Interruptus: Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled

my reading of Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire continues progressively, if slowly, but i dipped a small toe into Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled. twice, actually, goaded by some reviews that say The Unconsoled is more reminiscent or suggestive or something of expressionist films than anything else. or something.

the first time i dipped a toe (i.e., read the first couple or so pages), i was struck by how i couldn't shake the image of the characters as Asian, when the book is, in fact, set in some obscure Eastern (?) European city. for some reason, i couldn't frame my imagination properly, and all the dialogue was spoken with distinctly faux-Asian accents in my head. while that may have to do with the name of the author being jammed into my subconscious than anything else, it bothered me more than it probably should have, and i put the book down not expecting to be drawn to it again anytime soon.

this morning, i was admiring the cover of the Vintage International edition, absorbed in the cool Nosferatu/Caligari-ness of it, and thought to give my little toe another dip. (incidentally, i find the Faber and Faber edition prettier, with a subtler expressionist film edge to the cover, and a less artificial/modern/manufactured book-smell. there's a more elegant feel to the entire book, but it feels oddly flimsier, something i find typical of UK editions: pretty and seemingly delicate, whether or not they are as fragile as they seem.)

thankfully, all the dialogue was now spoken with distinctly faux-European accents in my head.

i now declare that i'll be getting to the book as soon as i can, i.e. after Voice, and probably after Lemony Snicket's The End.

right. Saturday. office. work. groan.


banzai cat said...

Have you tried Haruki Murakami's writing? His characters come off as distinctly non-Asian and it's only the evidence of a few Japanese items in his novels that remind me that his characters ARE Japanese.

Or maybe it's the translation? That's one thing I always worry about when reading non-English authors...

skinnyblackcladdink said...

yeah, i get that 'i'm not reading the real thing' feeling with translations. but, as i'm too damn lazy to actually *learn* another language, haha...