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Ono, an artist who had put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II, struggles through the devastation of that war. His memories of his youth and of the "floating world"--the nocturnal realm of pleasure, entertainment, and drink--offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise as an artist. Drifting in disgrace in postwar Japan, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward.
"Good writers abound--good novelists are very rare. Kazuo Ishiguro is that rarity... An Artist of the Floating World is the kind [of book] that stretches the reader's awareness, teaching him to read more perceptively."
--New York Times Book Review