Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Song Rolled Up as a Cat

Kazuo Ishiguro is fifty-seven today. Here is what I wrote in 2009 about my first reading of The Unconsoled:

I left the novel I'd packed for London on the airplane by accident. It was my first overnight flight; blurry, I put it in the netted pocket in front of me, walked off the plane without it. That night, in a Trafalgar Square bookstore, I bought The Unconsoled, the only Ishiguro I hadn't read, which I found accidentally because someone who'd been looking at it lazily stuck it in the Ms where I was looking to see if the new Hilary Mantel had been released in England. Dislocation and coincidence/circumstance and the uncanny, major Ishiguro themes, uncannily the very themes I'd been thinking about. Serendipitously, the perfect novel for where my head's been lately.

Elkin and Barth and Harington and Ishiguro, hand me a page ripped from any of their books, I know who I'm reading, which probably doesn't explain why The Unconsoled's narrator Ryder reminded me constantly of Elkin's Bobbo Druff and Barth's Ebenezer Cooke. Or it does.

Lordy, that template. Click on the Ishiguro tag for excerpts and more. There was news of new Ishigura novel in March 2015, his first since 2005's Never Let Me Go, though I have not heard a word since. The last rereading cycle through his novels, fuck me, so I didn't reread The Unconsoled (I read the others in random order but always reread The Unconsoled last) because fuck me. If - and when - I get a copy, in whatever format from whatever vendor the minute I can, I want nothing less of me than sillyass rapture or stupidass devastation, though what I expect and fear is a mehful confirmation of fuck me.


Adam Zagajewski

Don't allow the lucid moment to dissolve
Let the radiant thought last in stillness
though the page is almost filled and the flame flickers
We haven't risen yet to the level of ourselves
Knowledge grows slowly like a wisdom tooth
The stature of a man is still notched
high up on a white door
From far off, the joyful voice of a trumpet
and of a song rolled up like a cat
What passes doesn't fall into a void
A stoker is still feeding coal into the fire
Don't allow the lucid moment to dissolve
On a hard dry substance
you have to engrave the truth


  1. Not not not unlike Maya Deren, that vid for Holding. I wonder who made it.

    1. I had to google Deren (and watched "Meshes of the Afternoon"). My knowledge of film is a gaping wound of suck, though I remember now why that suck is both a good and a bad thing re: not enough hours, only one brain.