East Bay Book Club Message Board › Meeting Recap: October 2013 Contemporary Book Discussion (The Unconsoled by
Union City, CA
This meeting had less of a turnout than expected. Out of 18 people who RSVPed Yes on the meeting day, only half showed up. One reason for not coming to the meeting was that the book was a challenge to finish, let alone read. This was one of the big things that was discussed at the meeting, among a few other topics. Here's a sample...
On Ryder's amnesia:
- Is it really amnesia, or is it just a dream-like setting?
- In a way, it's part of Ryder's loss of control.
- When reading this book, you have to let things flow.
- Time and space are so fluid here, so the author can tell his story freely.
- The author forces you to be in the subconscious.
Why is there silence between Gustav and his daughter Sophie?
- Recall that Sophie's hamster died when she was young, and that was a big part of the silence that ensued.
- It could be a cultural thing (given English and Japanese customs).
A funny comment about the book's title: Everyone in the book is unconsoled. So are those who read this book.
Ishiguro and other similar authors:
- A better example of a dream-like story that is shorter than this book: Kafka's Metamorphosis
- Haruki Murakami also writes surreal dream-like stories. (Recall that the East Bay Book Club read Murakami's Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World.)
This book is not a regular novel. This is just something to experience. (Maybe this is why 2001: A Space Odyssey is mentioned in the book. The movie is an experience rather than a narrative.)
Changes that take place over the course of the book:
- Ryder gets more emotional.
- Ryder doesn't know anyone at first, but later he does.
If you really want to get a sense of what the book is about, check out this link where various users share their thoughts: http://www.goodreads....
So despite the criticisms, most people like the book or are at least giving it another chance so that they can finish it. Overall, another fun meeting, even if the book didn't thrill everyone. :-)