KAZUO ISHIGURO’S, “WHEN WE WERE ORPHANS.”

It first started when I read Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment,’ and was so amazed by it that I went on to read just about everyone of his books, expecting at least one to be a disappointment but it never happened.

It then happened with Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness,” which I still consider the best 100 pages of literature I have ever read, and like with Dostoevsky I went on to read everyone of his books and was always amazed by their brilliance (excluding the ones’ he co-wrote with Ford).

The same was true with the Bronte sisters, Toni Morrison, Ann Patchett, and James Baldwin. Sadly, Hemingway and Don DeLillo’s later books were a disappointment.

And now the Dostoevsky/Conrad effect has also happened with Kazuo Ishiguro’s books. After reading Mr. Ishiguro’s ‘Never let me Go,’ I have gone on to read all his other books and have never been disappointed and always amazed at the level of brilliance throughout his works.

I was greatly enhanced in the reading of Mr. Ishiguro’s, “When We Were Orphans,” by recently reading a book on the opium wars recommended to me by a friend on Goodreads. “When We were Orphans,” has many levels to it, not only are the characters great but the character of Sarah Hemmings is mystifying and reminded me of one of my favorite female characters of all time, Brett, in “The Sun Also Rises.” The settings in London and Shanghai in the early to mid 1930’s are so realistic that I felt like I had been transported there, and the British colonization of China and the flood of opium into China from British companies is both devastating and deeply unsettling. Mr. Ishiguro’s writing is sublime, and like Hemingway one needs to look beyond his words to truly understand the impact and meaning of what he is trying to get across.

Mr. Ishiguro is an amazing talent.

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