Not referring to those in saying so long as it's not a formula. There are novelists where you expect a formula, and that's fine. Readers of Tom Clancy know what to expect in terms of formula. And that's what they want. Don't deliver, someone's going to be disappointed in that expectation. It's honest and up front. They're doing the business.
I read a novel by someone whose previous novel I had very much admired. A 'standalone', outwith genre, except maybe ghost story. The new novel was excellent IF YOU had not read an earlier novel to feel this one was a recycling; same story, even the same characters, just a new, if very well written setting. I enjoyed it, but also felt somehow cheated.
Ishiguro's last comment in this extract is interesting.
Extract from the Interview:
What inspired your second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, about a painter whose pro-militarist stance during the war comes back to haunt him?
There was a subplot in A Pale View of Hills about an old teacher who has to rethink the values on which he’s built his life. I said to myself, I would like to write a full-blown novel about a man in this situation—in this case, an artist whose career becomes contaminated because he happens to live at a certain time.
Then The Remains of the Day was set in motion by that novel. I looked at An Artist of the Floating World and thought, This is quite satisfactory in terms of exploring this theme about the wasted life in terms of career, but what about in your personal life? When you’re young, you think everything is to do with your career. Eventually you realize that your career is only a part of it. And I was feeling that. I wanted to write the whole thing again. How do you waste your life careerwise, and how do you waste your life in the personal arena?
Why did you decide that Japan was no longer the appropriate setting for that story?
By the time I started The Remains of the Day, I realized that the essence of what I wanted to write was moveable.
I think that’s very particular to you. It shows a certain chameleon-like ability.
I don’t think it is that chameleon-like. What I’m saying is I’ve written the same book three times. I just somehow got away with it.
You think you have, but everyone who read your first novels and then read The Remains of the Day had a psychedelic moment—they were transported from this convincing Japanese setting to Lord Darlington’s estate.
That’s because people see the last thing first. For me, the essence doesn’t lie in the setting.