when-we-were-orphans

Everything might scatter. You might be right. I suppose it’s something we can’t easily get away from. People need to feel they belong. To a nation, to a race. Otherwise, who knows what might happen? This civilisation of ours, perhaps it’ll just collapse. And everything scatter, as you put it.
—  Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans
The colonel nodded. “Our childhood seems so far away now. All this” - he gestured out of the vehicle - “so much suffering. One of our Japanese poets, a court lady many years ago, wrote how sad this was. She wrote of how our childhood becomes like a foreign land once we have grown.”
“Well, Colonel, it’s hardly a foreign land to me. In many ways, it’s where I’ve continued to live all my life. It’s only now I’ve started to make my journey from it.
—  Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans
All I know is that I’ve wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I’d get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don’t want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s sky.
—  Kazuo Ishiguro,
When We Were Orphans
All I know is that I’ve wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I’d get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don’t want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s sky. That’s what I want now, and I think it’s what you should want too. But it will be too late soon. We’ll become too set to change. If we don’t take our chance now, another may never come for either of us.
—  Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans
“Well, lad?” the colonel’s voice had said near me. “Think you’ll be back again one day?”
“Yes, sir. I except I’ll come back.”
“We’ll see. Once you’re settled in England, I dare say you’ll forget all this quickly enough. Shanghai’s not a bad place. But eight years is about as much as I can take of it, and I expect you’ve had about as much as you need. Much more, you’ll be turning into a Chinaman.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Look here, old fellow. You really ought to cheer up. After all, you’re going to England. You’re going home.”
It was this last remark, this notion that I was “going home”, which caused my emotions to get the better of me for - I am certain of this - the first and last time on that voyage. Even then, my tears were more of anger than sorrow. For I had deeply resented the colonel’s words. As I saw it, I was bound for a strange land where I did not know a soul, while the city steadily receding before me contained all I knew.
— 

Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans

lydia-laowai :P :P :P

All I know is that I’ve wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I’d get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don’t want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s sky. That’s what I want now, and I think it’s what you should want too. But it will be too late soon. We’ll become too set to change. If we don’t take our chance now, another may never come for either of us.
—   Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans
When We Were Orphans is one of the few examples in my career when I did want to write something that was set in a particular time and place. I had a fascination with Shanghai in the thirties. It was a prototype for the cosmopolitan city of today, with all these racial groups in their little sectors. My grandfather had worked there and my father was born there. In the eighties, my father brought back photograph albums from the time my grandfather was there. There were a lot of company photographs: people in white suits sitting in offices with ceiling fans. It was a different world. He told me various stories—for example, my grandfather packing a gun to take my father to say good-bye to their manservant, who was dying of cancer in a restricted Chinese area. All these things are evocative.
— 

Kazuo Ishiguro on The Art of Fiction.

Something about Shanghai just sparks the imagination.