My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs | Penguin Random House Canada

My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs

The Nobel Lecture

Publisher: Knopf Canada
The Nobel Lecture in Literature, delivered by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go and When We Were Young) at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 7, 2017, in an elegant, clothbound edition.

In their announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy recognized the emotional force of Kazuo Ishiguro’s fiction and his mastery at uncovering our illusory sense of connection with the world. In the eloquent and candid lecture he delivered upon accepting the award, Ishiguro reflects on the way he was shaped by his upbringing, and on the turning points in his career—“small scruffy moments . . . quiet, private sparks of revelation”—that made him the writer he is today.

With the same generous humanity that has graced his novels, Ishiguro here looks beyond himself, to the world that new generations of writers are taking on, and what it will mean—what it will demand of us—to make certain that literature remains not just alive, but essential.

An enduring work on writing and becoming a writer, by one of the most accomplished novelists of our generation.


Praise for Kazuo Ishiguro:

“Who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” —2017 Nobel Prize citation

“He’s a very interesting writer in many ways. I would say that if you mix Jane Austen—her comedy of manners and her psychological insights—with Kafka, then I think you have Ishiguro.” —Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy
“Kazuo Ishiguro! All his restless brilliance. I don’t think a reader, having passed through the maze of The Unconsoled, ever leaves it.” —Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
“I wish I’d written The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Though really, there are scores of them. You know you’ve read something special when your blinding jealousy is eclipsed (barely) by admiration.” —Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life, The Guardian

“The breathtaking quiet of his sentences struck me when I read, first, A Pale View of Hills, and that quiet, that waiting, is the instrument he’s perfected and the marvel of his fiction.” —Dionne Brand, author of Love Enough and Ossuaries
“It’s great news. He’s a versatile writer of clarity and depth. And popular, which is not always the case with Nobel laureates!” —Yann Martel, author of The High Mountains of Portugal and Life of Pi
“Kazuo Ishiguro is the Miles Davis of the written word—sounding the pristine note, trusting it to carry and sustain. God, the tone. I can close my eyes and suffer the charge of Stevens’ crippled love for Miss Kenton, the unbearable moment when she opens to him and he closes in return. All through Never Let Me Go, I wondered where and how the voice was leading; the final page took me apart. Trust—that’s what he’s taught me. Trust in the voice. Trust in the reader to listen, to hear.” —Alissa York, author of The Naturalist
“Delirious over Ishiguro news. This time the Nobel committee really got it right.” —Lynne Kutsukake, author of The Translation of Love  
“I just feel unalloyed delight about the news. Kazuo Ishiguro is a good, serious, brilliant and hardworking writer who has never been afraid to tackle big themes, nor to use science fiction (Never Let Me Go) or fantasy (The Buried Giant) as the vehicles he needed to drive his ideas. It’s a refreshing and intelligent choice by the Nobel committee. The only cloud I can imagine would be if this takes Ish too long away from his writing desk.” —Neil Gaiman