The Unconsoled

The Unconsoled

First edition
Author Kazuo Ishiguro
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Faber and Faber
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 535 pp (paperback edition)
ISBN 0-571-17718-2 (paperback edition)

The Unconsoled is a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, first published in 1995 by Faber and Faber, and winner of the Cheltenham Prize that year.

Plot introduction

The novel takes place over a period of three days. It is about Ryder, a famous pianist who arrives in a central European city to perform a concert. He is entangled in a web of appointments and promises which he cannot seem to remember, struggling to fulfill his commitments before Thursday night's performance, frustrated with his inability to take control.


The Unconsoled was described as a "sprawling, almost indecipherable 500-page work"[1] that "left readers and reviewers baffled".[2] It received strong negative reviews with a few positive ones. Literary critic James Wood said that the novel had "invented its own category of badness". However, a 2006 poll of various literary critics voted the novel as the third "best British, Irish, or Commonwealth novel from 1980 to 2005",[3] tied with Anthony Burgess's Earthly Powers, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, Ian McEwan's Atonement, and Penelope Fitzgerald's The Blue Flower. John Carey, book critic for the Sunday Times, also placed the novel on his list of the 20th century's 50 most enjoyable books, later published as Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the Twentieth Century's Most Enjoyable Books.


  1. Sukhdev Sandhu (6 March 2005). "The hiding place". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  2. Nicholas Wroe (19 February 2005). "Living memories". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  3. Robert McCrum (8 October 2006). "What's the best novel in the past 25 years?". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2010.

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