Kazuo Ishiguro Quotes

40 of the best book quotes from Kazuo Ishiguro
  1. #1
    “The atmosphere was dominated by a feeling of mutual respect . . . There existed in those days a true camaraderie in our profession, whatever the small differences in our approach.”
  2. #2
    “If it is necessary to convey a message, I would ask you to do so through a messenger. . . Our working relationship, I am sure, would be made a great deal easier.”
  3. #3
    “The great butlers are great by virtue of their ability to inhabit their professional role and inhabit it to the utmost . . . They wear their professionalism as a decent gentleman will wear his suit.”
  4. #4
    “For we were, as I say, an idealistic generation for whom the question was not simply one of how well one practiced one’s skills, but to what end one did so.”
  5. #5
    “And yet what precisely is this ‘greatness’? Just where, or in what, does it lie? . . . I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart.”
  6. #6
    “These errors may be trivial in themselves, but you must yourself realize their larger significance.”
  7. #7
    “He is an amateur and international affairs today are no longer for gentleman amateurs.”
  8. #8
    “It is quite possible, then, that my employer fully expects me to respond to his bantering in a like manner, and considers my failure to do so a form of negligence.”
  9. #9
    “Each of us harboured the desire to make our own small contribution to the creation of a better world, and saw that, as professionals, the surest means of doing so would be to serve the great gentlemen of our times in whose hands civilization had been entrusted.”
  10. #10
    “The days when you could act out of your noble instincts are over. Except of course, you here in Europe don’t yet seem to know it.”
  1. #11
    “It is quite possible, then, that my employer fully expects me to respond to his bantering in a like manner, and considers my failure to do so a form of negligence.”
  2. #12
    “I had been rather pleased with my witticism when it had first come into my head, and I must confess I was slightly disappointed it had not been better received than it was.”
  3. #13
    “Indeed—why should I not admit it?—at that moment, my heart was breaking.”
  4. #14
    “In bantering lies the key to human warmth.”
  5. #15
    “I fought that war to preserve justice in this world.”
  6. #16
    “And I believe it was then, looking at that view, that I began for the first time to adopt a frame of mind appropriate for the journey before me.”
  7. #17
    “I have been responsible for a series of small errors in the carrying out of my duties.”
  8. #18
    “Such evidently small incidents . . . render whole dreams forever irredeemable.”
  9. #19
    “I should . . . try to make the best of what remains of my day.”
  10. #20
    “All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile.”

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  1. #21
    “I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafés were for everyone else.”
  2. #22
    “I won’t be a carer any more come the end of the year, and though I’ve got a lot out of it, I have to admit I’ll welcome the chance to rest—to stop and think and remember. I’m sure it’s at least partly to do with that, to do with preparing for the change of pace, that I’ve been getting this urge to order all these old memories.”
  3. #23
    “Listen, Tommy, your art, it is important. And not just because it’s evidence. But for your own sake. You’ll get a lot from it, just for yourself.”
  4. #24
    “My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years.”
  5. #25
    “None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you.”
  6. #26
    “I was like you, Tommy. I was pretty much ready when I became a donor. It felt right. After all, it’s what we’re supposed to be doing, isn’t it?”
  7. #27
    “It should have been you two. I’m not pretending I didn’t always see that. Of course I did, as far back as I can remember. But I kept you apart. I’m not asking you to forgive me for that. That’s not what I’m after just now. What I want is for you to put it right. Put right what I messed up for you.”
  8. #28
    “Nevertheless, we all of us, to varying degrees, believed that when you saw the person you were copied from, you’d get some insight into who you were deep down, and maybe too, you’d see something of what your life held in store.”
  9. #29
    “There have been times over the years when I’ve tried to leave Hailsham behind, when I’ve told myself I shouldn’t look back so much. But then there came a point when I just stopped resisting.”
  10. #30
    “And so we stood together like that, at the top of that field, for what seemed like ages, not saying anything, just holding each other, while the wind kept blowing and blowing at us, tugging our clothes, and for a moment, it seemed like we were holding onto each other because that was the only way to stop us being swept away into the night.”
  1. #31
    “Those early months at the Cottages had been a strange time in our friendship. We were quarrelling over all kinds of little things, but at the same time we were confiding in each other more than ever.”
  2. #32
    “I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how I think it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”
  3. #33
    “I thought about Hailsham closing, and how it was like someone coming along with a pair of shears and snipping the balloon strings just where they entwined above the man’s fist. Once that happened, there’d be no real sense in which those balloons belonged with each other any more.”
  4. #34
    “But this dream of yours, this dream of being able to defer. Such a thing would always have been beyond us to grant, even at the height of our influence. I’m sorry, I can see what I’m saying won’t be welcome to you. But you mustn’t be dejected.”
  5. #35
    “I was talking to one of my donors a few days ago who was complaining about how memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t see them ever fading.”
  6. #36
    “Or maybe I’m remembering it wrong.”
  7. #37
    “The fantasy never got beyond that—I didn’t let it—and though the tears rolled down my face, I wasn’t sobbing or out of control. I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be.”
  8. #38
    “So you’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realize that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you—of how you were brought into this world and why—and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs.”
  9. #39
    “But in the end I managed it, and the instant I saw her again, at that recovery centre in Dover, all our differences—while they didn’t exactly vanish—seemed not nearly as important as all the other things.”
  10. #40
    “I suppose it was mainly us newcomers who talked about ‘dream futures’ that winter, though a number of veterans did too . . . It couldn’t last, of course, but like I say, just for those few months, we somehow managed to live in this cosy state of suspension in which we could ponder our lives without the usual boundaries.”

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A Bedtime Yarn book
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Book Topics › being different
Children's Books About Being Different

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