Favorite Books

Books for the weekend: UZB edition

The Unconsoled (1995), Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro - The Unconsoled © Faber and Faber Verlag
The fourth novel by Kazuo Ishiguro is deemed by many as both the most sophisticated book written by this author and the most recognizable one. The sophistication lies in the very texture of narration, heavy and viscous, as a continuing dream, and its recognizability consists in the emphasized referrals to the works by Frantz Kafka. Normally it is tiresome to listen to the descriptions of other people’s dreams, especially if they are described as stories which occurred only yesterday. On the contrary, Ishiguro does the opposite thing — he creates a dream and immerses his reader into it, making the reader to project himself or herself into the main character, pianist Ryder. He comes to a small town in Central Europe, in order to play the most important concert of his life. Ryder is known for his maniacal desire to be immaculate. However, he becomes involved into a continuous chain of problems of different people with whom he has queer and intricate relations. Reading this book is captivating, enticing the reader and scaring him by its twilight lack of perspective, which leads us through the sinuosity of the plot to the end of the story, after which the reader experiences an irresistible desire to return to the beginning of the book and to re-read it. Not immediately, though. Some time later.

A Knave of Diamonds (2000), Vladimir Orlov

Vladimir Orlov - der Karo-Bube © AST publishing house
One of the best books of modern Russian prose, A Knave of Diamonds, is a phantasmagoric story about love, death and life in the USSR at the end of the 1960s and about the mysterious forces governing our fate. The novel may be equally fairly named surrealistic, documentary, classical, post-modernistic, satirical and detective. It is in opposition, or maybe due to this internal variance, that the novel is so easy to read, practically at a single breath. Its characters are filled with stamina, its plots and intrigues are so enticing that it is impossible to leave the novel. The integrity of the place of action is achieved by the vividly described atmosphere of an office of the editorial board of a large Moscow newspaper, interspersed with phobias and the real hazards of the time in which the dramatic relations evolve between the characters. The writer’s mastery of narration is to be mentioned in the first turn, which fuses all the different aspects of the text and gives real pleasure to the reader. The novel is surprisingly modern in the absurd context of modern Russia.
© Alexey Ulko

Alexey Ulko

is a linguist, writer, and artist. At present, he works with such periodicals as Khudozhestvenny Zhurnal, ALUAN, and Kurak, as well as with the Hertfordshire Press, Kuperard Publishing periodicals and different online resources. In 2007–2014, he was a participant and a jury member of the Central Asian festivals of literature and experimental cinema. He is a member of the Association of Art Historians и European Society for Central Asian Studies. He lives and works in Samarkand and Tashkent.


Independent Academia
Alexey on Neweurasia.net





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