The Dialogue Society Book Group – Meeting 48: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend


In this session of the Dialogue Society Book Group, we will explore An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro on Friday, 3rd November 2023.


An Artist of the Floating World is set in post-World War II Japan and is narrated by Masuji Ono, an ageing painter who looks back on his life and how he has lived it. He notices how his once-great reputation has faltered since the war and how attitudes towards him and his paintings have changed. The chief conflict deals with Ono’s need to accept responsibility for his past actions, rendered politically suspect in the context of post-war Japan.

Literary Significance

  • The novel was shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for the same year. It was a nominee for Best Books for young adults.
  • Scottish writer, lecturer and editor Iain Maloney listed An Artist of the Floating World as an essential novel for Japanophiles.
  • English writer and editor (1953) Robert McCrum ranked it as one of the 100 greatest novels ever written.
  • The Nobel Foundation, which awarded Ishiguro the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, noted in its biography of the author that An Artist of the Floating World was the work that made him “a highly visible young writer”.

About the Dialogue Society Book Group

The Dialogue Society Book Group explores the capacity of books to provide windows into different cultural and intercultural worlds. We will be choosing a series of quality novels to read and then discuss together at relaxed, sociable gatherings at the Dialogue Society. Participants are welcome to suggest books for future sessions.

Participants will need to find a copy of the book chosen for each meeting and will need to read it prior to the meeting.

We will have a conversation about the book and our responses to it. Discussion may cover:

  • the quality of the storytelling
  • the authenticity and accuracy with which a historical/cultural situation is portrayed
  • our personal responses to it

You do not need to be an expert on literature or anything else to join in. The group should be enjoyable for anyone who enjoys a good book and likes discovering new ones.