Peach Picks: Four Poems and a Novel
Last Friday on Peach we featured a pair of beautifully stuttering, information choked poems by Faye Chevalier. “infinite_deserts” uses a clipped, robotic style to communicate distance and longing in an age where we find ourselves artificially intimate with a limitless sea of social media accounts. “sext_” employs the same style to reveal the ways in which actual physical intimacy can be just as alienating.
Yesterday, we featured two poems by Jesse Rice-Evans. One of them, “Sanctuary,” is a poem that follows after a particularly harrowing season six episode of Grey’s Anatomy, asking us to measure our own mortality against another’s. The juxtaposition, knowing that this poem is asking us to contrast our very real and fragile fears against a series of staged tragedies in a fictional television drama, also calls into question our relationship to fictional trauma, and the ways in which it can illuminate our own strengths and wounds: “Somewhere is safe, / despite everything / you stay clean and yanked / taut, blood throbbing through, / like it’s nothing.”
The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
Faber and Faber, 535 pages
Recent Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro is perhaps best known for his maudlin sci-fi morality novel Never Let Me Go and the Man Booker winning The Remains of the Day. However, his truly confounding and truly rewarding 1995 novel, The Unconsoled, remains my favorite, and is a book I return to every few years. The Unconsoled details the quietly doomed journey of a pianist named Ryder as he travels to an unnamed European city to deliver the most important concert of his life. Endless setbacks and increasingly aggressive lapses in reality prevent Ryder from not only his performance, but also any semblance of purpose or momentum in his life. The novel presents constant frustrating and disorienting lapses in the logic of time, memory, and space, most famously in an early passage in which a conversation conducted over the course of a single elevator ride stretches beyond fifty pages. The Unconsoled is, itself, an expression of the frustration inherent in the creative process. The book is a looping, unanswerable joke disguised as an existential question that sees the innate worth and absurdity in all artistic pursuits, as it barely holds back its sad laughter.
“Peach Picks” is a new column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.