“Unfortunately, I have something very urgent just now…”

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Unconsoled was confusing and quite verbose.  It seemed that every character that had any interaction with Mr. Ryder knew him very well, infinitely better than he knew them, and had pages and pages to say to him.  Parts of this novel felt dizzying, especially in the beginning when Ryder was trying to piece together his itinerary (which he never did, nor asked for).  Ryder was constantly interrupted and never was able muster the ability to either ask for the schedule or to say no to people.  Everything was to only take “a moment or two” and would last for much longer, even hours.  Ryder even abandons poor Boris at a cafe while goings to “quickly” meet with a newspaper journalist and photographer.  In addition, Ryder was never able to commit to obligations fully as he was always being pulled to other obligations, his popular line being variations of my post title.  Most of the niceties directed at Ryder seem rehearsed, as articulated by the journalist/photographer duo.  Why Ryder decides it is an appropriate idea to leave Boris behind, no matter how long the shoot should take, is beyond me.  I tried to understand Ryder and his perspective throughout the novel and wasn’t able to, despite his valiant efforts to help Brodsky (what prompted him to conduct after his “minor wound” is beyond me)- efforts I thought were sincere.  I thought that perhaps Ryder had a form of amnesia but I couldn’t determine what it might be or even if I was correct.  From the beginning of the novel, I tried to personally connect to Ryder’s frustrations and seemingly impromptu obligations but I found it more and more difficult as the novel went on.  At first, I had thought that since I am a professional musician as well, I’d be able to understand the nuances embedded throughout.  Perhaps I didn’t read the novel correctly or with the appropriate lens but boy did I try.  I am very curious to learn what Damasio or others might say about Ryder’s mental states and experiences and how they would (or wouldn’t) be diagnosed.

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One Response to “Unfortunately, I have something very urgent just now…”

  1. Jason Tougaw says:

    Your post reminds of an article on The Unconsoled, by critic Bruce Robbins, entitled “Very Busy Just Now: Globalization and Harriedness in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.” Here’s a link: http://www.columbia.edu/~bwr2001/papers/very-busy.pdf

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