• An Artist of the Floating World

  • By: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by: David Case
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (286 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of an artist as an aging man, struggling through the wreckage of Japan's World War II experience. Ishiguro's first novel.
©1986 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books

Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award

What listeners say about An Artist of the Floating World

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An incongruous reader

Of course one wants to read Ishiguro in part because of the Nobel Prize but this quiet book about the post war Japanese "reckoning" with the past is very hard to listen to because I think the choice of the reader was completely wrong. The main character's "voice" is a deep breathy upper class English one which is not at all the voice I heard through reading the book. I have no idea why he was chosen but it ruined the book for me. Ishiguro writes in English but this story is about Japan and Audible should have done more work on trying to match the reader to the character.

12 people found this helpful

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I liked this one nearly as much...

as The Remains Of The Day. Because it has all the same elements: an aging character reflecting back on a world which he must now leave for a new and changing time, a well-crafted little world and characters simple but so incredibly recognizable.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting First-Person Narrative

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand better Ishiguro's world. This book explores the difficulty of evaluating the past (especially one's own past) because of the complexity of human motivation and the social and historical forces influencing the decisions people make.

What other book might you compare An Artist of the Floating World to and why?

There are similar themes in The Remains of the Day, especially the theme of self-delusion.

If you could rename An Artist of the Floating World, what would you call it?

The Bridge of Hesitation

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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as beautiful as a japanese painting.

a beautiful shiort novella (206 pages) with delightful characters. there's just enough of the japanese culture for us westerners to understand it but not so much to loose us in it.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Poor Performance

The reader butchers the pronunciation of all Japanese words and names, and downright offense attempts at relaying the voices of children and females.

6 people found this helpful

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too bad

i absolutley love david case and will listen to books just because they are narrated by him. sadly i could not get into this one at all. i could not tell you anything about this story even dough i finished it. too bad

2 people found this helpful

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Profoundly boring

I really wanted to like it, and I stayed with it, but... ultimately quite dull, despite the intriguing topic.

1 person found this helpful

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Elegant story ruined by audio quality

Listen, I love Kazuo Ishiguro and relish his books, which gives you context for when I say I could not get through this audiobook. It was recorded in the 90s and probably converted from tape and the audio quality is terrible. It was also recorded in a time when we thought audiobook narrators should sound like stereotypical Oxford lecturers with no affect or variations in pacing. Skip this one until Audible releases a newer recording.

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Not quite great ...

An Artist ... is a solid novel, but doesn't quite stand up to Ishiguro's very best (Remains, Never, and Klara). But after all, this is an early work, and almost a trial run for Remains of the Day in theme and tone. The narration here is dreadful, though. David Case is perfect for Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde, but his cloying arch tone and music hall British toff accent clash painfully with what should be a restrained, nuanced reading. The narrator's ego should not be the takeaway from a work as good as this one.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Miscast narrator!

Could not absorb this book with such a British accented narrator posing as a Japanese man. Completely ruined it for me.