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The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Unconsoled (original 1995; edition 1999)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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2,296502,771 (3.58)165
Title:The Unconsoled
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Faber and Faber (1999), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction 20th Century Best of breed

Work details

The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (1995)

Recently added byprivate library, Anna_Alberti, ftpfarragher, jasmataz, ryanlack, SCPeterson, PhilD57, sjc731, bookie53
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    Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz (slickdpdx)
    slickdpdx: Ishiguro's The Unconsoled may be the pinnacle of this peculiar genre.
  3. 00
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    sturlington: Surreal stories in unnamed Central European settings.
  4. 00
    The Feverhead by Wolfgang Bauer (slickdpdx)
    slickdpdx: Ishiguro's The Unconsoled may be the pinnacle of this peculiar genre.
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» See also 165 mentions

English (45)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
The first book in many a year that I failed to get into - discarded after about 50 pages.
The book has the main character in a dream-like state - he doesn't quite remember where he is, and what he has to do. An interesting creation, and probably worth persisting with, if you have the endurance. But after checking reviews, I have decided that I am not going to get a lot more from the next 450 pages than I got from the first 50. So, put aside until I'm in traction and have run out of books.
Not read Feb 2015. ( )
  mbmackay | Feb 24, 2015 |
There are those who consider this book a masterpiece, there are those who loathe it, and there are those who find it intriguing but overlong. I'm in the latter camp. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Jan 26, 2015 |
A great novel says more about the reader than the book itself, and the wide breadth of reactions to this one certainly shows that to be the case. To me, this book is a work of comic genius that laughs at human beings who take themselves seriously (which is most of us). It has a playful Zen quality of no boundaries in time or space and is free of a structure and plot which is likely to annoy some readers. Each scene is like an out-take from a comedy sketch show – Monty Python, perhaps. This novel can only be appreciated if approached with a sense of the absurd and a willingness to discard conventional expectations; if you can do that you are in for a treat... ( )
  BookMonk | Apr 13, 2014 |
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 must be developing by now) elaborate at length about their lives. Ryder attempts to navigate through his day in a linear fashion -- after all, he's a very important person, a celebrity even, in town to prepare for a very important speech and performance -- but distraction piles upon diversion piles upon impediment, as the day and night stretch on.
As Ryder experiences the people and events around him, mostly being pulled along, the narrative feels like a dream. Amazingly so, actually. Ishiguro captures the feeling of those anxiety dreams in which we know we have to be somewhere, do something, but there's no straight path between here and there, we can't seem to get there, and can't seem to keep our minds on it...
I kept expecting to lose patience with The Unconsoled -- after all, how much of this unreality can one take before a certain longing takes hold for a linear plot, a sense of progression, of our protagonist actually doing things instead of having things done to him? Yet I found myself enjoying the book. I don't pretend to know what the author's intentions were, but by the end I was reflecting on this world full of people and how our lives intersect, each of us moving according to our own interests, desires and whims. What if we wore all those internal motivations on our sleeves, and explained them at great length? What if everyone did that, except for one poor visitor from some far away place?
At the same time, Ishiguro seems to have had in mind a meditation on the nature of fame and celebrity. Ryder's reality and his very nature seem mutable, defined by the preconceptions of those around him, changing with each new encounter. What is left of Ryder but the public perception of the man?
And there you have The Unconsoled. Twisting, dreamlike, frustrating, and ultimately, strangely rewarding.

( )
2 vote ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
aggravating and awful, foggy and unclear, too long for its own good. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
The Unconsoled itself is beautifully controlled, even-paced, deadpan in spite of all extravagances. Its determined equanimity of tone makes you drowsy, and sometimes you wonder if you'd notice if you dropped off to sleep while you were reading. But there is finally something haunting, even alluring, about the proliferation of obstacles and stories in this book.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Michael Wood (pay site) (Dec 21, 1995)
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The taxi driver seemed embarrassed to find there was no one - not even a clerk behind the reception desk - waiting to welcome me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679735879, Paperback)

The Unconsoled is at once a gripping psychological mystery, a wicked satire of the cult of art, and a poignant character study of a man whose public life has accelerated beyond his control. The setting is a nameless Central European city where Ryder, a renowned pianist, has come to give the most important performance of his life. Instead, he finds himself diverted on a series of cryptic and infuriating errands that nevertheless provide him with vital clues to his own past. In The Unconsoled Ishiguro creates a work that is itself a virtuoso performance, strange, haunting, and resonant with humanity and wit.

"A work of great interest and originality.... Ishiguro has mapped out an aesthetic territory that is all his own...frankly fantastic [and] fiercer and funnier than before."--The New Yorker

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:54 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A surrealistic novel on a man who finds himself in a strange city, not knowing what he is doing there, but everyone seems to know him. What is more, he must be important because people ask him for favors. As he goes from encounter to encounter, the man discovers himself. By the author of The Remains of the Day.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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