It’s also kind of surprising considering, in the 1980s, he wrote a screenplay for the BBC about a guy who eats a ghost. It was called The Gourmet and it actually sounds kind of cool. When he’s not writing about artists during World War II or doomed clones, Ishiguro apparently likes writing about obsessive foodies (a.k.a. gourmets) in London searching for unusual dishes.
The main character is Manley who has a “large, formidable British upper-class presence.” He goes to a London soup kitchen inside a church armed with a wok and a butterfly net. He is on the hunt. Someone alerted him to the fact that the soup kitchen has a resident ghost.
Having already tried the world’s strangest foods, he must try food “not of this earth.” After some waiting, a homeless person approaches him with a “friendly, cheeky face.” Manley decides that this man is the ghost, and does what he came to do. He kills him. And then eats him.
It turns out the man actually was the ghost. He had been murdered eighty years prior in the same church so his organs could be harvested. It’s an idea Ishiguro eventually returned to in Never Let Me Go, where the clones are produced for their organs.
Image Via Amazon
When Manley wakes up the next morning, he is extremely sick. He gets better, drives off in his Rolls Royce, and plans a trip to Iceland. As one does after eating a ghost. Even though it’s about a snobby gourmet who’s hungry for ghost flesh, Ishiguro does touch upon some of the themes that he’s become so well-known for. Though The Gourmet was never shot, it’s such a delightfully odd story, it’s not hard to imagine. Maybe with his recent Nobel nab, the BBC will have a restored interest in the screenplay. Here’s to hoping!
Feature Image Via the New Republic