Bookworm Wednesday: The Unconsoled
About? the story of a musician coming to an undefined town for a recital and suddenly finding himself in some strange Kafka-esque situation where time and space are of no importance
the big problem with writing about novels, is that the books you’ve really started to love over the years, are the books that had time to sink in. The memories however can be distorted, and sometimes you’ll probably write stuff that others will call nonsense.
I’ve read The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro a year or 2 ago, and remembered it to be stuck inside of me for a couple of months. It is one of those books that you’ll always remember, even if the memories start to get blurry. Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of the Remains of the Days, but The Unconsoled is one of his more experimental novels, a thing some critics didn’t like.
In the novel, a concert pianist arrives in some Eastern Europe town to give a concert next week. But as a reader you soon find out that things aren’t that straight forward. Characters changes roles all the time. Persons he is not supposed to know (it’s his first visit to this town) suddenly come to ask him for help as if he’s an old friend or come to blame him for leaving them alone. It’s never clear in which way the characters relate to each other. There is this connection of strangers at first sight, but it gradually shifts to a relationship between people thta seem to have known each other really close and feel hurt by it.
Not only characters are portrayed in this bizar way, also time and place have a strange way of appearance. Alleys that take just 1 minute to walk through, suddenly take him on a 2 hour walk, and sometimes it gets dark in the middle of the day (in my memories , it’s like that..i’m not really sure whether that that’s the case in the book)..
To make sure you don’t read the book for the wrong reasons: there is no explanation given for these shifts. Everything just happens, and they keep happening, even aftre the book is over. The beautiful part of it is that it makes you think about how memories work, and about the way human relationships work.
It’s the best book Kafka has never written. go read it.
PS: before you think i only read Asian literature: Ishiguro is from Great Britain.