Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Unconsoled

The UnconsoledThe Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Why, you ask, did I give three stars (meaning "I liked it") to a book I DNF? Because I see what Ishiguro is doing here, and he does it masterfully. Reading The Unconsoled is like reliving some sort of dream, with all the unexplainable rifts in memory and sudden recollections, the impossible-in-real-life shortcuts, and the full knowledge of the context of a situation even though that situation is unfolding in-media-res. But I can only take so much of this. I quite like vagaries in my fiction (I'm a huge fan of Robert Aickman, for example. But there comes a point where I need to be able to at least infer a point, and 39% of the way through, I feel like I am taking one step forward and two steps back and forcibly so. It's one thing to let me noodle about an open ending, it's quite another to feel like I'm being yo-yoed by the author and he's not letting me come to my own conclusions. Frustrating, in a word. And yet, Ishiguro's prose is such a gentle, effortless thing. I fully admire what he's done here, but I'm going to admire this one from afar, as I'm a little tired of being led along. It's time to turn away, be grateful for the experience, and move on to something more substantial.

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