Kazuo Ishiguro's interview in the Guardian this weekend is interesting, in the light of a criticism often levelled at Anita Brookner:
He is unapologetic about repetition, citing the “continuity” of great film directors (he is a huge cinephile), and likes to claim that each of his first three books was essentially a rewrite of its predecessor. “Literary novelists are slightly defensive about being repetitive,” he says. “I think it is perfectly justified: you keep doing it until it comes closer and closer to what you want to say each time.”
Ishiguro defends himself, we're told, by constantly switching genre, something that can’t be said of Brookner
Again unlike Brookner, he mightn’t seem a fast writer. But the following is fascinating. One recalls Shostakovich who advised: think slowly, write quickly.
Each novel takes him around five years: a long build-up of research and thinking, followed by a speedy first draft, a process he compares to a samurai sword fight: “You stare at each other silently for ages, usually with tall grass blowing away and moody sky. You are thinking all the time, and then in a split second it happens. The swords are drawn: Wham! Wham! Wham! And one of them falls,” he explains, wielding an imaginary sword at the screen. “You had to get your mind absolutely right and then when you drew that sword you just did it: Wham! It had to be the perfect cut.”