Heartbreak in five movements

From The Guardian:

Book Nocturnes is Ishiguro's first collection of short stories, after six novels. He has said in interviews that he conceived the book holistically, almost as a piece of music in five movements. Like a cycle, the collection begins and ends in the same place – Italy – and it contains modulations of tone that would be awkward within a single narrative. The opening story, “Crooner”, establishes a mood of quiet melancholy. Tony Gardner, an ageing American singer, comes to Venice with his wife, Lindy. He hires Jan, a guitarist from a band in the Piazza San Marco, to accompany him while he serenades his wife from a gondola beneath their hotel window.

Jan, the narrator, is thrilled to be in Gardner's company; his records, he tells Gardner effusively, were one of the only sources of comfort to his beleaguered single mother as she was raising him in communist Poland. When, at the end of the serenade, Jan hears Gardner's wife sobbing inside her hotel room, he thinks their music has helped bring the couple back together after a row: '”We did it, Mr Gardner!' I whispered. 'We did it. We got her by the heart.”' He is right, but not in the way he imagines. With his mixture of overfamiliarity, ingenuity and banal patter (“it was a relief, let me tell you”), Jan is a typical Ishiguro narrator, recounting episodes from his life with a frankness that reveals more than he intends.

More here.