What’s Come Rain Or Come Shine all about?:
In this sublime story cycle, Kazuo Ishiguro explores love, music and the passage of time. Along the way we meet young dreamers, café musicians and faded stars, all at some moment of reckoning. This particular short story involves a married couple and their oldest friend who visits them at a critical moment in their relationship.
Gentle, intimate and witty, Nocturnes is underscored by a haunting theme: the struggle to restoke life’s romance, even as relationships flounder and youthful hopes recede.
What did I think?:
This is an interesting little story with an ending that was somewhat unresolved, which was a bit frustrating for me. Our narrator is Raymond who lives and works in Spain but is disillusioned with his job and his life. He accepts an invitation to visit two of his oldest friends who live in London, Charlie and Emily. However, when he arrives there he is greeted by Charlie who explains that his marriage is going through a rough patch and as a favour, he would like Raymond to smooth things over, ready for his return from a business trip, so his wife can learn to love him again. Raymond is not entirely happy about staying on his own with Emily, as he believes she is easily irritated by him, but agrees to try and help Charlie in any way he can. He soon comes to realise that Charlie sees him as a bit of a waster, so in spending time with Emily she will appreciate and acknowledge Charlie as being a better man than him.
Emily herself seems to think Raymond is going through some kind of mental breakdown, and treats him with kid gloves, which is understandable when she catches him in a bit of a situation involving a boot boiling in a saucepan with a newspaper between his teeth, a scene which is absolutely hilarious to read. They do have a connection in the kind of music they love however – the old crooners, which Emily’s husband Charlie is very unappreciative of and does not allow her to play. I’m not going to give away the ending which I was slightly disappointed by, except that I thought – “Surely there must be more?” Apart from this, I think the author creates really intriguing characters, that even though they are somewhat unlikeable pique your interest, leaving you wanting to know more about them. Is Raymond irritating? Probably. Is Charlie brash and unfeeling? I think so. Is Emily a bit patronising? Definitely. Did the author keep me reading? Oh yes.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint by Caitlin R. Kiernan from the collection A Book of Horrors.