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The Unconsoled Hardcover – 2 Aug 1995

3.6 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First edition (2 Aug. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057117387X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571173877
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The Unconsoled is an utterly original masterpiece by Kazuo Ishiguro, the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go and The Buried Giant. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 31 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Number 9...number 9...number 9...A surreal labyrinth of a novel, car journeys that take hours and then you return to where you began simply by walking through a door...strangers who you suddenly realise you have known for years...and no sleep, never the chance to sleep...This book will haunt your dreams and make you wander about with a vacant expression muttering under your breath and cause you distress and unease but if you're anything like me you won't be able to leave it alone and when you've finished you'll want to read it again. Like all of Ishiguro's work it contains incomparable insights into the complexities and sadness of human nature. The characters ramble on and on explaining in a pedantic way every fine detail of the subjects that prey on their minds day and night but it is endlessly fascinating and Ishiguro is such a kind writer, you feel nothing but tenderness towards this large cast of lonely and obsessed people.
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Format: Paperback
Remember those Max Escher drawings of staircases that somehow turn back on themselves, buildings where everything looks fine, but somehow the planes are all wrong? The Unconsoled lures you into a similar world, where the natural order of relationships and places is somehow "disturbed". As you read, you find yourself remembering your own dreams of journeys that never finish and relationships that end up strangely out of synch with reality.
A compelling book, Kafkaesque (a compliment!), or perhaps with shades of Mervyn Peake. Must have.
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By A Customer on 14 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
Oh, and the scene with the broom cupboard is one of the funnisest things I've read in years.
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Format: Paperback
This is a profoundly rewarding and moving book about the unreliability of memory, the circular nature of time, the fundamental lack of any certainty in any given existence. It also deals of course, with loss, perhaps Ishiguro's central thematic concern. An incredibly detailed realisation of one man's inner world, it is a riveting, bewildering, amusing and heartbreaking read. Yes, it is long. But never boring. Maybe you should be familiar with the author's preceding efforts before tackling this. But when you do tackle it, it's a bit like Seinfeld in the sense that all you do is walk around for years afterwards, greeting innumerable situations with the words: "It's just like the Unconsoled!"
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Format: Paperback
A strange, infuriating and unique book. I might read it again when I've calmed down. As the main character is side-tracked from his purpose by layer upon layer of distraction I found that I became more and more tense and irritable. Even thinking about it as I write this review is making my chest tighten. My first attempt at this fat novel failed, not because I didn't like the writing, but because I couldn't take the situation of the main character. It has the atmosphere of a convoluted and frustrating dream - vivid and difficult to pin down. It's not a restful read.
Ishiguro has written a novel that provoked a physical reaction in me. This alone is enough to mark this as a special book for me and one that I will never forget.
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By A Customer on 15 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
An epic, stumbling, vague, directionless ramble of an novel which illustrates better than ever Ishiguro's mastery of the frailty of human character. Confusing and disturbing it undeniably is; but ultimately it is very, very rewarding. Genius.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Unconsoled.
I found this very fluent account of the narrator’s struggle to become orientated in a nameless town in possibly Germany to be compulsive reading. It is partly about memory loss and it recalled to me Karinthy’s Metropole,where a professor of linguistics ends up in a bustling modern city in central Europe in which nobody speaks any of the languages he knows. In The Unconsoled Mr Ryder, Ishiguro’s narrator-hero, is met with extreme politeness by hotel staff, but frustratingly he fails to get exact clarification of his mission. He is scheduled to address an audience in a small town where Mr Brodsky, a reformed alcoholic pianist has returned to perform some classical studies. Everyone in the town knows of Mr Ryder’s reputation and initially at least he receives nothing but generous plaudits wherever he goes. The reader, however, begins to doubt his sanity, since he fails to arrive for vital consultations and is easily persuaded to take on tasks for others - such as hearing Stephan, his host’s son, practice. What is almost a sub-plot involves Ryder in trying to make sense of the broken relationship between Leo Brodsky and Miss Collins. Complications multiply when we learn that Ryder’s parents are arriving to hear their son’s performance - pianistic or simply as Brodsky’s front man. Ultimately there is some doubt as to whether the Ryders senior have arrived or indeed whether they even exist within the book’s time frame.

The Unconsoled is a challenging book that deliberately frustrates its reader’s expectations. Dozens of unanswered questions are raised, many remaining unsolved at the end. Readers who like a tight plot and a tidy conclusion are unlikely to finish the book.
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