A Village After Dark

This year’s Nobel prize for literature was announced yesterday. I don’t usually pay much attention to these types of awards, but I really thought that this would be Margaret Atwood’s year. Still, even though I was surprised by the selection of Kazuo Ishiguro, I am a fan of his work. In fact, I think that “Never Let Me Go” is an often overlooked masterpiece.

The prize announcement reminded me of one of Ishiguro’s enigmatic short stories titled “A Village After Dark” that I read years ago in The New Yorker magazine:

There was nothing I recognized, and I found myself walking forever around twisting, badly lit streets hemmed in on both sides by the little stone cottages characteristic of the area. The streets often became so narrow I could make no progress without my bag or my elbow scraping one rough wall or another. I persevered nevertheless, stumbling around in the darkness in the hope of coming upon the village square—where I could at least orient myself—or else of encountering one of the villagers. When after a while I had done neither, a weariness came over me, and I decided my best course was just to choose a cottage at random, knock on the door, and hope it would be opened by someone who remembered me.

You can read the entire short story here.

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