Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Links for the Next Meeting - The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro

As with New York Trilogy, Wikipedia is pretty sparce, especially considering the book is so long!

Here are some reading notes - including:

"From the moment of his arrival, Ryder discovers that other people, many of them perfect strangers, know a great deal about him. What might account for these characters’ familiarity with Ryder’s affairs? Is the knowledge these characters possess about Ryder actually trustworthy?"

A 5 star review on Amazon

"This brilliant masterpiece is an utterly unique novel - unlike anything I have read among books written in the past fifty years. The story - of a concert pianist arriving in Central Europe only to find himself constantly walking into various unresolved emotional aspects of his life - brings us into contact with great seriousness and sadness, wonderful farce and is unremittingly strange and bizarre. Ishiguro writes brilliantly, and conveys the alienation and dissociation from the world brilliantly in his prose and his unique dialogue."

& a one star review

"Having greatly enjoyed his 'The Remains of the Day', I have to report that 'The Unconsoled' proved a bitter disappointment. I have read a number of favourable reviews and they are all, with respect, utter twaddle. 'The Unconsoled' invites the reader to follow the narrator (Ryder - apparently a famous concert pianist) on an ultimately pointless and curiously nightmarish - or perhaps simply dipsomanic? - visit to an obscure city in central Europe. Ryder's visit is punctuated (and ultimately thwarted) by a succession of long-winded and bizarre interruptions by unsatisfactory characters; his actions are played out against a backdrop of irrelevant recollections from his unhappy childhood. Events unfold in a way that is random and dreamlike - he stumbles between embarrassing encounters like an old maudlin bore in the grip of extreme drunkenness. The reader's attention wonders - what is the point of it all? Reading on, one anticipates some dramatic ending that will make sense of it all - but there is no such satisfaction. The denouement, such as it is, consists of Ryder's concert performance being abandoned, followed by an emotionally detached parting from his shadowy wife and son."

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