. It is a book that describes the lives of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy as they spend their childhood at Hailsham – an exclusive boarding school located in the British countryside; and later on how they deal with life after leaving Hailsham. 

Never Let Me Go is the story of what happens to clones who are created for no other purpose than to donate vital organs. It explores how their lives are affected when they begin to question why they were brought into this world.

The main characters Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy attend Hailsham together as children. For many years, all three believed that they were “special” because of the way they were brought up at Hailsham. They have been told that their donations will lengthen human lifespan and give them a chance to live forever. It is only years into adulthood that they begin to question why such claims have never been proven and start doubting what was once perceived as absolute truth.

Never Let Me Go is the type of book where the characters drive the story instead of plot devices because there isn’t anyone main character or even an antagonist that we root against. Instead, it is all about everyone working together, which gives this novel such a realistic feel.

This is one of those novels where the author gives us just enough information to let our imagination build the rest. It is like a puzzle we are trying to figure out as we read because there isn’t anything that brings everything together at once. The only thing it leaves up in the air is what happens when Kathy’s story ends and whether or not she might have had some type of vision that gave her hope for the future. 

Speaking of hope, one theme that is found throughout this entire novel was how these children were never given any hope even though they all seemed so innocent.

Never Let Me Go was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel was also awarded several literary prizes throughout Europe and was adapted to film by Alex Garland starring Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

7. The Buried Giant (2015)

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The Buried Giant is a powerful work exploring the power and consequences of human love. It was also nominated for the 2016 World Fantasy Award for best novel and the 2016 Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature. 

The story is set in a time of mist and rain when two main characters, Axl and Beatrice, go on a journey in the hope of finding their son they haven’t seen for years. However, they soon find out that the world is not what it seems to encounter many strange happenings along their journey. The book is a mix of fantasy, magic, and reality that will make you question everything.

The book goes back and forth from the present time where Axl and Beatrice search for their son to flashbacks of memories from the past and memories buried deep within one’s mind. It explores how we choose to remember things from our past: are we really remembering the truth or simply retelling what we want to remember? 

The Buried Giants is about a world where swords, dragons, and magic exist. There’s also King Arthur. A “mist” that permeates the grass and time periods throughout the book also has a role in the story. When you get to the end of it, it is revealed that this mist was actually hatred in history between people from different places.

In 6th century England, when Rome withdrew from Britain due to barbarian invasions, they found themselves exposed to more and more barbarians because of all of this “mist”. The Britons began to see themselves as Romans before all of this happened, but after everything started happening, they realized how much their country had changed too fast for them to keep up with it.

When everyone is talking about how to move forward and forget about everything that happened in history, they decide to get rid of this hatred between countries. The Buried Giant‘s theme is not forgetting our history.

8. Klara and the Sun (2021)

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel since winning a Nobel Prize tells us about our changing world through an unforgettable narrator while exploring fundamental questions of love: What does it mean? And what is its value? 

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Clara and the Sun is a sci-fi novel about an artificial intelligence robot named Clara.  Clara’s unique quality is her ability to care for others. In the novel, she shows care and love for Josie, a girl dying from cancer. 

The novel comes to a climax when it turns out that Josie’s mother wanted Clara not just as her daughter’s friend but as “Josie” herself. The so-called “continuation” is closer to replication. 

When Clara has learned everything about Josie, she will become a new “Josie” with the same appearance as Josie. No one can stop humans from making their decisions with a sense of purpose, but that purpose becomes not so bright when we are faced with Clara’s selfless love.

From Clara’s perspective, it becomes clear that there is a lack of trust and love in the Josie family, which would create the struggle of loneliness and hopelessness and even leave the family facing the crisis of disintegration.

I felt a sense of sadness at the end of the book. Clara has been trying to learn to get closer to a human emotional state. Still, in the eyes of those people, including Josie’s, it is always difficult to treat her as a real human being and even be wary, even after Clara has contributed to Josie’s healing.

Kazuo Ishiguro Nobel Lecture (2017)