Maureen asked:

Am I the only reader who found this book a never-ending loquacious boring bag of misery?

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Betty Confetti I enjoyed this because in my mind, Ryder is living in an insane asylum and everything that unfolds in terms of time and space in that setting can become believable. Everything from him happening to show up at just the right place to play the piano during the burial of Brodsky's dog . . . to the weird partial connections/disconnects with Sofia and Boris, Gustav, and even Ryder's parents. Think about it. The scene where the movie is being shown borders on insane. And then the condolences to Brodsky about the death of his dog range from sympathetic to just plain weird. The huge piano recital at the end leads to a breakfast in the wee hours in the morning? Maybe this is done in Europe on a regular basis, but it's more like Milk and Cookies in an institutional setting. I imagine Sofia to be an employee there, and her son is around and occasionally connects with Ryder but most often does not. Hoffman is like the social director of the asylum--trying to keep order in a difficult setting. I don't even believe his son is his son in the book--he could just be another person who is committed there. The wall that Ryder hits trying to get to his performance--too weird to be true. I think it's a real wall keeping him in. And his bird's eye view of the theatre just another sort of hallucination. He's not "there" when some of the story unfolds, and yet he tells us what people say and do. It's surreal in a way that implies another reality--something that Ishiguro must have had in mind to help give the book a sense of containment and manageability. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else find these thoughts plausible. Without that sort of perspective, it is a long laundry list of twists and turns for someone who can not manage much of anything in his life. Ryder is too inept to be so genius. YOu gotta admit, even the amputation is implausible, except in the mind of someone who has been committed to an insane asylum on a large estate with a mansion of huge dimensions and much on the property to serve as a distraction.
Mark Haughey I was very disappointed in this book, however I find it has really stuck with me, so it must have something going for it.

At times it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with the various doors to enter and I expected it to develop some how, but it seemed in deadly earnest to go its own way.

I did finish it. I don't recommend it. I read it by mistake. But like I said, it must have some power if it has stayed so clearly with me. Disturbing.
MikeBy No, I also think it is the most miserable unpleasant thing I have read since The God of Small Things. I really liked Never Let Me Go, quite enjoyed The Buried Giant, but this was a real 1 star only for me.
A nightmare of insanity!
Blaine I'm not quite finished with it, but it's easily my favorite of Ishiguro's corpus (and he is, IMO, the greatest living author). I can see why some would dislike it, however; surrealism is an acquired taste and perhaps not what one would expect from Kazuo Ishiguro.
Veronica Roodt I was convinced that the story was going to end along the lines of "and then he awoke; not quite remembering precisely what he had dreamt but remembering very distinctly that he had."

It was a very long-winded read.
Pamela Sprague I loved it's surreal quality. I think that quality captures how our lives can be/feel. We insist in thinking linear-ally, but I believe our consciousness is able to experience multi-dimensionality when we allow it.
Davis Engelis Well, some episodes seemed to be a little too far streched-out, but the whole story was utterly captivating, no to mention the grotesque characters and the beautiful absurdity of the situations and conversations.
Ryan He isn't in an insane aslyum, and I enjoyed the novel immensely. I don't see how it puzzles people who can rave over Kafka for the same reason they purport to pan this book.
T. Augenblick As I say in my review, at 200 pages it would have been a gem. At 500, it is verbose. As for misery, yes ... but there are funny bits too (such as the matter of the prosthetic limb).
Dawn Felsing What a great description. I am in the middle of the Covid 19 quarantine and a surreal book for a surreal time is apropos. I think I would have enjoyed it if it was less loquacious. When one person's half of a conversation takes up 4 pages in small print I just want to throw the book across the room and scream "shut the @*#$ up"!!!
Jenny Sommers I found it long and boring.
Carolyn Tate I absolutely agree with what you say - I got half way through and thought I would just plough on in case it got better - I did finish it BUT wanted to throw it across the room - such a waste of my time!! PS. Quite enjoyed the wooden leg fiasco!
Kareninsacramento Not at all. I gave up on it midway through chapter 8. It was simply too dull and irritating to read.

I love surrealism, which was why I'd hoped to like this, and I've enjoyed other Ishiguro novels. But I feel as if the style defeats the purpose, here.

Surrealism so often is about atmosphere and mood, and the aggravating dialogue style works against both, in my opinion. Yes, many parts of the plot do suggest unreality. But the puzzle of what's actually happening isn't an intriguing mystery, it's an assault of annoyance. :(
Rani Cohen This is a book for dreamers and entrepreneurs. Are you one?
Robyn Bowman No, you are not. I found it way too long. I didn't really take to the surreal aspect either, nor the lack of joy. I much preferred When we were Orphans.
Gilma Chute Yes, you are the only one. I am agree with Betti Confetti he was in an insane asylum.
Anja Most certainly not! ;-)
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by Kazuo Ishiguro (Goodreads Author)
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