- Faber and Faber
- Publication Date:
- 03 March 2005
- Modern & Contemporary
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I became interested in this book and Kazuo Ishiguro because for three years I sat in my English teacher's classroom facing a poster advertising this book.When I finally got around to reading it I wasn't disappointed. The book is certainly an odd little read, given its surrealist elements, but somehow they all fit together and don't appear outlandish in the way that, say, Murakami's ideas sometimes do.The unraveling of events is a great ride and deciphering it all is particularly enjoyable; even if our main character isn't always the most likeable of persons. Despite the story's oddities I was very satisfied by the end and thought the novel an excellent read. I merely wish I had the time to re-read it and pick up more from the work.
When I first read, "Remains of the Day", I felt that I had just read the consummate English novel, the perfect pinnacle of a mountain with E.M. Forrester, among others, in its foundation. I felt The Unconsoled was also perfect, but in the way that it kept me maddeningly entwined in a dream that is insane. Insane in the way it provides a complete framework for the mind, yet no sense.I remain in awe of this book.
A horrible, haunting, work of genius, this book isn't right, isn't normal, and I'm sure it will stay with me forever.Let me try to explain. The book is halfway between a dream (or nightmare) and reality. It's the story of a composer arriving at in a town, having to give a performance that will rejuvinate the town, although he doesn't know where he is or when he agreed to it. That may make is sound like a mystery book of some sort, and I guess it is to some degree. The problem is that world is just not quite right. This is pretty hard to explain - it's a long, slow book. It's not quite surreal, but in that general ballpark, but it's pretty unique - you really have to read it to get the full picture. Some examples - doors connect to rooms even though they can't really be connected, relationships don't follow any logic, nightmare things happen (he exposes himself whilst giving a speech and nobody minds).I'm guessing I haven't really conveyed the essence of this book at all. Let me just say again that it is utterly unique, engaging, and yet left me feeling really horrible. Why is that a recommendation (it is intended as such)? Because sure the purpose of art is to make you feel - thats why, and surely it doesn't always have to be nice.
Lucid and addictive prose unfolds the wobbling, shimmering dream of a man who has lost control of his public life, and by extension his image and identity. Yes, this incredible novel is about the relationship of the individual to society, the nature and value of culture, and a mute attempt to remedy a pervasive but ineffable existential crisis; it's all of this, but what I'm surprised more people don't mention is that it's absolutely hilarious in places. Ishiguro nails the comedy of manners flawlessly, in a fashion both modern and timeless."An ox, an ox, an ox!"The first Ishiguro I've read. Close to perfection.
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