Oct 27, 2009

Behold, a surreal cup of tea! Warning : Not to be consumed.

As of this moment, I have read every single novel written by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is like Graduation Day for me. Of course, I haven't read all of his works. Nocturnes remains. So do the three short stories. Nevertheless, it is a happy day.

It is a happy day, because I have finished reading The Unconsoled. I have raced through it with about as much understanding as its protagonist Ryder has about himself. My annoyance mounted with each page, each monologue, the long winded descriptions of each alley short-cut in the book. I kept telling myself "Dope trip or dream sequence. Dope trip or dream sequence. Wait till I get to the last, I will understand which one it is."

Towards the ending, I thought, "Maybe he is in a mental asylum. That would explain everything. The long journeys taken to cover the short distances and this delusional city where people expected art to provide solution to the everyday problems of life." Nah! That can't be it. That would be too simple. Dear Kazuo couldn't have led me on for 500 odd pages to come to this really simplistic and oft-repeated easy way out ending.

Towards the last two pages, it struck me that probably one of the characters that the protagonist interacted with often was a representation of his own childhood. Fine. But then that would mean that every character is a part of the protagonist and this entire novel was the protagonist's unbiased review of his own life.

Decided to take help. After reading the novel, read the Wiki entry on The Unconsoled. Cleverly they have not mentioned anything more than a 6 line plot synopsis that comes on the book jacket.
Turned to other reviews online. Everyone has come up with every possible idea. Compared it to Kafka's Trial, related it to Confucianism, come up with Greek philosophical parallels. Everything goes, however no one has come out and said " I do not like it."

I will do so here.

Dear Kazuo,
If you ever come across this, I just wish to say that this is by far your worst work. However, since you have come up with 2 stunning works after The Unconsoled, I am sure this phase of yours has passed and you keep churning out great stuff now. I am totally unqualified to review your book, as neither do I know about music, nor do I know about literature, which is why you will probably never stumble across this page. However, I love your work and was very disappointed in this particular one. Please make it up to me by coming up with some stunning work set in Latin America or somewhere unexpected. (Surprise me! I am tired of Japan, England and China settings.) Waiting for the next masterpiece.

Your ardent fan,


  1. I first, second and third...

  2. http://www.gotjapan.com/product.php?ASIN=0679735879

    Kindred soul there!

  3. @JD:
    Yeah, poor soul. Most reviews are very cautious. Everyone os pointing fingers and saying "According to some other people, this novel is boring, but I personally...". I hate that.
    You dont bother reading it, unless you want to read all his works or something.