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Publisher's Summary

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day, here is a novel that is at once a gripping psychological mystery, a wicked satire of the cult of art, and a poignant character study of a man whose public life has accelerated beyond his control.

The setting is a nameless Central European city where Ryder, a renowned pianist, has come to give the most important performance of his life. Instead, he finds himself diverted on a series of cryptic and infuriating errands that nevertheless provide him with vital clues to his own past.

In The Unconsoled Ishiguro creates a work that is itself a virtuoso performance, strange, haunting, and resonant with humanity and wit.

©1995 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"With this stunning new novel, cast in the form of a postmodern nightmare, Ishiguro tells a powerful story in which he once again exploits a narrator's utter lack of self-knowledge to create a devastating deadpan irony." ( Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A masterpiece of modern-day Alice in Wonderland

Would you listen to The Unconsoled again? Why?

Yes, to decide if the book took place anywhere outside of Mr. Ryder's stressful mind. The book is about the three-day adventures of a famous pianist, Mr Ryder. Or is it actually about the author, Mr. Kazuo Ishiguro, the famous Writer, while during, or after his book tour? Did he lay awake imagining, really have the experiences, or was it all a nightmare?

What other book might you compare The Unconsoled to and why?

Alice and Wonderland. Alice, meet Mr. Ryder, not in Wonderland but in Stress-land. I desperately wanted to jump into the book, The Unconsoled, and immediately rescue Mr. Ryder, from himself. The adventures of the famous pianist, Mr Ryder, are similar to the distracted adventures Alice encounters in her Wonderland.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. Simon Vance is the gold standard of narrators. Each and every one of his books are exceptional. The Unconsoled rates among on of his best performances. His effortless and smooth performance was as addictive, complex and diverse as the characters themselves.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, even though at times it was very uncomfortable, I really wanted the characters to show love towards each other. Of course, I also wanted Mr. Ryder to learn the gentle art of saying no.

Any additional comments?

The Unconsoled is a book about stress, stressful to read, but with absolute pleasure. Mr. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors and has created a masterfully written classic that should go down in history. Simon Vance nails the narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very satisfied with this book!!

I randomly picked this book up at a sale in the past and read it. Although a little confusing at times I really enjoyed it and it ranks up in my top 5 books. Seeing that they had it on Audible I immediately got it since I was thinking about reading it again. The narrator was great giving different voices to each character and I was very happy when I finished it. I'm sure I will listen to it again in the near future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Torturous trip to nowhere

This book has been compared to an Escher print, and I couldn't agree more. People and places and events morph without logic, twisting in on themselves in nonsensical ways. The story seems cold and pointless, with every scene a long monologue by one character or another, all of whom seem to be in their own separate, mostly disconnected tracks, wearing down those tracks into deep ruts of stories where phrases repeat over and over. Maybe the characters are supposed to be archetypes or metaphors; they're mostly wooden and one-dimensional. And Ryder, the narrator, is insufferable.

I stayed with this loooong book (and boy did it feel long) until the bitter end, hoping for something interesting or revealing to happen, and though plot points resolved, there was nothing satisfying in those resolutions. It was a stressful, exhausting, and unenjoyable read from beginning to end. Getting my credit back on this one.