A review of The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguru
Published January 4th, 1996, in The Minnesota Daily’s A&E Magazine
By Kazuo Ishiguru
The story concerns one Mr. Ryder, an internationally renowned pianist who arrives in an unnamed city for a performance about which he has no information. He’s too embarrassed to ask for a copy of his itinerary, so for more than 500 pages, the reader gets to follow him in his blind descent into the town’s inner machinations.
The style of this novel is virtuosity itself. Ishiguru employs astonishing literary tricks, and his tone is so well sustained that even at its most bizarre, the novel’s progress is seamlessly inevitable.
Although Ishiguru denies it (admitting that he’s never read the whole thing), this novel has a definite affinity to Franz Kafka’s The Castle. Don’t let that sway you either way, though, because The Unconsoled is a truly vital and original work. Its strange beauty left me reeling and extremely satisfied.