STOCKHOLM (Agencies) – Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japan-born British author of Remains of the Day, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy announced yesterday.
Ishiguro won the Man Booker Prize for the 1989 novel that was made into an Oscar-nominated movie.
The Swedish Academy hailed his ability to reveal “the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.
The award of the 9 million crown ($1.1 million) prize marks a return to a more mainstream interpretation of literature after it went to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan last year.
Born in Nagasaki, Ishiguro moved to Britain with his family when he was five years old, only returning to visit Japan as an adult.
Both his first novel A Pale View of Hills from 1982 and the subsequent one, An Artist of the Floating World from 1986, take place in Nagasaki after World War II.
“The themes Ishiguro is most associated with are already present here: memory, time, and self-delusion,” the Academy said. “This is particularly notable in his most renowned novel, The Remains of the Day,” which was turned into a film with Anthony Hopkins acting as the duty-obsessed butler Stevens.
“Ishiguro’s writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place,” it said.
Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy said: “He is a little bit like a mix of Jane Austen, comedy of manners and Franz Kafka. If you mix this a little, not too much, you get Ishiguro in a nutshell.”
Apart from his eight books, Ishiguro has also written scripts for film and television.
Ishiguro takes his place beside Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Doris Lessing and Ernest Hemingway as winner of the world’s most prestigious literary award.
Critics said the decision to give last year’s prize to Dylan was a snub to more deserving candidates and strayed beyond what is traditionally deemed literature.
The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.