The most gentlemanly of writers – Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro
Last year’s prize went to Dylan, this year it went to his biggest fan
Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel prize. His fellow writers, his readers, his friends, his colleagues and translators all over the world, will have sat up straighter suddenly with an exclamation of simple joy at the news. With the death of Seamus Heaney you had the gnawing sense that the heart had gone out of the writing world. Seamus was a radiant and extraordinary soul, and you can apply exactly the same words to the great Ishiguro.
How clever and astute are the Nobel prize committee. Having given the
prize last year to Bob Dylan, they have given this year’s prize to Dylan’s biggest fan. Joseph Conrad busied himself with writing seven or eight masterpieces in a row; Ishiguro has done exactly the same. Are we allowed to say that he, like Seamus, is one of the most truly gentlemanly writers in the history of the literary world, the most agreeable, the most storied, the most kind? Perhaps none of that should matter – but it does, somehow. Between genius and gentleness he has taken his measure of the world, and is himself a measure of the best that humankind can be. How delightful that the Nobel has alighted in his garden.