Unrealiable selves in an unreliable World : the multiple projections of the hero in Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Unconsoled"

Carlos Villar Flor


The Unconsoled (1995), Ishiguro's fourth novel, was received with some perplexity by critics who formerly praised the author's controlled "Jamesian" realism. However dissimilar this "Kafkaesque" novel may seem in comparison with the previous three, it can be regarded as a further step in the development of one of Ishiguro's major fictional interests: the way an unreliable first-person narrator introduces characters who might be understood as extensions or projections of himself. While Ishiguro's first three novels could be said to deploy unreliable narrators who try to revisit their past and overlook their mistakes by using self-deceiving rhetoric, a sort of oneiric unreliability constitutes the general framework of The Unconsoled. This article comments on the implications of such a fictional technique and analyses those characters that may work as projections of the narrator's persona, embodying his anxieties and traumas with special emphasis on those stemming from lack of communication and parental neglect.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.64

Copyright (c) 2000 Carlos Villar Flor

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300