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Preview — The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is subtle metafiction. The novel's form is a veiled commentary on the text's processes and progress. Structurally, I believe it to be Ishiguro’s most daring novel. I think it must have been awfully hard to write, but there’s no smell of the lamp about it. The prose is lighter than air. It strikes me as Ishiguro's most Kafkaesque novel, especially in its use of dissociative states. Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" especially springs to mind.
There are spoilers here. But I hardly think they matter.
Since Ishiguro is so concerned with how personal accountability intersects with personal and public delusionality, it only makes sense that he should have written a book in which a man approaches a public concert and keynote--and his family life--with the reckless, responsibility-free logic of dreams (stand up to give a speech and find yourself naked; turn into a pig; go backwards every time you step forwards, and why the hell not? And whil...more
As many reviewers have pointed out, the novel has dream-like, meandering structure. Some readers found this off-putting and I can understand why. There are often lengthy repetitive passages of dialogue that are frankly simply trying and boring. If you decide to assay the novel, well, you have been warned.
The thing is, I don’t have a problem with dream-like or meandering. I enjoyed Kafka on the Shore , The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle , and The Trial each of which have these...more
It’s huge and yet I zipped through the thing in little over a week simply because it is compelling and very readable. The best I can come up with to describe this is it’s like reading the literary equivalent of a painting by Magritte – the ordinary, the everyday made surreal.
The story is told in the first person and through the ey...more
It's tough, this book. It doesn't come easy. It...more
I’ve had those, mostly at times of stress, when I had a lot on my mind and my life felt out of control. This book is one of those dreams, described in detail for 500 pages. It sounds like a nightmare, quite literally. I t...more
It just goes on and on getting weirder and weirder until you want to use the hefty thing to bash someone over the head with.
The story goes that Ryder arrives in a generic European city with no idea where he is, why he is there or who he is. An interesting premise but one which fails to deliver again and again. The whole thing is written like one of those never-ending dreams where you're constantly going through impossible doors and realising you're late for ap...more
Ryder arrives in town and steps into a hotel, ready to check in. And that's the last ordinary thing that happens in The Unconsoled. Ishiguro's narrative gradually descends into something other than reality. First, it's subtle: Ryder seems oddly patient as the hotel bellhop gives an extended monologue about himself and the respect (or lack thereof) accorded to his profession. Time seems to move in fits and starts, as characters whose concerns seem only incidental to the central plot (which surely...more
While I can understand some people liking this book, the constant stalling drove me crazy, and it felt like Ishiguro was deliberately being obtuse to prove how clever he...more
The whole thing reads like a dream. Like a continuous dream in which you worry about certain disconnections in precisely the way you do when you're dreaming yourself. I think Ishiguro writes beautifully, so I'm content to follow whatever he does. It is not a short novel (535 pages) and I'm currently about half way through and I would say I'm enjoying the experience of reading, while having no clear sense of the point of any of the narrative. That shows how...more
Where his previous books were equisitely crafted machines that precisely put the reader through preordained emotional paces, 'The Unconsoled' is a brave leap into indeterminacy. This dream novel is a continual unbalancing act. Are...more
In a way it's an anti-detective novel. Although it's evident that Ishiguro has crafted the book carefully and deliberately created the impression of chaos, trying to detect or piece together a sensible narrative of events and characters is completely against the idea of the book, and if you try to read the text in that way, you'll very l...more
As much as I would love to re-visit every book from back in the day; time, as they say, remains steadfast in it's ticking away. Time, effectively diminishes this possibility, yet I'm happy; as there remains countless unread and (hop...more
In una città non meglio precisata, in una città dell'Europa centrale, descritta con una dovizia di particolari e dettagli, Ishiguro ci guida alla scoperta della città e nel mondo degli "inconsolabili", persone che vivono in un perenne stato di agitazione, angoscia, ansia e dolore.
Felt bad for Stephan, Boris, Fiona and Brodsky. They never quite got the treatment they deserved. Hoffman and Sophie were probably my least favorite people. Ryder had good intentions but the poor guy was so stressed and tire...more
Qual sarebbe l'idea? Eccola: il romanzo è strutturato come un sogno del protagonista, ma in modo sottile e ben misurato, e proprio come capita nei sogni i concetti di tempo e spazio sono malleabili in funzione delle cose che ci accadono, i ricordi vanno e vengono, le ansie e i timori si tras...more
It's also probably one of the best.
The Unconsoled, featuring in the 2013 edition of Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, tells the story of world-famous pianist Ryder, who has travelled to a European city to undertake one of the most important performances in his life; the success or otherwise of the concert could make or break the host city.
The most important aspect of this book is the dream-like manner in which events are...more
ANYWAY, it's almost alway...more
Surrounded by interminable boredom and ennui, repetition, frustration and aggravation. Again much like life.
For all it's emotions, on display as if in a petting zoo, it's curiously empty and most certainly distant.
If ever a book left me wanting more this is it....
Yet there is a comfort in being detached not caring about the characters and not having to share in the pain of these deeply troubled people.
His first novel, A Pale View of Hills won the 1982 Winifred Holtby...more
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you seek consolation from. You'll always go back to your one real love. To that wound! And you know what makes me so angry? Leo, are you listening to me? Your wound, it's nothing special, nothing special at all. In this town alone, I know there are many people with far worse. And yet they carry on, every one of them, with far greater courage than you ever did. They go on with their lives. They become something worthwhile. But you, Leo, look at you. Always tending your wound.”