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Kazuo Ishiguro wins Nobel Literature Prize for 'uncovering abyss'

| Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 7:21 a.m.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010 file photo, author Kazuo Ishiguro attends a special screening of 'Never Let Me Go' in New York. The Nobel Prize for Literature for 2017 has been awarded to British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, it was announced on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)
In this Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010 file photo, author Kazuo Ishiguro attends a special screening of 'Never Let Me Go' in New York. The Nobel Prize for Literature for 2017 has been awarded to British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, it was announced on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)

STOCKHOLM — Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born British novelist best known for “The Remains of the Day,” won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday.

The selection of the 62-year-old Ishiguro marked a return to traditional literature following two years of unconventional choices by the Swedish Academy for the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

“He's a very interesting writer in many ways,” said Sara Danius, the academy's permanent secretary. “I would say that if you mix Jane Austen — her comedy of manners and her psychological insights — with Kafka, then I think you have Ishiguro.”

The academy said that Ishiguro's eight novels were works of emotional force that uncover “the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”

In “The Remains of the Day,” a butler at a grand house looks back on a life in service to the aristocracy. The book's gentle rhythms and “Downton Abbey”-style setting gradually deepen into a darker depiction of the repressed emotional and social landscape of 20th-century England.

The 1993 film adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Like “The Remains of the Day,” his 2005 novel “Never Let Me Go” is not what it seems. What appears to be the story of three young friends at a boarding school gradually reveals itself as a dystopian tale with elements of science fiction that asks deep ethical questions.

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, but moved with his family to Britain when he was 5 years old.

Last year's literature prize went to American songwriter Bob Dylan and the previous year's to Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich.

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