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The Unconsoled (1995)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,606813,598 (3.57)219
From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day, here is a novel that 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.… (more)
  1. 32
    The Castle by Franz Kafka (chrisharpe)
  2. 00
    2666 by Roberto Bolaño (Dystopos)
  3. 00
    The Thief of Time by John Boyne (Booksloth)
  4. 00
    Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz (slickdpdx)
    slickdpdx: Ishiguro's The Unconsoled may be the pinnacle of this peculiar genre.
  5. 00
    In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster (Vonini)
    Vonini: Same surreal feeling
  6. 12
    An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booksloth)
  7. 01
    The Feverhead by Wolfgang Bauer (slickdpdx)
    slickdpdx: Ishiguro's The Unconsoled may be the pinnacle of this peculiar genre.
  8. 01
    The Keep by Jennifer Egan (sturlington)
    sturlington: Surreal stories in unnamed Central European settings.
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» See also 219 mentions

English (72)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
An ethereal novel. ( )
  brakketh | Feb 14, 2024 |
Too long, too slow, not the Remains of the Day. ( )
  maryelisa | Jan 16, 2024 |
A neat experimental idea and concept that really does memic real life satiracly. However as an audiobook I was ready for it to be over. Very different from his later works ( )
  hellokirsti | Jan 3, 2024 |
I find modernist fiction difficult, so I can’t honestly say I liked or enjoyed it, particularly; I do, though, recognize it as a masterpiece.
  Mark_Feltskog | Dec 23, 2023 |
Here is what I wrote in 2011 about this read: "Oh my, that was a challenge. 500 pages, three days, little sleep for pianist Mr. Ryder, and left with the impression on a dream. Three variations on the theme of a talented musican at different life stages. Variations on a theme of broken relationships and estrangement: between parents and children, between lovers. Most memorable scene: Ryder, Sophie, and Boris finally at home together to enjoy a meal, yet can barely communicate with each other; Mr. Ryder distains the food Sophie has prepared and yet at the end of the novel is enamored of the relation-less lovely breakfast banquet following the morning of the big performance(s). Hmmm, how long will the mind ponder this one?? ( )
  MGADMJK | Aug 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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)
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kazuo Ishiguroprimary authorall editionscalculated
Case, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lorenz, IsabellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Lorna and Naomi
First words
The taxi driver seemed embarrassed to find there was no one - not even a clerk behind the reception desk - waiting to welcome me.
Quotations
‘To be perfectly fair, it’s not their fault. The modern forms, they’re so complex now. Kazan, Mullery, Yoshimoto. Even for a trained musician such as myself, it’s hard now, very hard. The likes of von Winterstein, the Countess, what chance do they have? They’re completely out of their depth. To them it’s just crashing noise, a whirl of strange rhythms. Perhaps they’ve convinced themselves over the years they can hear something there, certain emotions, meanings. But the truth is, they’ve found nothing at all. They’re out of their depth, they’ll never understand how modern music works. Once it was simply Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky. Even the man in the street could make a reasoned guess about that sort of music. But the modern forms! How can people like this, untrained, provincial people, how can they ever understand such things, however great a sense of duty they feel towards the community? It’s hopeless,
‘My own view is that Kazan never benefits from formalised restraints. Neither from the circular dynamic, nor even a doublebar structure. There are simply too many layers, too many emotions, especially in the later works.’
One should not, in any case, attempt to make a virtue out of one’s limitations.’
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day, here is a novel that 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.

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Haiku summary
What is happening?
They answered they did not know.
Ishiguro laughs.
(auldhouse)

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