Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet or computer – no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera, scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing ‘Send link’, you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message and data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
The Unconsoled Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
"A work of great interest and originality...Ishiguro has mapped out an aesthetic territory that is all his own."-- "New Yorker"
With this stunning new novel, cast in the form of a postmodern nightmare, Ishiguro tells a powerful story in which he once again exploits a narrator's utter lack of self-knowledge to create a devastating deadpan irony.-- "Publishers Weekly Starred Review" --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B002RI9Y50
- Publisher : Faber & Faber; New edition (8 January 2009)
- Language : English
- File size : 3382 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 546 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 51,960 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Review this product
Top reviews from Australia
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Top reviews from other countries
Some books are hard to read because the language is difficult or the plot is convoluted. This book has clear language and its episodes are easy to follow. However, the world of the book is strangely different from ours. Clint Eastwood and Yul Brynner star in 2001 A Space Odyssey; nail-bitingly drawn-out distractions seem to have taken no time at all; distant parts of the landscape connect to near parts; cringingly inept social behaviour has positive consequences.
Science fiction and post-modern literature deviate from reality in their own ways, but both generally preserve some aspects of narrative structure -- Gravity's Rainbow has a clear sense of place and time, and its logic follow understandable rules; Lord of the Rings is not about our world, but it is very much about some world. In contrast, The Unconsoled is closer to historical and geographical reality -- characters before around 1900 are all real, but far more disturbing in its logic, spatial and temporal dimensions.
Reading this book is a deeply disturbing experience. Digression nests within digression and the reader is expected to keep track of multiple layers of narrative, some of which simply disappear without trace. The narrative voice is generally first person (Ryder) but at many points you realise the narrator is describing something that Ryder himself could not possibly be witnessing. A sense of panic pervades the book -- there is so much to do and so little time while distractions follow distractions -- yet appointments are met. The flow of time is so awry that long car journeys away from the city result in no time elapse at all; nighttime sequences see-saw between early evening and the following morning and back again.
Characters in the book have a static quality, as if they represent different views in time of the same person. Memories of events in the book do not match the events themselves. Post-hoc justification of actions turns into memory.
The arts are massively important in the book. Artists, particularly musicians, can make or break society. On the surface, this appears as intellectual snobbery, but I don't think that is the point. This is a virtual world, created within a book, so of course it is the arts that support it.
When you read a book with a first-person narrator, you enter the book's world in a different state from the narrator who represents you. The narrator has previous experiences and memories, and recognises the other characters in the book, whereas the reader must pick these up as she reads. An unwritten convention for authors is that the book contains a world which is logically consistent; the narrator moves through and interacts with the world and the characters in it; as a side-effect of this narration, the reader learns more and more about the world until she is at one with the narrator, following his journey with his knowledge of the world and its characters.
This book breaks those conventions. At the start of the narrative, the narrator (Ryder) seems to know as little about his own history and relationships as you the reader. Memories mysteriously appear, the way they do for the reader of any book.
Many books have subplots and parenthetical action, but they maintain the fiction of a narrator who travels through the plotline with a clear point of view and timeline. The Unconsoled breaks this convention too. Ryder seems able to follow the action the way the reader does, even though his character is stuck in a car outside the building where the action is.
Most books have plots where good actions result in good consequences, and mistakes result in disasters. The Unconsoled breaks this convention too. Ryder misses appointments, staggers through the plot with no schedule, fails to hit his principle goal, yet none of this seems to matter in the end. In most books, decisions by the reader have no impact on the action, who can watch while the narrator's decisions have good or bad consequences. In The Unconsoled, decisions and delays by the narrator have no impact on the action.
The Unconsoled blurs the boundary between narrator and reader. The narrator interacts with his virtual world in the same way that the reader interacts with her world of the novel, learning about characters and relationships at the same time as him, while he can follow sub-plots and have privileged information in the same way as her.
So what is The Unconsoled about? Most importantly, it is about the novel and the roles of reader and narrator. By undermining these roles, Ishiguro forces us to reexamine them. Reading The Unconsoled can make you grow as a reader, no longer blind to the conventions that tie you to the book you are reading. Through the novel, Ryder is tormented with panic, things undone, unavoidable digressions, yet he ends the novel in a state of serenity, in a loop like the end of an LP. The same happens to the reader -- reading this book is hard work, but it can bring you to a state of deeper understanding.
Stylistically it's all wrong, with almsot beginners' faults such as a first person narrative that steps sideways into the minds of the people he meets, or describes their actions when he's not there. But as the scenes become more and more dreamlike it becomes clear that this is a strange Alice-in-Wonderland nightmare that Mr Ryder cannot easily escape from.
There's a lot going on in the novel, and it will probably benefit from more than one read. But I'm not quite ready to go down that particular rabbit hole again just yet. Great stuff!
📖: Mr Ryder has arrived in an unknown European city to perform in a concert he cannot remember agreeing to attend.
💭: You are living in Ryder's nightmarish world. Ishiguro blurs the boundaries between past and present, dreams and reality, and the characters' thoughts and experiences.
Ryder walks through one door and is suddenly somewhere miles away, another and he is back where he started. The characters instantly reveal their life stories without pausing for breath. On one occasion he is talked about as if he is not even there. Everyone is repeating themselves. Ryder goes along with what he is told because his memory is a blur. He is constantly pressured to carry out absurd errands and is too polite to decline, causing him to descend into a state of panic.
Self doubt, anxiety, pressure.
This is the STRANGEST book I have ever read. Is it all a dream, are the characters all versions of Ryder himself, is Ryder time travelling, are all the characters in a nursing/ mental health home suffering from dementia or schizophrenia? All of these things crossed my mind and I still don't know what this book was all about.
I was tempted to give up on this as there is no real plot and it is a fairly long book (over 500 pages). This is my second Ishiguro novel and I've now realised that he loves leaving everything open-ended and open to interpretation. This is a clever book which must have been very difficult to write and I applaud the author for that.