the unconsoled is only the second book i’ve read by kazuo ishiguro. the first of his that i read, remains of the day, still stands as one of my top ten books of all time. i wish i could say the same about this effort.
while stylistically flawless with pitch-perfect prose, the story left me uninspired. my first and foremost complaint was length – did the novel have to be so long? i felt like things hardly changed after the first 100 pages, and yet i had to slog through 400 more. i kept expecting some light to pull me out of the darkness, but it never came.
i won’t bother with a synopsis. you can find it on amazon.
the thing that i still wonder is, what was ishiguro’s point? why did he write this novel? to illustrate the endless self-absorption of people? to illustrate how our best efforts at self-effacing politeness are ultimately selfish and destructive? each of the characters of this story toil through life with only their own interests at heart. they seem soulless and charmless, with few redemptive qualities.
i just don’t know. i barely finished the book, and was so relieved when i did. i will read him again, but it’s going to be hard to do it without severe skepticism.
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