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The Unconsoled

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Ryder, a renowned pianist, arrives in a Central European city he cannot identify for a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give. But then as he traverses a landscape by turns eerie and comical – and always strangely malleable, as a dream might be - he comes steadily to realise he is facing the most crucial performance of his life.

Ishiguro's extraordinary and original study of a man whose life has accelerated beyond his control was met on publication by consternation, vilification – and the highest praise.

535 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1995

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About the author

Kazuo Ishiguro

73 books32.2k followers
Sir Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄), OBE, FRSA, FRSL is a British novelist of Japanese origin and Nobel Laureate in Literature (2017). His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from the University of Kent in 1978 and his Master's from the University of East Anglia's creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.

His first novel, A Pale View of Hills, won the 1982 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. His second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, won the 1986 Whitbread Prize. Ishiguro received the 1989 Man Booker prize for his third novel The Remains of the Day. His fourth novel, The Unconsoled, won the 1995 Cheltenham Prize. His latest novel is The Buried Giant, a New York Times bestseller. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2017.

His novels An Artist of the Floating World (1986), When We Were Orphans (2000), and Never Let Me Go (2005) were all shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2008, The Times ranked Ishiguro 32nd on their list of "The 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945". In 2017, the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature, describing him in its citation as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".

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Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,086 reviews7,013 followers
August 21, 2018
The author is Japanese-born but British enough through education and upbringing to have written The Remains of the Day. This is a long novel (more than 500 pages) that is like a Kafka dream, or better, nightmare.

An eminent pianist wanders in a dream-like state through an unnamed central European city. While the whole city awaits his performance, he misses appointments and neglects friends and family while he navigates through an unreal world of his own making.


It’s not a “pleasant” book but I found its value in reminding me how much a book can ”grab” the reader – and literally give one a visceral, if relatively unpleasant experience. The whole thing is like one of those “frustration dreams” where you are foiled at every turn. It shows how physically powerful the written word can be.

Some quotes I liked:

“It's nonsense to believe people go on loving each other regardless of what happens.”

“One should not, in any case, attempt to make a virtue out of one's limitations.”

“Leave us, you were always on the outside of our love.”


Not an easy read or a pleasant one, but a worthwhile read and very much unlike the author’s other works that I have read. (and in this case, re-read.)

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Profile Image for William2.
746 reviews2,972 followers
March 16, 2023
Thoughts on my second reading of The Unconsoled.

The novel's form is, I believe, a veiled commentary on the text's processes and progress. Structurally, it may be Ishiguro’s most daring novel. It must have been awfully hard to write; 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.

Its narrator, Mr Ryder, a pianist of international reputation, checks into a hotel in an unnamed (likely German) provincial city. He’s there to be part of a civic event-cum-concert that has been developed by the town graybeards to reverse a perceived decline, which is never really defined except as a certain amorphous sense of personal dissatisfaction. The people of the town, the unconsoled, want to recapture what they perceive as their past way of life. What's tragic is that they never can. As one says to Mr Ryder:
Perhaps you’ll warn us of the hard work that lies ahead for each one of us if we’re ever to re-discover the happiness we once had. (p. 115)

Ryder is there to both counsel and perform for them, but mostly he glides over the surface of events as one does in dreams. He has no itinerary, never knows where he’s supposed to be, but drifts from encounter to encounter. He is seen as an outsider by almost everyone, yet he has a longstanding relationship with a local woman, Sophie, and her son. He is driven to events far outside town and returns to the hotel by way of a short passageway. He drifts about being importuned by one resident after another. For example, in the middle of some business or other he will run into an old school friend he hasn’t seen for 30 years who will blather on for six pages. In another example, on the way to a reception he comes across his old family car which he once played in as a child, now decayed with rust. This revelation evokes pages of reminiscences.

Ryder is English so there are glimpses of his childhood in Worcestershire. Most remarkable I suppose is the way the author uses long monologues (my dreams are never verbal, always visual) to advance the story. Time tends to be attenuated. The first day of Mr. Ryder’s stay in town takes up 150 pages of the novel. Space is compressed, at times expanded. The book thus seeks to thwart reader expectations at every turn. We are kept in a constant disequilibrium. Everything is slightly off kilter as in dreams. Yet at the same time the surrealism, I think we can call it that, is held in check. The broad absurdist gesture is rare. Though neither are we ever very far from Lautréamont’s "beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella.” Ishiguro wants the striking incongruity, but he also wants a modicum of coherence. The text is a constant job of balance.

Perhaps Ishiguro’s strangest book to date, which is saying something. If you like his work you must read it. For those new to Ishiguro, don’t start here. Start with An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, A Pale View of Hills or When We Were Orphans.

Final note. The book reminds me a little of Knut Hamsun’s Mysteries. It's Hamsun's off-kilter voice, not addressing similar themes, that seems close to Ishiguro's surrealist meanderings here.
Profile Image for Emily.
172 reviews198 followers
April 12, 2008
Having loved all his other novels, I finally got around to reading Ishiguro's The Unconsoled, and boy, was it strange and wonderful. I'd heard a vast array of opinions about this book, from "It is one of my top ten novels of all time" to "I loved it in a tense, uncomfortable way" to "it was an unmitigated train wreck." It's always intriguing to me when a book attracts such a wide variety of reactions, so I was looking forward to The Unconsoled for that reason. It also just so happens that I read Ishiguro in what you might call "increasing order of weirdness," and I had heard that this is indeed his weirdest book. There is something deeply satisfying about continuing my trajectory in this way, although at this point I doubt it's sustainable any longer - it would be quite a challenge to write a stranger book than this one.

Of course, many of its strange qualities have been explored before. The surreality, the language of dreams and nightmares in which the protagonist tries in vain to accomplish simple tasks, the sudden and confusing shifts in setting and perspective, the garbled rationale and bizarre priorities of the natives in a strangely familiar city: all of these elements have been combined and recombined to create the "Kafkaesque" genre. That said, this book does all of these things in a way that seems more tense and fluid than many other dreamlike stories I've read. Ishiguro really captures the shifting sands of perception that mark a dreamlike consciousness. At the same time, he manages to maintain cohesion within the narrative - just barely, at times, but he manages it. Sometimes the balance between the surreality and the sense of coherent character and voice, feels like a virtuosic juggling act that the performer is just barely pulling off; the audience is poised at the edge of their seats, transfixed at the intricate patterns traced by the juggled objects, and simultaneously nervous that they will, at any moment, come crashing down on the performer's head.

Appropriately, then, the main character of The Unconsoled IS a performer: Ryder, a famous English pianist revisiting a city which may or may not already be familiar to him, where he is supposed to give a performance which may or may not be very important in a variety of ways. One of the things I loved about this novel was the unique way that relationships slid in and out of focus; a few pages after seeking out the daughter of an acquaintance in a café, Ryder will gradually "remember" more and more details about her. Although it is at first implied that they have just met, they are soon having conversations that suggest a long history of mutual resentments and shared hopes, attacking and reassuring each other in a manner reminiscent of a (dysfunctional) long-term relationship. Ryder's own emotions and thought processes regarding the happiness and mental health of the woman's son, Boris, achieve a level of intensity more appropriate to a stepfather than a chance acquaintance, and Boris' own reactions to Ryder indicate a deep desire for approval reminiscent of a neglected child. At the same time, the closeness of Ryder's relationships with mother and child is never explicitly stated, and seems to wax and wane unpredictably throughout the novel.

In a similar vein, the life stories of different characters start to mirror and imitate one another in eerie and intriguing ways. Having been drawn into a conversation with the hotel porter, Gustav, about how Gustav has fallen into the habit of never speaking directly to his daughter, Ryder gradually adopts the same practice toward Boris, his sometime-son. Witnessing the fraught relationship between the hotel manager Hoffman and his son Stephan either suggests to or reminds Ryder of his own nebulous connection with his parents, who may or may not be arriving in the unnamed city to hear him play the piano for the first time in many years. The reader is never sure the extent to which the conversations and stories going on around Ryder create his perceived world, the extent to which he is extrapolating his own story outward onto those around him, and the extent to which a more complex dynamic is at work. The primal fears involved in many of these interactions (rejection by parents, arriving unprepared for important performances, the sudden realization that one's actions have been wildly inappropriate) add another level to the question of what Ryder is "half-creating" and what he perceives; there is a sense that we may be caught in an uncontrollable spiral, continually creating the worlds we dread through the very act of dreading them.

This sense of inappropriate behavior is a constant throughout The Unconsoled, and it runs the gamut from exhilarating to horrifying to surprisingly unexceptional. Nobody seems to notice, for example, when Ryder shows up to a fancy dress event in his dressing gown and slippers, and Ryder himself is strangely nonreactive when a journalist and photographer who are interviewing him commence talking about him as if her weren't present, planning how they will flatter and distract him into making unwise publicity decisions. On the other hand, he is horrified when the mourners at a funeral stop their sobbing to flock around him and deluge him with manic adulation, searching their pockets for refreshments to offer him and castigating themselves for having only a small piece of cellophane-wrapped cake. In one of my favorite scenes in the novel, Ryder and his wife-or-maybe-just-casual-acquaintance Sophie attend a late-night showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey - an alternate-universe version of the film involving interstellar gunfights between Yul Brenner and Clint Eastwood, who star as the astronauts who must dismantle HAL. The atmosphere in the theater is depicted as almost carnivalesque, with people laughing, talking, playing cards in the aisles, and, most bizarrely, rolling onto their backs with their legs in the air, shrieking with mirth, whenever anyone needs to inch by their seats. This is the flip-side to the terrifying or disconcerting abandonment of logical behavior in other sections - a giddy, liberating feeling which pervades the theater and lets the locals, as the hotel manager puts it, "unwind."

But the strangest narrative quirk of The Unconsoled is the way in which Ryder occasionally takes casual notice of a long, complicated back-story just by looking at a person, in the same way that he might notice a runny nose or a lipstick smudge. The first time this happens, as Gustav is showing him around his hotel room, I found the trick strangely disorienting, and actually doubled back to see whether I had missed a small phrase such as "I found out later" or "he would go on to tell me." But as I went on with the novel and similar incidents followed, it struck me as a very clever way to play with narrative. Readers are already familiar, after all, with narrators who notice small physical details about people they're observing, and even make assumptions or draw conclusions based on those observations. The next (il)logical step, in a novel of surreal perceptions taken to grotesque heights, is the ability to simply perceive another person's thoughts, feelings, past or present actions simply by looking at or thinking about them. So, for example, Ryder can take casual notice of Gustav's preoccupied air in the hotel room, and also casually notice that the porter is worried about his daughter, who has been handing off her son on certain days so that she can do errands, and then (Gustav has reason to believe) not doing the errands after all. Similarly, he can be waiting in the car with Boris while Stephan Hoffman runs an errand at a woman's apartment, and tell us how he watches Stephan climb the stairs and ring the bell, then recount his conversation with the woman as he enters the apartment and follows her down the hall, recounting the interior design as well as the conversation. Then, in case the reader is thinking that Ryder must have followed Stephen into the apartment after all, he writes that his attention was recalled by a noise made by Boris, and goes on to interact with the boy within the confines of the car. The liquidity of perception here is masterfully done, and once I cottoned on to this unique little trick, I quite enjoyed the experience of having the narrative stretch and balloon in unexpected and sometimes humorous directions.

Just as Ryder describes audiences reacting to the ultra-modern musical pieces performed in the novel, I loved The Unconsoled on a purely aesthetic basis. I'm not sure what lasting messages or morals I'll take away from it, beyond a sense of the universality of human fears and fallibility, but the tense, intriguing mood and skewed, shadowy universe it created are still tangible to me days after closing the covers.
Profile Image for Beth.
91 reviews11 followers
February 22, 2012
I felt a tremendous sense of relief that I had finally completed Ishiguros’s The Unconsoled. I allowed myself to remember the experience of reading it, with its unusual memory-impaired narrator and the endless stream of absurdity and satire, and its improbable, dream-like narration. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like it would make the perfect subject for a Goodreads review. I worried a bit about the time it would take to make my feelings clear about the book, but after looking around my office, seeing the sun was streaming through the windows and all of my other duties of the day were happening on schedule, it seemed to be the perfect time to start my review. There would be plenty of time in the day for my other duties. In fact, the more I considered it, the more I relished the idea of really striking a nerve with my fellow Goodreads readers. This could, in fact, be the very review that could pull the Goodreads community together once and for all. Yes, a concise, well-written review is just what was needed, indeed I felt quite keenly that I had a responsibility to be the one to write it.

And it is true, many people may well read this review. Dare I say, among the readers of this review might well be many discerning readers and perhaps a writer or two. Perhaps Mr. Ishiguro himself visits Goodreads! I imagine him in his fashionable London flat, asking his assistant to explain to his publishers and his agent and all of his various arrangers hoping that he will offer a reading or a lecture about his work that he himself was entirely transformed personally by my very words! Perhaps my review will help him to understand his own book, with its metaphors, mystery, and magnificent surrealism even more completely than when he was writing it!

Imagining this energized me greatly, and as the light was waning I sat down to begin my review. I was just reaching for my opening words when I noted my morning’s work, still incomplete, on the screen. In the excitement of contemplating a brilliant review of The Unconsoled, I had completely forgotten to complete my responsibilities. I glanced at the time on my computer and saw I had a few minutes remaining before my deadline. In a matter of moments my clients would be calling me, asking for their reports. I figured that I could get a good bit done with the time I had remaining. I placed my hands on the keyboard.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.7k followers
April 24, 2022
The Unconsoled, Kazuo Ishiguro

The Unconsoled is a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, first published in 1995. The novel takes place over a period of three days. It is about Ryder, a famous pianist who arrives in a central European city to perform a concert. He is entangled in a web of appointments and promises which he cannot seem to remember, struggling to fulfill his commitments before Thursday night's performance, frustrated with his inability to take control.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه جولای سال2008میلادی

عنوان: تسلی‌ ناپذیر؛ نویسنده: کازوئو ایشی گورو، مترجم: سهیل سمی؛ تهران، ققنوس، چاپ نخست سال1386؛ در736ص؛ چاپ دوم سال1388؛ شابک9789643116781؛ چاپ سوم سال1392؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ژاپنی تبار بریتانیا - سده20م

داستان «تسلی ناپذیر»، یکی از دیگرگونه ترین رمان‌های «کازوئو ایشی گورو»، و همچنین یکی از نابترین فرم‌های روایی، در ادبیات داستانی این دوران؛ و داستان مرد پیانیستی است، که برای اجرای مراسمی، به شهری غریب آمده است؛ او وارد شهر می‌شود، و هماره با رخدادهای ویژه و گوناگونی رودررو می‌شود؛ نامش «رایدر» است، و یکی از مشاهیر موسیقی کشورش و جهان، به شمار می‌آید؛ همگان در این شهر، به او احترام می‌گذارند، و او را به عنوان یک نابغه ی موسیقی، می‌شناسند؛ نامکانی شهر، و نوع رخدادها، رمان را به کارهای «کافکا» بسیار شبیه کرده است؛ «رایدر» وارد شهر می‌شود، و رخدادها، پی در پی، مسیر زندگی ایشان را در دست می‌گیرند؛ او با زنیکه در کودکی هم‌بازیش بوده؛ دیدار می‌کند؛ به جشن‌ها و مراسمی دعوت می‌شود، و در خلال رخدادها، هر لحظه مسیر داستان، دیگر می‌شود؛ بی‌راه نیست اگر درباره ی این داستان گفته شود، که هر لحظه باید منتظر رخدادی بود؛ به گفته ی یکی از ناقدان آثار، رمان شبیه به مخلوط کنی می‌ماند، که خوانشگر را درگیر خودش می‌کند، و در انتها همه چیز به حالت نخستین خویش باز برمی‌گردد؛ «تسلی ناپذیر» داستانی‌ پر از نشانه‌ هاست، و در اشارات داستانی، همه چیز در کمال سادگی، در هم گره خورده‌ اند؛ خبرنگاری که ابتدای داستان، به سراغ «رایدر» می‌آید، در جای دیگری و در نقش دیگری، حضور پیدا می‌کند؛ انگار شخصیت‌های داستان، همگی در زندگی یکدیگر دخیل بوده‌ اند، و حال هیچ یادمانی از هم ندارند؛ شاید نویسنده میخواسته شخصیت‌هایش را در موقعیت‌هایی قرار دهد، که آنها یادمانهای خود را مرور کنند، و به آرامش و تسلی برسند؛ «رایدر» از همه فرار می‌کند، و باز هم به هر انسانی که می‌رسد، می‌بیند که با او نیز یادمانی مشترک داشته، و زندگی و رخدادی تازه شکل می‌گیرد؛ رخدادهایی که خود بدل به یادمان می‌شوند، و آغازگر رخدادهای تازه نیز هستند؛

می‌توان گفت، چکیده ی قصه ی این کتاب، گریز از یادمانها، شاید برای رسیدن به یک آرامش باشد؛ یادمانهایی که انسان را رنج می‌دهند، و هر آن، و به بی‌ارتباط‌ترین براهین می‌توانند سراغ انسان بیایند، تا او را از فضایی بیرون کند، و وارد فضایی تازه، سازند؛ «ایشی گورو» برنده ی جایزه «بوکر» هستند، و هماره به عنوان یکی از شانس‌های نخست «نوبل» نیز به شمار می‌آمده اند؛ این رمان را جناب «سهیل سمی» برگردان کرده، و از سوی نشر «ققنوس» روانه بازار کتاب شده است؛ «ایشی گورو» شاید، از کم شمار نویسندگانی باشند، که در این سن، همه ی آثارشان، به زبان پارسی ترجمه شده، و خوشایند خوانشگران قرار گرفته است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Baba.
3,563 reviews863 followers
October 15, 2022
From the writer of giants like Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day comes something completely different. Ryder is an accomplished and famous musician who has being invited/hired to appear at a special event that is set to rejuvenate an artistically imploding city in an unnamed West Central European city. We then have 500+ pages of missed opportunities in business, life and love and by multiple characters!

I would even go further and say that the book itself could be seen (intentionally?) as a missed opportunity itself. Not only do characters miss out in the past, as well as the present in opportunities, it feels that Ishiguro himself does with the plot, which at many times seems to veer into something really captivating before dimming out and going back to the almost circuitous theme of Ryder or another character missing the chance (often through just bad timing or bad luck) to better their physical or mental wellbeing. I feel that Ishiguro really tests me, by not clarifying relationships in the book. Has Ryder been to this city before? Was he married, is the child in the book, his? Is Ryder delusional? All these grey areas enhance the book's themes, as much as they annoyed me whilst reading. An almost purposefully at times tortuous read, where the power of it lies with the greatness of the whole than the actual content, Ishiguro's read is challenging, and it is that itself that makes this book yet another quality piece of work by him, in my opinion. 8 out of 12.

2021 read
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,566 followers
March 24, 2019
One very hefty tome about musical geniuses & unsure artists (plus the people who love them).

This is one strange, uber-Surreal in that Czech sort of way (yup, the birthplace of surrealism)--twisty streets, opaque individuals... resplendent crystals. Mr. Ishiguro strayed from his quiet solemnity to include literary examples of the picaresque.

But it does not reach the same heights of "Remains of the Day," "A Pale Vies of Hills" or "Never Let Me Go." It is not as perfect a novel as any one in his soul-affirming trifecta...
Profile Image for Marchpane.
293 reviews2,132 followers
May 16, 2021
There’s a theory about dreaming that says all dreams are born out of an emotion. The emotion comes first, then your brain retrofits a narrative around it. This is the inverse of most novels which typically use narrative to induce specific emotions in the reader.

Under this theory it is pointless to ask what a dream means. If your high school principal turns into a giant mopoke, it doesn’t mean anything—all that matters is how you feel about it.

Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled seems to be written according to this inverted logic. What if you flip the novel on its head, start with an emotion and let the narrative unspool, almost randomly, from there? You get something circuitous and frustrating, elusive and uncomfortable, where time and space are elastic and anything that happens might be undone in the next scene. It enables you to experience the narrator’s confusion and impatience (maybe his pique, too) and these emotions seep into your mood, leaving a taint the way a dream can.

Like a jigsaw puzzle put together wrong, it is possible to rearrange The Unconsoled into a conventional novel about a renowned concert pianist, the burdens of fame, familial obligations, and a provincial town with cultural pretensions. It would be half as long and much easier to stick with, but probably less affecting and memorable too.

The Unconsoled shares with all of Ishiguro’s works a very particular emotional weather—guilt, regret, duty, missed opportunities, unfulfilled potential—and adds to it the atmospheric pressure of an anxiety dream. What does it all mean? I don’t think that really matters.
Profile Image for Issicratea.
213 reviews366 followers
November 4, 2017
The Unconsoled is an extraordinary work. It is close in themes and texture to Ishiguro’s equally extraordinary The Buried Giant, even though they were published at twenty years’ distance from one another, The Unconsoled in 1995, The Buried Giant in 2015. There are similarities in reception, as well. Both novels sparked wildly disparate responses in their readers, with some regarding them as masterpieces, others as unredeemed turkeys. James Wood’s original review of The Unconsoled in The Guardian stated that it had “invented its own category of badness.”

I am squarely in the masterpiece camp, in both cases, although I do feel that both The Buried Giant and The Unconsoled require a little patience and trust in the reader: a willingness to follow these deeply eccentric novels on their meandering journeys, secure in the knowledge that you are being taken somewhere worthwhile. I didn’t have that patience and trust the first time round with The Unconsoled. As I started reading the novel recently, I found the first pages familiar and recalled an earlier, failed and long-forgotten attempt to get into it. I must have abandoned it then only a few pages in.

This was an ironic experience, since buried memories and their resurfacing are a major theme of The Unconsoled, as also of The Buried Giant. The consciousness of the mysterious first-person narrator of The Unconsoled, the concert pianist Ryder, is constantly disrupted by memories of his past. Following a kind of dream logic, these do not surface consciously as memories but rather as reshapings of reality, as when Ryder suddenly realizes that the hotel room he has been given in the unnamed Germanic city in which he is due to give a concert is the same room that he inhabited for a couple of years as a boy in an aunt’s house “on the borders of England and Wales” (I don’t think the liminal location is fortuitous.) Similarly, though far more strangely, when the hotel porter Gustav persuades him to meet with his daughter Sophie and grandson Boris, Ryder begins to recall past, shared episodes that suggest that Sophie and Boris may in fact be his own wife or partner and son.

I speak of “dream logic” advisedly. Ishiguro has talked in interviews about The Unconsoled as an attempt to capture the grammar of dreams, and to explore the shared territory of dreams and memory. As he notes, we do all experience this second, dream grammar, and we grasp its logic intuitively, even if we reject it by daylight. People suddenly surface where they have no right to be, the dead along with the living, new and slight acquaintances with people who have meant everything to us. Spatial and temporal divisions are collapsed or elided, as are the usual deictic functions of language. “Here” and “there” can be the same place, “then” and “now” the same time (and that’s before we even get on to “you” and “I”—a perfectly reasonable interpretive hypothesis is that Ryder is also Boris and perhaps the alcoholic former conductor Brodsky, in different temporal guises.)

The dreamscape of The Unconsoled is suffused with anxiety of a particularly dream-like nature. Ryder has a few days in the city before his concert, during the course of which a tight schedule of meetings has been arranged for him; yet this schedule is constantly pulled out of place as new obligations are placed on him. He is rarely in the right place, and never prepared for what he is supposed to be doing. The extent of his obligations, meanwhile, keeps growing; it seems that the entire city feels it has lost its way and slipped from an earlier moment of civic harmony and unity, which only he, Ryder, can restore.

Ambitious, experimental novels of this kind live or die by the quality of their execution, and Ishiguro’s, in my view, is pretty much flawless. The Unconsoled is a very long novel—far longer than The Buried Giant—and the narrative material is (intentionally) highly repetitive. It’s really a set of variations on a theme. Yet it never, for me, got boring. It is endlessly inventive in formal terms; and it’s complex and subtle and original in its probing of the texture of human experience. Fissures, misunderstandings, disharmonies, at the level of individual, couple, family, larger social community—these, along with memory and the workings of the psyche, are what I take to be the primary themes of the novel. All are highly familiar, obviously, but “defamiliarized” here, to striking effect.

Most surprisingly of all, despite a very Ishiguro-esque undertone of melancholy, The Unconsoled is often quite hilarious. I really can’t remember the last time I laughed aloud so often when reading a novel. The humor is that of dreams, again, or surrealism. When the displaced conductor Christoff takes Ryder to meet a gathering of the city’s intellectuals, it seems distinctly odd that they drive off miles down an out-of-town highway for the rendezvous; and stranger still when Christoff stops outside what looks like a lorry drivers’ café. It is even more surprising that the intellectuals are found bending over steaming bowls of “what looked to be mashed potato … eating hungrily with long wooden spoons.”

Two elements in Ishiguro’s toolkit in this novel particularly delighted me: one, from the outset; the other, incrementally. The first is the charming culture of Schoenbergesque modernist music that plays such a prominent role in the novel. I finished the novel somewhat unconsoled myself that I would never have the chance to listen in reality to Mullery’s Ventilations, Yamanaka’s Globestructures—Option II, or Kazan’s Glass Passions. This ethereal, demanding, non-existent music clearly offers some kind of formal analogue to Ishiguro’s literary experimentation in The Unconsoled, and it may well be that the accompanying critical language of “crushed cadences” and “pigmented triads” is the only one that could truly do justice to Ishiguro’s artistry in this novel. Certainly, there is a strong element of minimalism in the novel, in the utter, unrelieved, perfect-pitch plainness of its style.

The other element, which crept up on me more across the novel, was Ishiguro’s talent for creating peculiar places for his peculiar happenings. Heterotopias feature large among the novel’s locations; we have a hotel, a zoo, a graveyard, a concert hall, as well as various more or less dystopian roadscapes. Within the larger structures, there are mysterious sub-spaces, which captivated me more and more as I read on. I loved, for example, the two successive practice rooms that the hotel manager Mr Hoffman finds for Ryder on the morning of the concert: the tiny cubicle off a corridor, opposite a row of sinks, painted “an unpleasant frog-green colour,” and the out of town hut, up a muddy path, where his practice of Mullery’s Asbestos and Fibre is interrupted by a strange digging sound outside …

This was my first reading of Ishiguro since he won the Nobel Prize, and I felt more and more convinced of the rightness of that choice as I read this novel. His is a unique voice, highly distinctive, fresh and original in each novel but with very strong consistencies of form and thematic focus. These are the makings of a classic author. To paraphrase James Wood, Ishiguro has invented his own category of greatness.
Profile Image for Tara.
397 reviews18 followers
December 26, 2017
4.5 stars.

The Unconsoled is at once humorous, touching, uncanny, and intricately, beautifully absurd. My words are failing me at present; the best I can do to describe this paralyzing, captivating reading experience is to say that my inability to wrench my eyes from the page, even when my mind was desperately claustrophobic and screaming for air, felt remarkably similar to the exquisitely unbearable compulsion which gripped the narrator in his childhood:
“My ‘training sessions’ had come about quite unplanned. I had been playing by myself out in the lane one grey afternoon—absorbed in some fantasy, climbing in and out of a dried-out ditch running between a row of poplars and a field—when I had suddenly felt a sense of panic and a need for the company of my parents. Our cottage had not been far away—I had been able to see the back of it across the field—and yet the feeling of panic had grown rapidly until I had been all but overcome by the urge to run home at full speed across the rough grass. But for some reason—perhaps I had quickly associated the sensation with immaturity—I had forced myself to delay my departure. There had not been any question in my mind that I would, very soon, start to run across the field. It was simply a matter of holding back that moment with an effort of will for several more seconds. The strange mixture of fear and exhilaration I had experienced as I had stood there transfixed in the dried-out ditch was one that I was to come to know well in the weeks that followed. For within days, my ‘training sessions’ had become a regular and important feature of my life. In time, they had acquired a certain ritual, so that as soon as I felt the earliest signs of my need to return home I would make myself go to a special spot along the lane, under a large oak tree, where I would remain standing for several minutes, fighting off my emotions. Often I would decide I had done enough, that I could now set off, only to pull myself back again, forcing myself to remain under the tree for just a few seconds more. There was no doubting the strange thrill that had accompanied the growing fear and panic of these occasions, a sensation which perhaps accounted for the somewhat compulsive hold my ‘training sessions’ came to have over me.”

This sensation gradually but inexorably turned into something of a perverse pleasure, and I found myself beginning to savor the feeling of sinking in quicksand, enmired, immobile, and utterly confined. For while this novel was often painful to read, it became ever more painful to stop.
Profile Image for Biron Paşa.
144 reviews190 followers
November 2, 2017
Avunamayanlar, Kazuo Ishiguro'nun 95 yılında yazdığı, 560 sayfalık Kafkaesk bir bilinçaltı öyküsü. Müthiş incelikli bir başyapıt.

Piyanist Mr. Ryder bir konser için adı bilinmeyen -Kafkaeskin kimliksizliğinden olsa gerek, bir Avrupa şehrine gider. Daha önce hiç gelmediği bu şehirde birkaç gün sonra çok önemli bir konser verecektir. Ama işler pek de beklediği gibi gitmez, biz okurların da beklediği gibi gitmez, Ryder daha önce hiç gitmediği yerlerde bulunduğunu hatırlamaya başlar, tanımadığı insanlarla daha evvel konuştuğunu, bir ilişkisi olduğunu fark eder. Kısacık yolculuklar uzar da uzar, esas önemli şeyler saniyeler içinde olup biter. Bildiğimiz mantık kırılır ve roman düpedüz tuhaflaşır. Ryder bir söylediğinin tam tersini üç cümle sonra hemen söyler, saatlerce yol alarak gittiği bir yerin, aslında yola çıktığı yer olduğunu görür.

Romanda herhalde en açık olan şey, bir rüyanın, rüya mantığıyla hareket edilen bir bilinçaltı evrenin içinde olduğumuzdur. Ryder, bu önemli gece öncesinde kendini, tarihini, kişiliğini sorgulamaya girişir. Romanın karmaşıklığını kavrama anahtarı şudur: Kitaptaki herkes, Ryder'ın ya kendisi-kendisinin bir yansıması yahut hayatında iz bırakmış biri-birinin yansımasıdır. Olaylar ise Ryder'ın endişeleri, korkuları, travmaları, anılarının rüyalarındaki yansımasıdır.

Bir Ishiguro klasiği olarak, yine güvenilmez anlatıcı görüyoruz metinde. Biz tamamen Ryder'ın kafasının içinde olduğumuza göre, kitaptaki hiçbir şeye güvenemeyiz. Birkaç örnek verelim: Oğlu Boris belki de Ryder'ın oğlu değil, çocukluğunu temsil ediyor olabilir. Ama doğrudan onun çocukluğu da diyemeyiz, en azından elimizde böyle bir veri yok. Ryder'ın Boris'le iletişim kurarken çocuklaşıyor, "ciddi" işler ortaya çıktığında ise Boris olduğu yerde unutuluyor ve yüzüne bakılmıyor. Boris'in hayran olduğu taşıyıcı dedesi ise, belki de Ryder'ın çocukken hayalini kurduğu güvenilir, çalışkan insan.

Kitapta sürekli birbirini takip ve taklit eden izlekleri görüyoruz: Stephan ebeveynleri için, Brodsky eski karısı için piyano çalacakken, görüyoruz ki Ryder da aynı Stephan gibi annesi ve babası için piyano çalacak ve bu büyük günün Ryder gibi büyük bir piyanist için önemli olmasını da o sağlıyor. Ryder ebeveynleri karşısında yıllar sonra ilk kez piyano çalacağında, kendini onların karşısında onay bekleyen ergenlik çağlarında bir genç gibi hissedebileceğini düşünürsek, Stephan'ın neyi temsil ettiğini görebiliriz. Aynı şekilde Brodsky'nin Ryder'ın olmaktan korktu kişi olduğunu söyleyebiliriz.


Ishiguro'ya Nobel ödülü verilirken, Kafka'ya, Jane Austen'a ve çok az da Proust'a benzettiklerini söylemişlerdi. Neden Proust dediklerini anlayamamıştım ama bu kitapta Proust etkisini net bir şekilde görüyoruz. Bilhassa Ryder'ın babasından ve eski arabalarından bahsettikleri bölümde Proust etkisi göze çarpıyor.

Ishiguro, Kafkaesk'i çok işlevsel bir şekle getirmiş. Evet, romanın fazlasıyla üstü kapalı bir anlatım biçimi var ama bu biraz da Türkçe kaynakların sınırlı olması sebebiyle, eserin desteksiz kalmasından kaynaklanıyor. Ishiguro, yukarıda yazdıklarımın bir kısmını açık açık röportajlarda söylüyor ama neredeyse hiçbir Türkçe kaynakta bu kitapla ilgili bir yazı yok, olan birkaç tanesinde de ıvır zıvırdan ibaret.

Bir yazarın, bir insanın bilinçaltına rüyalar yoluyla -otobiyografik olmadan üstelik, girmeye cesaret etmesi ve alnının akıyla çıkması heyecan verici. Kitabın çok incelikli ve emekli olduğu bir gerçek. Okuduğum en zekice şeylerden biri olduğunu düşünüyorum. Rüyaların mantığını yazarın kitapta bu kadar iyi kullanabilmesi hayranlık uyandırıcı ve okuyucunun dünyasına yaptığı etki çok büyük. Rüyanın kabusa dönüştüğü yerlerden biri de, hayatımda okuduğum en gergin yazılardandı: Ryder'ın tramvayda karşılaştığı çocukluk arkadaşının evinde ağzını açamaması, sürekli çabalayıp başaramamasını okurken kendimi sıktığımı fark ettim.

Kitabı okuyacak olanlara tavsiyem, kesinlikle Ishiguro'yu okumaya bu kitaptan başlamasınlar. Ishiguro okuması, anlaması, alışması çok güç bir yazar. Beni Asla Bırakma'dan da başlamasınlar bence, herhalde son yıllarda en çok yanlış anlaşılmış kitap odur, sevenleri tarafından da sevmeyenleri tarafından da. Günden Kalanlar okuduklarım içinde en açık eseri, ondan başlanabilir.


Kitaba birkaç gün ara vermek zorunda olsam da yaklaşık 300 sayfalık bir kısmını bir günde okudum. Arada bakkala gittiğimde, bir an asansörün düğmesinin çalışmayacağını düşündüm. Sonra her zaman gittiğim bakkalın yolunu bulamayacağım aklımdan geçti belli belirsiz. Bakkalı bulduğumda banka kartını kaybettiğimden, bulunca da şifresini hatırlayamayacağımdan emin oldum. Ishiguro benim dünyamın mantığını da büktü. Uzun zamandır bu kadar güçlü bir roman okumamıştım.
Profile Image for Hakan.
206 reviews159 followers
March 26, 2018
ishiguro ortalama okur seviyesine edebiyatın zirvelerinde sayılan ve ulaşılmaz-anlaşılmaz görülen romanlarla boy ölçüşebilecek bir roman sunmuş. amacı bu olmasa gerek ama üzerine kitaplar yazılabilecek, yazar adaylarına-yazarlara ders olarak okutulabilecek, romanın bugününe-geleceğine dair tezlere konu olabilecek bir roman olmuş avunamayanlar.

merak uyandıran hikaye-sade dil-akıcı anlatım şeklinde özetlenecek ortalama okur kriterleriyle muhteşem bir roman dünyası yaratılmış: kendi mantığına ve iç tutarlılığına sahip özel bir atmosfer, ustaca hazırlanmış bağlantılar, kırılma anları, kesişme noktaları, romanın dışına açılan kapılar ve hepsinden önemlisi geniş ama içinde kaybolmayacak şekilde tasarlanmış okur alanı.

okur alanında hem ciddiyetle ve ağır ağır hem de bir oyun duygusu ve keyifle ilerlenebiliyor. istenirse derinlere inilebiliyor, istenirse yüzeyden geçilebiliyor. farklı yönlere giden farklı yollar açık. romanı büyüten, devleştiren şey bu. okur alanı, okur özgürlüğü. okur mutluluğu.
Profile Image for Ellen.
131 reviews9 followers
July 12, 2007
As a person who compulsively makes lists and worries about crossing things off them, I read this book with a continual low-level anxiety. The main character, a pianist traveling in an unnamed European city, continually makes promises and takes on enormous responsibilities and then fails to follow through with them for various absurd and aggravating reasons. The style of the book is unique and unexpectedly engaging, but the experience of immersing yourself in the story is one of frustration. I see that other people noticed similarities with Kafka. I find Kafka extraordinarily frustrating as well, for many of the same reasons, so those comparisons seem apt to me. Overall: argh!
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
July 25, 2012
A long 500plus-page read but an easy one. You don't need to grab the dictionary when you read an Ishiguro but you have to pause, drop the book, every hour or two just to take a breather. An Ishiguro is a joy because it is like a silent but deep pond but if you love to shoot the rapids, it can be boring. What I am saying is that this book is not for everyone and judging from the reviews of my GR friends who have read this already, their ratings tend to go either very/quite high (5 or 4) or very/quite low (1 or 2). I am settling for 3 not that I am playing safe (I'd like to keep those friends whose taste on books is unquestionable) but that is really how I felt upon finishing this book.

This is a story about a pianist Ryder who is also the narrator of the story. The whole 500+ pages happened only in the span of 3 days. It begins with Ryder checking in a hotel located in a city where he is supposed to hold a concert. Over those 3 days, however, he experiences partial loss of memory that he can't even remember his schedule. He meets many people during his sleepwalking-like state including a woman and her son who happen to be his own wife and son and he couldn't recognize or remember them. The encounter with the porter with a long 4-page monologue that could have been delivered in just few minutes and the trip to an annexe that his supposed to be a ramshackle hut at the back of the hotel seems to indicate to me that Ishiguro is trying to show the unreal (the unconsoled) vs the real and so all those surreal scenes are part of our memories, the ones that we keep to ourselves because those are what we want to look back at when we are in the later part of our lives.

This is my 5th book by Kazuo Ishiguro and it seems to me that the theme of unreliable memory is always there in his first-person narrators: from Stevens, to Kathy, to Masuji Ono, to Etsuko and now to Ryder. Since I am now 48 (today is my birthday), I have no issue with this theme. Who wants to keep bad or sad memories? They will just creep into your heart and will lead to heart attack and so you die early and strain the finances of your family.

However, I also agree with my brother that this book has no denouement. But I think that is by design. The structure is formless. For some people, this differentiates Ishiguro from his Booker compatriots like the powerful plots of Salman Rushdie, the strong political themes of J. M. Coetzee, and the grandiose yet sublime attacks of Alan Hollinghurst. If these gentlemen always make sure that their female readers always achieve orgasm when these writers, through their books, make love with them, Ishiguro chooses to be different: there is a long foreplay and he leaves the woman to work her own orgasm. I hate to think of a married woman pleasuring herself. That is an "unconsoled" scene. But let's face it: for some women, this could be more satisfactory because they know their bodies best. Also, as they say, different strokes for different folks.

So, I suggest that let's leave it to her... at that. In the end, everybody's happy.
Profile Image for Boris.
421 reviews155 followers
January 26, 2020
Мога до края на годината да не прочета нищо повече и пак ще се чувствам литературно задоволен без да имам чувството, че съм пропуснал нещо.

Това е моята лична книга на годината.
Имах притеснения, че Ишигуро ще се подхлъзне като много други писатели, които са прибягвали към гледната точка на автори като Кафка и Бекет и че ще ме умори от скука. За щастие Ишигуро е много талантлив и силен автор и успя да ме увлече от началото до края в ирационалния свят на “Неутешимите”.

Това, за което се разказва в книгата и за което бях чувал още преди да я започна е универсално и тривиално. Боях се, че ще остана равнодушен от пореден разговор по една и съща тема. Но благодарение на Ишигуро универсалното и мелодраматичното беше написано така, че да звучи като чисто нов мит за света, който познаваме. В това отношене (като литературно умение най-вече, не като тема) много ми напомни за чисто новия мит за света, който Кормак Маккарти създаде в “Кървавия меридиан”.

Нобеловия комитет му връчи награда за ��изключително въздействащи романи, които разкриват пропастта под илюзорното ни усещане за връзка със света”. Този мотив винаги ме е озадачавал - откривал съм малко смисъл от мотива на Комитета в различните му романи, но никога не е било достатъчно, за да разбера какво точно имат предвид; в “Неутешимите” сякаш открих най-плътната връзка с мотива на Нобеловото жури.

Една от най-големите, сложни и майсторски написани книги, които съм чел.

Страхотен превод на Владимир Молев. Браво на всички хора, замесени в издаването на този шедьовър на български.
Profile Image for Lucy.
21 reviews2 followers
October 5, 2011
I hated this book almost as much as I hated myself for finishing it! If it hadn't been a library book I genuinely would have thrown it away. It infuriated me incessantly. I honestly expected to get the end and see the phrase 'and then he woke up and it was all a dream' but was even more irritated when this didn't even happen, such was the non-sensical dreamesque drivel that had occupied the previous 500 pages. The character's weak will and inability to do what he wants to do was beyond irritating and it was impossible to feel anything towards Ryder other than contempt by the end. I understand that certain characters were obviously intended to represent Ryder in his youth which might have been a clever concept if the events surrounding this concept hadn't been so annoying and so even this wasn't enough to make me respect this book. I read this straight after reading Remains of the Day which I loved. To say I was disappointed with this book would be an understatement. I really did hate it and it put me in the worst mood ever after finishing it. I can honestly say I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Profile Image for Lobstergirl.
1,716 reviews1,243 followers
January 3, 2013
I read quite a bit of this during insomniac chunks in the middle of the night. In spite of the fact that much of what is happening to the narrator, Ryder, if it happened to me in real life would be intensely disturbing - things such as time and distance warping, people making constant and unreasonable demands on me, missing scheduled appointments, not recognizing people I knew well - I found the whole novel soothing, and actually hard to put down. Of the Ishiguro novels I've read, which is now most of them, this one verges closest on magnificence, I think. I now look back on many of the odd and dreamlike sequences of Murakami and suspect that Murakami is the poor man's Ishiguro.

Some books are really fantastic and yet you feel like you would not want to reread them. This book feels like one that could be, and wants to be, reread. I'll give it a few years and come back to it.
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 2 books1,344 followers
May 15, 2020
A strange, surreal, dream-like work, this book--to me--is Ishiguro's most daring and ambitious, and the one I'm tempted to re-read above all his others, if only to plumb the depths I might have missed the first time.
Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
429 reviews164 followers
February 26, 2020
„Ефектът беше колкото смущаващ, толкова и покоряващ“.

Този цитат от „Неутешимите“ описва идеално въздействието на тази книга върху мен.

Не правя лесно такъв тип изявления, но да кажем, че досега не сте чели такава книга.

Почнах я с големи опасения, почти с уплах. И как не, като отвсякъде мненията са, че е странна, шантава, налудничава творба. Прави са, такава е. Но освен това „Неутешимите“ е изключително изтънчено описание на нашите лудости, претенции, очаквания и разочарования. Най-вече на неумението ни да бъдем щастливи. Абсурдността, с която Ишигуро е избрал да дръпне завесата на илюзиите, само показва колко е вярна в посланията си тази необикновена книга.

Четенето й мога да сравня само с усещането, което човек изпитва на върха на виенско колело, когато изведнъж токът прекъсва. И започва целенасочена поредица от абсурди, парадокси, противоречия, темпорални несъответствия, истинска истерия.

Главният герой – световноизвестният пианист Райдър, пристига в анонимен европейски град, където трябва да изнесе рецитал. Веднага се оказва обсаден от местните жители, всеки от които иска нещо от него, всеки го дърпа за някъде и навлиза в личното му пространство с досадни молби. И Райдър се опитва, наистина се опитва, да даде съвет, да каже добра дума, да присъства, да предложи утеха. Но за неутешимите това е непостижимо. Те консумират доброто в протегнатата ръка, както ядящият пуканки, и продължават да живеят в плен на измислени от тях самите рамки. И един от най-очевидните парадокси в книгата – когато Райдър има нужда от околните и тяхното съдействие, сякаш става невидим, а когато иска да го оставят на мира, към него валят всякакви прошения. Това е книга, в която няма нито един нормален герой, въпреки преувеличената тривиалност на проблематиката.

Колкото действието върви към все по-голяма абсурдност, толкова читателят започва да свиква с нея и да я приема – защото това са абсурдите от нашия живот. Вярно, силно преувеличени, отразени в криво огледало и ужасяващо психотични, но напълно разпознаваеми от всеки, който не е социопат и отшелник. Ето и някои от ситуациите – жена ти те обича, докато имаш положение в обществото; не говориш с баща си десетилетия заради дребно недоразумение; родителите ти са слепи за таланта ти на музикант, докато целият град аплодира изпълненията ти.

Всички герои са антипатични. Говорят завоалирано,както е характерно за героите на Ишигуро въобще, с много предисловия, с безкрайни увъртания, докато стигнат до същината. Под китайските любезности, които си разменят непрекъснато, личи едва спотаен гняв и ненавист, непреглътната обида, едва удържана агресия. Всички те на практика нямат нужда от утеха, обичат драмите си, репетират ги наум, живеят с тях години наред. Всеки от тях живее в собственото си представление, в силно субективна вътрешна среда. И като казах представление, не мога да пропусна фокусите на ума, които Ишигуро е заложил в това, което може да мине за сюжет, а именно непрекъснатото сменяне на пространството в романа по механичен начин, напомнящо на подвижни театрални декори. Лудостта се задълбочава и от това, че Райдър винаги закъснява за някоя среща, точно както в класическите кошмари, в които знаеш, че закъсняваш за нещо важно, но не можеш да помръднеш в пространството. Накратко, става дума за онези невидими моменти, когато нещо в живота ни тихо се обърква.

С „Неутешимите“ ще се качите на сюрреалистично влакче в анти-дисниленд, ще влезете във филм на Жорж Мелиез, ще обходите всички помещения на съзнанието в къщата на лудите. Доста смело от страна на издателство „Лабиринт“ да я издадат, но съм сигурна, че ще намери своите почитатели. Корицата й също напълно хармонира със съдържанието.

Ако проявите решимост да стигнете до края, без да полудеете, книгата ще ви възнагради. Или ще я харесате много, или никак. Нейната необичайност не оставя друг избор.
Profile Image for Katie Lumsden.
Author 1 book2,823 followers
December 4, 2020
This is a bizarre, dream-like, meandering and somewhat bewildering book – and I think I rather loved it.
Profile Image for Chia.
41 reviews72 followers
September 13, 2018
رمان تسلی ناپذیر از ایشی گورو، یک رمان نسبتا طولانی ۷۳۶ صفحه ای هست که درباره ی رایدر پیانیست مشهور و چیره دست اروپایی ست که برای یک کنسرت مهم به شهری نامعلوم در اروپای مرکزی دعوت شده.
این شهر مردمانی عاشق موسیقی کلاسیک داره و رهبر ارکستر شهر اونا مدتیست که حال خوش�� نداره و کنسرت خوبی اجرا نکرده. حالا همه ی امید ها به رایدر و حضورش در این شهر هست.

این رمان رو بسیار پراکنده و غیر قابل کشف خواندن. و اصلا دلیل انتخابم همین بود. نیاز همیشگی به یک نرمش مغزی. اما افسوس که اینطور نبود و دریغ از چیزی برای کشف.
جزئيات بی اندازه و بی کاربرد که در ابتدا لذت بخش بود اما به مرور تکراری.

رایدر در کل داستان انگار که مشغول پرسه زدن در یک خواب هست که گاهی به خاطرات بچگی بر می گرده، گاهی زمان و مکان گم میشه، گاهی رایدر در زمان سفر میکنه و ... و حتی در این شهر با زن و فرزندش روبرو میشه اما اون ها رو به یاد نمیاره! که همه ی اینها در آخر توجیه میشه البته تا حدودی.
شخصیت اصلی که اکثر مواقع قادر به تصمیم گیری نیست، که البته این رو هم میشه توجیه کرد با خوندن پایان داستان.
تمام این ضعف های شخصیت رایدر (نجات دهنده) و احوالاتش که در کل داستان بسیار بود رو در کل با این جمله میشه توجیه کرد که به نظرم هدف ایشی گورو هم همین بوده که : هر جامعه ای باید بدون راهنمایی بیگانه به توازن برسه.
که در پایان همین اتفاق میوفته و نوید ظهور یک پیانیست (نجات دهنده) بومی داده میشه و البته با الهام از رایدر!

در پایان نتونستم بیش‌تر از ۳ بدم به این رمان چون که زیاد وقتم رو گرفت و اون چیزی که می خواستم نبود و در عجبم که با این همه کتاب نخونده ی بینظیری که تو زندگیم هنوز هست چرا
نوبت به تسلی ناپذیر رسید!
Profile Image for Dessislava.
222 reviews121 followers
January 20, 2020
Няма как да не се побъркаш с тази книга, която е като продължителен, напрегнат, хаотичен, неадекватен, изнервящ и изтънчен сън, който е на ръба с кошмара. "Неутешимите" не е като нищо друго на Ишигуро. Всичко от него, което съм чела дотук, е било разумно, дори в неразумностите си. Обаче този роман... леле, майко.
Прекрасен е. Известен пианист отива за концерт и няколкодневен престой в неназовано градче, където всички са абсолютно неадекватни, но претендиращи да са - от управителя на хотела, през разносвача на куфари, до местната музикална знаменитост, бившата му съпруга и всеки, който се шири из страниците на "Неутешимите". Всеки един от тях се дави в личната си драма и желае от Райдър (пианиста) тип съдействие. Персонажите са разнообразни, ярки, неприятни, малодушни и интересни. Оказва се лека полека, че Райдър все пак ги познава, но как... защо?
Така пианистът е въвлечен в какви ли не безумни ситуации, които са безсмислени и шантави, но в крайна сметка, докато четеш, изпитваш такова удоволствие, че започваш да се чудиш дали в теб самия нещо не е наред.

Разбирам и тези, които се изнервят на книгата и я намират за особено неприятна. Аз някак преминах от другата страна на барикадата, защото Ишигуро е изтънчен и фин и дори да напише роман от цифри, в които няма логика и значение, пак накрая ще реша, че си е струвало.
Profile Image for Tawfek Making Onions Cry.
2,667 reviews2,080 followers
January 16, 2023
بالرغم من أن كازو ايشيجيرو ياباني الأصل الا ان أدبه يمثل بريطانيا الدولة التي تربي و تعلم و كبر فيها.
نحن أمام رواية واقعية سحرية السرد بدون غرائبية.
فلن تجد هنا اموات يتحدثون مع بطل الرواية مثل رواية بدرو بارامو.
و لن تجد اي حدث غرائبي.
و لكن واقعية الرواية السحرية تتمثل في أسلوب السرد.
فالراوي يسرد الرواية كانه في حلم محققًا بذلك ما قاله العظيم ماركيز عن الواقعية السحرية انها ان تسرد كانك تحلم.
الراوي ياخذه من مكان لمكان أشخاص له مواعيد مسبقه معهم بدون ان يعتذر او يتحدث للشخص الذي كان معه للتو و عندما يقابل نفس الشخص مرة اخري لا يبادره بانه تركه من قبل في المكان الفلاني بدون اعتذار تمامًا كما يحدث في الحلم
و عندنا ايضًا المشهد الذي يمثل الحلم الكابوسي عندما لم يستطع التحدث لانقاذ صديقته من الحرج او انقاذ نفسه شخصيًا
الراوي عليم بما يحدث وراء الأبواب مثل مشهد منزل ميس كولينز في أول الرواية او بعيد عنه بمسافة كبيرة مثل مشهد الخزانة التي تصل لسقف قاعة الكونشيرتو في آخر الرواية فالراوي يحكي لنا هذه الاحداث كانها علي مرمي السمع منه
مع ان الرواية لكاتب فائز بنوبل و واقعية سحرية الا انها سهلة للغاية و بالرغم من الطول العجيب لبعض المحادثات الذي لن تجد مثيله في كثير من الروايات الا اني لم اشعر بالملل مع ان المقصود منها كان إثارة ملل بطل الرواية حتي يخرج عن شعوره
كنت طوال الرواية منبهر بقدرة الكاتب علي الحديث المسهب كيف استطاع فعل ذلك مرارًا و تكرارًا في هذا موهبة عظيمة لان محادثاته كانت ذات معني و ذات تاريخ فهي ليست محادثات واهيه
النهاية كانت غير متوقعه فهي نهاية تستحثك علي التفكير ليس بها إغلاق بالرواية مع ان بها إغلاق للرواية
فكل الخيوط المفتوحة للرواية تم ربطها بشكل ما و لكن تم ربطها بصورة غير مرضية للقارئ
فبطلنا عازف البيانو الشهير يتم تركه من زوجته و ابنه ولا ينظرون وراءهم عليه مرة اخري بعد مقولة زوجته لتذهب لرحلاتك حول العالم ليس لك مكان في حياتنا
و الحمالين يأتون ليسألوا عن الكلمة الخاصة بهم في خطبته و لكنه لم يقم بأي خطبه و لم يعزف حتي الحفلة التي كتبت 650 صفحة من أجلها
و لكن في هذه النهاية متعة خاصة كذلك متعة أدبية بشكل ما تجعلني أبتسم برضا عندما أتذكرها و أفكر فيها.
للأسف هذا العمل هو تقريبًا العمل الوحيد للكاتب بهذا الأسلوب فهو علامة فارقه في حياته و لكن المتعة مع كازو لم تنتهي فله رواية أخري شهيرة بإسم بقايا اليوم هي الرواية الوحيدة الحديثة التي قراتها ملكة انجلترا و أنا أتوقع منها الكثير عندما اقراها يومًا ما.
الحقيقة نسيت أن أتكلم عن شخصية مهمة جدًا في الرواية و تشابهها الفظيع مع بطل الرواية و هي شخصية ستيفان الشاب الموهوب بعزف البيانو و الذي يمتلك أبًا و أم لا يحبونه ولا يحبون بعضهما البعض تمامًا مثل بطل الرواية فستلاحظ في جزئية ما ان البطل متفاجئ جدًا من أن أمه و أبوه كانا سعداء سويًا في هذه المدينة منذ 15 سنة .
ستيفان سيغادر هذه المدينة لكي يتعلم في الخارج و يبدوا ان هذا ما فعله ايضًا رايدر في وقت ما
فالوقت الذي يمضيه رايدر في المدينة التي تحتوي علي زوجته و ابنه الوحيد قليل لدرجة انه لا يعرف الاتجاهات لاي مكان حتي بيته الشخصي.
كما انه في جزئية من الرواية جزئية الحفلة كان يربت علي سيارة عفا عليها الزمن و يتذكر أيام طفولته فيها.
و هما ايضًا الوحيدان الذان يعرفان مدي براعة برودسكي و لكن من الممكن أن نرجع هذا لأنهما الوحيدان الذان يستطيعان تقييم المزيكا في الرواية.
هناك تشابه فظيع بين ستيفان و رايدر يجعلني أشك في الرواية كلها فمن الممكن بسهولة أن يكون الشخصيتان شخصية واحدة
Profile Image for Jimmy.
512 reviews714 followers
October 19, 2011
This is undoubtedly Ishiguro’s masterpiece! I’ve read several of his other books, but I always come away from them with a mixture of enthusiasm and reserve. The thing is, Ishiguro is a control freak. His books always seem to me to be so well planned out that there is no sense of discovery for the reader. It is almost like you are being shown a set of corridors that unfold very sure-handedly. It’s artfully done, but that is the problem: as a reader, I feel like he hides certain things from me (plot points, twists, etc.) that end up making me feel manipulated.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of manipulation in this book as well (perhaps even more). However, it seems well earned here. His reveals are done so organically that when it comes you get this ‘of course!’ moment. That is because these characters are so well developed, and you find out more and more about them as the novel unfolds, and each one is a little less surprising knowing what you know already, it’s totally believable. The other thing is that Ishiguro balances out his control-freak nature with an opposite impulse: by writing in the style of a surreal dream-state, he necessarily introduces elements that are indeterminate, illogical, and irresolvable. It means that his carefully controlled plot is always veering seemingly out of control, yet always still maintaining control. It is this tension that makes it work. I feel like many amateur writers try this surreal Kafka-esque kind of writing. But without the discipline that Ishiguro brings here, the writing often suffers from a sense of complete randomness, i.e. weird for the sake of being weird. What’s impressive is that through all the craziness, you can see that Ishiguro has a concrete, realistic vision and emotional center (though at points it does seem random, it takes 535 pages to finally see how it all comes together).

To me, it’s a book about the futility and short sightedness of human endeavors, and about how we are all pulled in certain directions by our past so that we end up in a rut going around in a circle. The last image of the book is especially poignant. Ryder is riding (intentional pun?) on a tram that circles the city. He is understandably sad about the events that have transpired, and yet he’s made a new friend who doesn’t care to ask too many personal questions. On top of that, there is a buffet being served. Ryder finds his mood improving already. All the themes of the book are here, the insularity of the small town with its citizens stuck on a circular track, the shortsightedness of immediate distractions, the futility of ever truly addressing deeper problems (i.e. Ryder’s essential unhappiness).

Ishiguro is able to build highly complex characters, each with their own set of crazy behaviors. But underneath that wacky exterior lies a hidden agenda. Each character’s hidden agenda is what drives him/her to act/interact with others the way they do, often using others only as a means to their own ends. It’s a tightly knit tangle of complex emotions and motivations that becomes claustrophobically more depressing the more you think about it. Each character’s trajectory weaves into those around them, and necessarily brings the whole community down. What Ishiguro says about this small town is devastating, his vision of humanity is one of the saddest things to read, though not without a lot of truth... for many of these characters have very good intentions, but they are blinded by their own myopic goals, so that they never see the world around them.

I wish Ishiguro would stop writing those Never Let Me Downs and Artist of the Floating Worlds and write more books like this one.
Profile Image for Matthew Ted.
716 reviews594 followers
February 19, 2020
29th book of the year.

I've been avoiding this one for a while as Ishiguro's books are usually slow, not bad, but slow reading and this is huge compared to his other works; it's 535 pages, my edition, anyway.

I came up with some similes whilst I was reading, to capture what reading this book is like. I'm going to list them here.

- Like getting your zip stuck half way up your coat.
- Like finally getting comfortable and then realising you need the toilet/the remote.
- Like trying to untangle headphones, but only end up tangling them further.
- Like desperately wanting to add to a conversation but never finding the right moment.
- Like wanting to get somewhere but your dog constantly stops to sniff.
- Like putting something on the side and it immediately falls off again.
- Like stubbing your toe.

This book is frustrating. It makes you want to scream at every character involved, at Ishiguro himself; it is a nightmare. A literal nightmare. The protagonist, Mr Ryder, is constantly failing to get somewhere, remember something, meet someone, do anything. It's mind-numbing. The tone begins to annoy you, even. Everything is so difficult. Characters talk for several pages, without break, about something you, nor Mr Ryder, even care about - but you're stuck. You're stuck in this nightmare. Ishiguro has taken an escape artist and made it impossible to escape so we sit and watch as he writhes and writhes, struggles and pants, but can never get out. The only way to escape this nightmare is to finish the book.

I feel as if I've made it sound like I didn't enjoy this book, or that anyone else should read it. If I have given that impression, it's wrong. The Unconsoled is an absolute masterpiece, Ishiguro's control of the form, the novel, is wondrous. He deserves the Nobel Prize for this novel alone. If you haven't read it, I urge you to, however, go in with patience. Ishiguro will make you work, make you itch and sigh, but he does it to give you an experience, a trippy, brilliant, work of genius. Now, I need to read The Buried Giant and then I have read all this man's fantastic novels. I might need a minute to compose myself after finishing this book, though.
Profile Image for Maria Yankulova.
692 reviews253 followers
December 12, 2022
Какво прочетох?

Абсурдна, изтрещяла, откачена, налудна, ирационална (мога да продължа до безкрай) история!

Ето това се питам часове след като завърших прочита на “Неутешимите”, както и през цялото време докато четях.

За мен това е първа среща с Ишигуро и смятам, че този роман не е подходящата книга за старт с творчеството му. Убедена съм, че ако си фен на автора оценяваш романа с всичките му достойнства.

Изчетох много ревюта тук и определено съм съгласна с всички. Припознах се в тези, които са супер впечатлени и в тези, които са се напрегнали от историята. Определено мога да кажа, че съм впечатлена от стила на писане. Главния герой Райдър попада в неназован европейски град, за да изнесе концерт. От момента, в който се настанява в хотела попада във вихър от шантави и странни случки, в които местните го въвличат. Всеки иска нещо от него. Попадаме буквално на луната…

Началото страшно ми хареса. Но в един момент се уморих от стотиците абсурднии случки, в които попада Райдър, разговорите и отплесванията на другите герои. Буквално ме заболя главата. Определено обемът е прекален в случая, по мое мнение.

Хареса ми, обаче четох и на инат, за да я завърша. В доста моменти, случки и разговори имах усещането за руски вайб по отношение на писането.

Със сигурност романа не е за всеки и определено не съветвам да е първа среща с Казуо Ишигуро.
Profile Image for Barry Pierce.
560 reviews7,442 followers
January 19, 2015
Probably Ishiguro's more divisive book, I view this as his "Finnegans Wake". An experiment in plot. Yes, most of this novel makes absolutely no sense whatsoever but I actually enjoyed this. Oddly. While I was reading this lucid, dreamlike novel I felt compelled to continue. I don't know. I liked this but I can't exactly put my finger on the reason why. This novel is definitely not for everyone but I'm glad Ishiguro wrote it. It's interesting, let's say that.
Profile Image for Kathy.
57 reviews15 followers
November 1, 2012
Oh good lord, this book never ends.

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 appointments you don't remember making.

I presumed that some of the other characters were supposed to represent Ryder's family or his younger self but there was so little cohesiveness that it was hard to follow at the best of times and hard to care at the worst. And don't bother waiting for explanations because that's the last thing Ishiguro is ever going to give you. I waded through the whole thing hoping that all would suddenly become clear but it never did.

In short: do not read this book, it will take whole days off your life that you will never get back and it will do nothing but frustrate and annoy you. If I could give it no stars then I would.
Profile Image for Neil.
1,007 reviews638 followers
May 29, 2018
Literary critic James Wood claimed The Unconsoled “invented its own category of badness”. On the other hand, Anita Brookner said it is “almost certainly a masterpiece”, a thought echoed by The Times review quoted on the front of the edition I read: “A masterpiece…It is above all a book devoted to the human heart.”

Masterpiece or disaster? You have to read it for yourself to decide, but I am on the masterpiece side of the argument.

One thing is sure: this is a novel unlike other novels. I’ve read a reasonable amount of experimental fiction in my time, but this is something else. The prose is careful in the way all Ishiguro novels are careful. The characters are like the characters in other Ishiguro novels (I am sure he borrowed Stevens from The Remains of the Day to create Gustav, for example). But the story and the structure here are unlike anything I’ve read before. Many reviewers speak of the dream-like narration and there are several things that point in that direction. Time is very flexible (in the first pages, Gustav, a porter, has time for a 4-page monologue during a lift journey that should take at most 30 seconds, for example), locations are inexact and seem to be moveable (as can often happen in a dream, a room turns out to be connected to another room that it wasn’t connected to at the start of scene but happens to be the room needed for the next phase), people appear, or are noticed, without all the preamble of them entering a room or they suddenly have something in their hands that hasn’t been noticed until that point. More bizarrely, the narration several times jumps away from the main protagonist narrating in the first person to suddenly follow the interaction of other characters. At times, the narrator learns what other characters are thinking and saying about him and they don’t recognise him even though he is there talking to them.

It sounds odd. And it is odd. But it is also hypnotic.

Our narrator is Mr. Ryder (we never learn his first name) and he is a celebrated pianist. He arrives in an unnamed (sort of Germanic) city a few days before a big concert at which he is both playing and speaking. He is mostly unaware of why he is there and pieces things together as events unfold. As sometimes happens in a dream, events shift and change so that the past supports what we read of the present even though the events when we read about that past were different (struggling to explain that bit!).

I can understand why some people have found this a difficult book to like. It can be frustrating to read because every course of action Ryder sets out on is de-railed. Nothing seems to complete and he is forever moving into a new circumstance without actually achieving what he set out to do a few pages earlier.

But the brilliance of this book is, at least partly, I think, that even in that disjointed incompleteness, Ishiguro manages to progress several different plot lines. The community has been damaged by past events and Ryder’s appearance, his speech and his playing, are expected to bring healing. He meets Sophie and Boris and gradually discovers that he is Boris’s father (probably) and Sophie is Boris’s mother, which implies something about the relationship between Ryder and Sophie (at least it does as I understand biology, but maybe he isn’t actually Boris’s father and something stranger is going on). Brodsky is a composer broken by a failed relationship and now recovering from many years of drunkenness. His appearance at the concert will be a demonstration of his recovery and a breakthrough for the town. There’s more than just these examples, but you need to read it for yourself to see how Ishiguro builds something in a way that is by turns exasperating and exhilarating.

I can quite see why many people would read the first part of the book and give up. I can also see, and this was my experience, why people would be grabbed by the opening passages and by the novelty of the structure and would read the whole thing in just a couple of days (it is rather long). It helps if you are a fan of Ishiguro’s writing as he does have a distinctive style that is very evident here.

This quote from the TLS (April 28, 1995) seems to sum it up:

"I can produce something pretty strange and weird now", Kazuo Ishiguro told me, in an interview three years ago, of the way that winning the Booker Prize might liberate him; he longed, he said, to break through the veil of expectations and constraints that both his suc­cess, and his readers’ stubborn determination to take him absolutely literally, imposed. He could appreciate, he said with typically wry detach­ment, the drawbacks of an "over-perfect novel", like The Remains of the Day, a book, he said, that had been almost too easy to write, "a bit like pushing a button all the time"; now he wanted to try something wild and even frightening that would prevent him from ever being taken as a realist again.

"Pretty strange and weird" it certainly is! Read this if you like the surreal and don't need all your questions answered when you reach the last page of a book.
Profile Image for downinthevalley.
109 reviews100 followers
January 3, 2018
anahtar kelime : Nobel değil. hayır sadece o değil.
Beni Asla Bırakma'yı seneler önce okudum, yeterince iyi anlamamıştım, aslında gereğinden önce okumuşum şimdi anlıyorum. Ishiguro'nun Nobel kazandığını duyduğumda hem sevindim hem de biraz burukluk yaşadım. Ödüller ve jüriler yazarları çoğunlukla hırpalayıp yoruyor bence. Elimde Günden Kalanlar olmasına rağmen fiziken yanımda değildi. Ben de karşıma çıkan ilk YKY kitabevinden aldım Avunamayanlar'ı karlı bir günde.

Bir otel lobisinde nefis bir başlangıç ile karakterimizle tanışıyoruz : Mr. Ryder.
Arka kapak yazısından da okuyabileceğiniz üzere kendisi ünlü bir piyanist. Film izliyor gibi hayatına girdim, tanımak için daha fazla okumam lazım hissiyle devam ettim.
Mr. Ryder'ı size anlatmak istemiyorum. Anlatabileceklerimin de sınırlı olduğunu biliyorum. Bilinç akışı şeklinde ilerleyen kitaplar bana hep aynı 'dahil oluyorum,içindeyim' hissini veriyor. Ishiguro bu kitabı başka karakterlerle aynı şekilde yazsaydı ben yine bayılırdım, bunu söylemeye çalışıyorum.
Birçok olayın art arda geliştiği değil de, kişilerin olaylarla -hatta diğer kişiler üzerinden- çözümlendiği kitapları daha fazla sevdiğimi fark ettim artık. Mr. Ryder size ailesini, kendisini, hatta hayatındaki olayları bir kesinlik ile anlatmıyor. Her bir cümlenin ilmek ilmek işlendiğini görüyorsunuz. Bunda Roza Hakmen'in müthiş çevirisinin payı da var. Çeviri kokmuyor, hatta karamel tadı veriyor. Harika.

Kitap hakkında biraz araştırma yaptığımda gördüm ki Avunamayanlar, yazarın en çok tartışılan eseri. Bazı eleştirmenler çok basit görmüş iken; bazıları 'bir başyapıt' nitelemesi yapıyor. Eleştirmenleri ayıran temel nokta aslında yazarın bir piyanisti başkahraman yapmakla 'sanat' kavramını irdelemesi ve kitabın rüya mantığı -tekniği demek daha doğru- üzerinden ilerleyerek okuyucuya 'karmaşık' gelmesi. 19. yy edebiyatından bu denli etkilenmiş bir yazarın rüya tekniğinin anlaşılmaz bulunması bana.. abartı ve adaletsiz geliyor.
Rüya tekniğinde bir karakter çoğunlukla farklı insanlar tarafından tasvir edilir, diyerek açıklıyor Ishiguro. Avunamayanlar'ın tek cümlelik özeti niteliğinde bu cümle. Her karakter Mr. Ryder'ın bir görüntüsü gibi. Bu nedenle Mr. Ryder'ın karakter çözümlemesi sadece kendi sınırları içine sıkıştırılmamış, her bir karaktere yansıtılmış, yayılmış.

İki yönlü ilerleyen olay örgüsünde bir açık bulamadım. Sessiz ve kendimle kaldığım sürelerde okumaya özen gösterdim, beni öylesine içine almasına izin verdim ve ister istemez açıklar aradım. Ama söylediğim gibi, yoktu.
'Bence insan hayatının bir noktasında kararlarının arkasında durmayı öğrenmelidir. 'Ben buyum,ben bunu yapmayı seçtim' diyebilmelidir.'

Bu aşamada korktuğum şu, 2018 yılına beklentilerim ve 'okumanın damakta bıraktığı tat' olarak zirvede başladım. Devamında okuyacaklarıma haksızlık etmemek için biraz zaman geçmesi gerekecek :)

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