"A Village After Dark" by Kazuo Ishiguro

In this unsettling short story, a man returns to the village where he spent his youth. Rich with ambiguity, the text explores the uneasy relationship between the past and the present. Read the story by the Nobel Prize-winning author here.
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. disoriented
    having lost your bearings
    But now that I am older I become disoriented more easily.
  2. cottage
    a small house with a single story
    There was nothing I recognized, and I found myself walking forever around twisting, badly lit streets hemmed in on both sides by the little stone cottages characteristic of the area.
  3. boisterous
    full of rough and exuberant animal spirits
    I could hear some boisterous talk coming from behind the door.
  4. hunch
    round one's back by bending forward
    A log burning in the fireplace was the only source of light, by which I could make out a number of hunched figures sitting around the room.
  5. groggy
    stunned or confused and slow to react
    But the warmth of the fire was very welcome, and for a moment I just stared into its flames, a pleasant grogginess drifting over me.
  6. laze
    be idle
    Those were the days when the cottage was surrounded by open fields and there would come from outside the voices of my friends, lazing in the long grass, arguing over poetry or philosophy.
  7. sullenly
    in a manner showing a brooding ill humor
    Then a new voice said, rather sullenly, “Go ahead then. Have a nap. Don’t mind us.”
  8. clutter
    a confused multitude of things
    But I was already picking my way through the clutter toward my corner.
  9. ragamuffin
    a dirty shabbily clothed urchin
    At some point, I was aware of a woman saying, “I don’t know how I was ever under his spell. He looks such a ragamuffin now.”
  10. engulf
    flow over or cover completely
    In my state of near-sleep, I debated with myself whether these words applied to me or, perhaps, to David Maggis, but before long sleep engulfed me once more.
  11. idolize
    love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess
    “Fletcher,” she said, “when we used to know one another, I was young and beautiful. I idolized you, and everything you said seemed like an answer. Now here you are, back again. I’ve wanted to tell you for many years that you ruined my life.”
  12. procrastinate
    postpone doing what one should be doing
    “You’re being unfair. All right, I was mistaken about a lot of things. But I never claimed to have any answers. All I said in those days was that it was our duty, all of us, to contribute to the debate. We knew so much more about the issues than the ordinary people here. If people like us procrastinated, claiming we didn’t yet know enough, then who was there to act? But I never claimed I had the answers. No, you’re being unfair.”
  13. impressionable
    easily influenced
    “They’re all so impressionable,” the old man would have said.
  14. decrepit
    worn and broken down by hard use
    But these days the odd one passing through from time to time, looking all decrepit and burned out like that—if anything, it goes to demystify all that talk about the old days. In any case, people like him have changed their position so much these days.
  15. demystify
    make something easier to understand
    But these days the odd one passing through from time to time, looking all decrepit and burned out like that—if anything, it goes to demystify all that talk about the old days. In any case, people like him have changed their position so much these days.
  16. lethargy
    weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
    Well, those young people haven’t yet sunk so low, despite all the lethargy you’ve been preaching at them down the years. I’ll talk to them. I’ll undo in half an hour all of your sorry efforts.
  17. purposeful
    serving as or indicating the existence of a goal
    The girl did not seem to hear this, but continued to lead me purposefully through the clusters of cottages.
  18. incessantly
    without interruption
    In those days, Roger Button had idolized me, and in return I had bullied him incessantly.
  19. idealize
    consider or render as the best or most appropriate type
    Certainly, the ones who’ve never seen you tend to idealize you the most.
  20. salvage
    save from ruin, destruction, or harm
    You’re entitled to try and salvage a little self-respect.

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