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"The Unconsoled," by Kazuo Ishiguro. New York:...


"The Unconsoled," by Kazuo Ishiguro. New York: Knopf. 535 pages. $25

This novel is avant-absurd. Its hallucinated, mildly paranoid state of mind tempts one to compare it with Beckett or Kafka, but its true fathers are Lewis Carroll and Thomas Berger, particularly in the odd mix of humor and frustration.

The novel has no plot. It is instead a series of misadventures, connected by an exquisite sense of disconnection. Almost everybody with whom the protagonist must deal is unhappy or perturbed. A regular cast swoops in and out, rattling his chain of thought. In the surreal environment of "The Unconsoled," choices lose little of their urgency or poignance, which is remarkable. Lifted up out of sensible context, what people do still matters.

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