Japanese-born Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for uncovering "the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world," the Swedish Academy said on Thursday on awarding the 9 million crown ($1.1 million) prize.
The award marks a return to a more mainstream interpretation of literature after the 2016 prize went to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.
Ishiguro, "in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world," the Academy wrote.
A prodigious writer since the early 1980s, he has penned a series of acclaimed novels which have been translated into dozens of foreign languages but has remained more reclusive than some of his contemporary peers.
Ishiguro is perhaps best known for "The Remains of the Day", which secured him the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989 and was turned into a successful film starring Anthony Hopkins.
He later admitted to writing the book in a prolific four-week period.
The author's first two novels also landed notable literary awards: "A Pale View of Hills" won the 1982 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize while his follow-up, "An Artist of the Floating World", claimed the 1986 Whitbread Prize.
He has also found fame with "Never Let Go", his 2005 novel, and "When We Were Orphans", published in 2007.
Despite his enviable successes, he has appeared modest in interviews.
"I'm not a very inspired person," he told the Financial Times in 1995. "I don't have a lot of ideas."
Asked what made novelists choose their often precarious occupation, he replied: "I won't say writers are crazy people because I don't care for stereotypes. But something is sufficiently out of line in their structure as people."