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7 - The Unconsoled of The Unconsoled

Ishiguro and Modernism

from Part II - Literature, Music, and Film

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2023

Andrew Bennett
Affiliation:
University of Bristol
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Summary

This chapter considers the formal and thematic legacy of Dostoevsky, Proust, Kafka, and Beckett on Kazuo Ishiguro’s late-modernist work. Situating Ishiguro’s lengthiest, most digressive, most formally challenging and funniest novel within the European modernist tradition, the chapter analyses its marked formal experimentation in the light of its idiosyncratic and often highly disturbing blend of humour and mishap, of comedy and adversity. The chapter proposes that The Unconsoled can be considered not only Ishiguro’s but also one of late-modernism’s great comic novels. As such, Ishiguro’s novel may be said successfully to resist the major consolation of meaning-making, parting company with narrative as a calmative and leaving behind the affirmations of consolation and solace.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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