Sunday, March 06, 2005

Done with The Unconsoled

Haven't blogged for while again. Heck, blogging's not for TV journalists. It just isn't. I come to office in auto thinking of a host of things to blog on...but after reaching office, I'm lucky to even check my mail properly. being a Sunday, the heat's down. And there's time to fool around with.

Time, by the way, brings me to the book I just finished reading: The Unconsoled. Phew! It's some read. Honestly. It has to be one of the best as well as worst books I have ever read. Well, obviously the worst bit is not meant to be read as 'worst' at all...that was just go with 'best'. But it has to be the most exhausting and disturbing and, in a sense, irritating books I have ever read. I haven't checked any of the reviews for the book, so I can say whatever I want here with complete honesty.

I am, by and large, a punctual man. I do value time above most other things, am responsible about time, and touchy about the dynamics of time. The Unconsoled, primarily, is about a man's time that is constantly, constantly, unfailingly, tampered with. It's all about a man's mind - his body clock and his physiology - being beaten to pulp with a hammer.

It's about a man in a place with time appearing to be the most crucial aspect of existence, and at the same time, being discarded as the most unimportant thing in the world. It's about time being raised to a high pedestal - everyone knows they must value time, show time respect - and at the same time flushing it down with all the crap.

And then, it has to be as masterly a work of fiction as can be. It's brilliant in the way it pits a galaxy of human beings into a common, claustrophobic set-up...a galaxy of people with an inordinately large number of words in their minds...of far too many strings of thought that run along single, predictable lines. It places the outsider right in the middle of the set-up, not as a (dis) interested onlooker, but as the prime subject of the galaxy's interest (or is that incorrect and Ryder was just around to fuck with?). And that knocks the wind out of the chief protagonist, and the bleedin' reader.

And, before I forget, the obsession with inanities. Inane statements and thoughts and discussions and pieces of advice and questions that make up such a massive portion of our lives (or should it be 'existence'?).

I am not qualified enough to review literature - and certainly not Ishiguro - but I'll say this for The Unconsoled: No book has never made me put it down so many times. Not because I didn't like it, but simply because it hit me again and again in the solar plexus; so hard, so bloody hard, that I couldn't take it.

And strangely, I don't remember half of the non-prime characters anymore. Strange, because all of them had so, so much to say.

And at the end of the whole exercise, after I put the finished book away for a bit, it took me less than two seconds to appreciate The Unconsoled as easily one of the best books I have had the god fortune of reading.