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The Unconsoled

Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 19 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

By the Nobel Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

Ryder, a renowned pianist, arrives in a Central European city he cannot identify for a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give. But then as he traverses a landscape by turns eerie and comical - and always strangely malleable, as a dream might be - he comes steadily to realise he is facing the most crucial performance of his life.

Kazuo Ishiguro's eight books have won him worldwide renown and many honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize. His work has been translated into over 40 languages. The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go have each sold in excess of one million copies in Faber editions alone, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films. His most recent novel, The Buried Giant, was published in 2015, debuting at number one on the Sunday Times best-seller list.

©1995 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2017 Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

" The Unconsoled is a masterpiece...it is above all a book devoted to the human heart, and as such Ishiguro's greatest gift to us yet." ( The Times)
"A work of great interest and originality.... Ishiguro has mapped out an aesthetic territory that is all his own...frankly fantastic [and] fiercer and funnier than before." ( The New Yorker)
"He is an original and remarkable genius…. The Unconsoled is the most original and remarkable book he has so far produced." ( New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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superb

I read this
stunning novel many years ago and found it again recently. no wonder it has haunted me all these years. it is an absolute masterpiece of the unconscious mind and captures the half-formed vagaries of the dream state while being razor insightful. the ego sliding through a slippery world of meanings not quite caught, connections not quite made and the yearning for things largely unknown. it is a book of shadows and labrynths. beautiful and disturbing quite simply.

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Frustrating nonsensical and overly long

I've read this author's work before and loved it so I had high hopes for this one. Sadly I was dissapointed fairly quickly but perservered thinking it would eventually make sense. Instead the book beautifully described one frustrating situation after another. There was no logic to what was happening and it appeared the protagonist was either in a very long and tedious dream or was delusional. It is never made clear if either situation was the case. The ending was really unsatisfying for anyone who was looking for a sensible conclusion as payback for all the frustration of listening to the rest of the book. Maybe it was too litery for me. I plan on returning this book.

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  • Maria
  • Brisbane
  • 16-05-2018

Brilliant

I am very glad I decided to stick with it till the end. This book is brilliant, but I hesitate to recommend it to my friends, as it is so long and slow-paced. The story just goes around in circles just like the main character. Listening to this audio book is like a meditation. But you really have to pay attention throughout the whole story to understand what is actually going on.

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  • Anthony
  • 24-03-2018

Narcissism, ADD, Kafka, and regret intertwined

Recent to audible, this was written decades ago.

Beautifully written and impressively narrated, but frustrating as one gets sucked into a scenario in which the protagonist, Ryder, a famed pianist, is both victim and fool.

His narcissism leads him astray; his attention deficit disorder (not mentioned but certainly appears to be the case!) make it difficult for him to stay on task, and despite narrowing time frames and increasingly important decisions he is unable to perform ethically or effectively. Kafka seems omni-present, it is all somehow absurd and we never determine what exactly is going on, why, or who are the winners and losers and in whose interests they are operating. Ryder is not a likeable person and his return to the town of his youth to share his celebrity is clearly manipulated by local elites and others each wanting to a portion of his fame and time for often unclear but seemingly devious agendas.

As with much of Ishiguro's writing, the relationships are interesting and unfold in their complexity; and tales of regret and what might have been. weave their way across the pages.

A compelling read, frustratingly entertaining ... Somehow I still recommend it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Suzi Telford
  • 18-02-2018

Couldn’t finish

I got half way and had to stop. The plot is thin and too dream-like in its structure. It started to annoy me and as much as I enjoyed the performance I simply had no interest in continuing. I felt if I kept listening I’d be rewarded with no real feeling of satisfaction by the end and I just didn’t care enough about any of the characters to see how things turned out.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • foodjunkie
  • 10-03-2018

Surrealistic masterpiece

This is a wonderful novel in the tradition of the surrealists and many places it reads like a Luis Bunuel movie with false leads and plots.

Overall it is ridiculous but locally it is coherent and makes sense. It even has a great sense of drama and suspense as it build to what promises to be a climactic finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed every word and found myself laughing out loud often.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peponi
  • 06-03-2018

Disappointing

Terrifically well written, of course, but too boring and slow paced for me. Couldn’t even finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • PG Pilot
  • 27-08-2019

Move along, nothing good here.

This is the worst audio book I've had so far. There is no story, just a number of un related, meaningless events. In parts, I thought this was going to be a dream, but it seems it wasn't. Save yourself the time and get something else.

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  • Kagford
  • 09-08-2019

Dreamlike, frustrating and affecting

I thought this was excellent, but I understand people's difficulty with it. The dream logic is unexpected and unusual. The array of bizarre characters with their hangups and illogicality could be hard for someone expecting a cleaner narrative. But I was swept along, and absolutely loved it.

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  • W.Sh.
  • 26-07-2019

Perseverance pays off

This is not an easy book to get into, and I've had a couple of false starts, covering a couple of chapters before giving up, before I decided to "soldier on", probably not a sign of an easy reading. But after I got halfway through the book I found it hard to put it down. It turns out to be a very rewarding read.
Simon Vance has done a marvellous job by capturing the intricacies of Ishiguro's writing. Highly recommended.

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  • Marvellous Maud
  • 30-05-2019

Tedious and disoriented-the dream is a nightmare

Technically, the novel is as one would expect of this author-clever. However, it misses the mark and ends up being irritating and frustrating, lacking the structure and poise of a good story. Rather like a nightmare, the plot develops only to dissolve. Themes don’t evolve, but drift into insignificance. Extremely disappointing and a waste of the many hours spent listening to it, despite being well read. A pity.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Celia Baynau
  • 02-01-2019

What happen to number nine?

How does one go about describing this amazing book. Seemingly written in dream logic. Kafkaesque, poignant and very funny in parts (the porters dance in the Hungarian Cafe, an ironing board used as a crutch). I've read it twice before and then listened to this marvelous narration. Simon Vance catches all the nuances in the text and has a beautifully modulated voice, not a crushed cadences missed. Thoroughly recomended. It a masterpiece and utterly original.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-11-2018

A dream sequence.

Strangely gripping and I suspect easier to listen to than to read Narration excellent too.