books, quotes, style

I do not wish to appear smug

“Then we were kissing – just like, I suppose, a couple on the cinema screen. It was almost exactly as I had always imagined it would be, except there was something oddly inelegant about our embrace, and I tried more than once to adjust my posture; but my right foot was hard against a heavy box and I could not quite negotiate the necessary turn without risking my balance.”

– from When We Were Orphans. One of the reviews on there called Ishiguro “emotionally strangulated” – for heaven’s sake- his precision, and especially his modifiers upon descriptions (“oddly inelegant”) have much emotion as anyone could want. There’s nothing minimalist about his adjectives. His characters feel more than any ten others.

“My feeling is that she is thinking of herself as much as of me when she talks of a sense of mission, and the futility of attempting to evade it. Perhaps there are those who are able to go about their lives unfettered by such concerns. For those like us, our fate is to face the world as orphans, chasing through long years the shadows of vanished parents. There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.”