Inaudible Sons: Music and Diaspora in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled
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Utilising insights from masculinity studies, Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy and Stephen Benson’s notion of literary music, this article seeks to understand the interrelatedness of gender, diaspora and a wide range of auditory phenomena in Ishiguro’s 1995 novel. The larger context of the analysis is the type of post-colonial fiction where immigrant males experience estrangement from the feminine and separation from the homeland in an analogous manner. Because The Unconsoled is the story of a globally significant, yet emotionally troubled male pianist, the gendered dimensions of displacement are supplemented by a strong narrative interest in auditory relations. Recognising that conversation and music in the novel serve as simultaneous causes of, as well as resolutions to, sexual-psychological and geographical-emotional isolation, the essay’s objective is to explore the relevance of the auditory for Ishiguro’s preoccupation with exile and cultural discontinuity. As part of this project, the article pursues the implications of the narrative evocation of the UK, Japan and Central-Europe in the context of the novelist’s autobiographical statements.