Read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Subtle and Unsettling Story “A Village After Dark”

There was a time when I could travel England for weeks on end and remain at my sharpest—when, if anything, the travelling gave me an edge. But now that I am older I become disoriented more easily. So it was that on arriving at the village just after dark I failed to find my bearings at all. I could hardly believe I was in the same village in which not so long ago I had lived and come to exercise such influence.

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.

I stopped by a particularly rickety-looking door, whose upper beam was so low that I could see I would have to crouch right down to enter. A dim light was leaking out around the door’s edges, and I could hear voices and laughter. I knocked loudly to insure that the occupants would hear me over their talk. But just then someone behind me said, “Hello.”

Read the rest of Kazuo Ishiguro’s story “A Village After Dark” at The New Yorker; you can also hear Ben Marcus read and discuss the story on The New Yorker’s fiction podcast.

 

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2 comments

  1. persongetorix · September 15, 2013

    Sept. 21, 2011 on the podcast feed, for those trying to find it in the back catalog. Thanks for the post, I’m downloading it now.

    Like

  2. randomkhaos · September 15, 2013

    There’s also some Denis Johnson, Bolano, as well as some Calvino and Borges tucked away on the NY’er podcast site. In spite of what Apple says about Ishiguro’s not being available ‘in this country’, a search at the iTunes site will bring up the list.

    Like

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