Epiphanies, Kazuo Ishiguro and the Best One Line in a Review for Sometime

Troy Jollimore’s recent review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s new book Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, had one of those brilliant one liners that can some describe a whole class of fiction well. He writes, “Characters in contemporary fiction often suffer from Multiple Epiphany Disorder.” It is a line that sums up so much of contemporary short stories. The problem I have with the epiphanies is people seldom have them and when they do they seldom follow them. Moreover, it makes the fiction read like your 7th grade report about the field trip so that story really seems to have ended this way: I learned that… It is refreshing to see a writer avoid such nonsense. I think part of the problem is young writers are taught to have epiphanies. I remember I was. Someday, maybe, that vogue will disappear, but for now we at least have Ishiuro’s stories.