Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
First published by Faber & Faber in 2005 (this edition by Faber & Faber in 2006)

Description (from Goodreads)

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. 
Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day.

My thoughts
When I bought this book, I had never heard of Kazuo Ishiguro. It just happened that one day, when I went to my local bookshop, they had just brought some new books in and this one was one of them. I read the description on the back cover, decided to buy it and when I got home put it away on my bookshelf. It stayed up there for quite some time (except for that one time when I decided to give it a try, opened the book up, saw the tiny font and decided to leave it) and the main reason I decided to finally read it was because my brother read it while we were on holiday in England and actually enjoyed it very much (and read it much faster than he thought he would).

Never Let Me Go tells the story of three people whose lives are closely interconnected: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. As children, all three were students at an exclusive boarding school called Hailsham, a place of certain notoriety and mysterious rules, where every student is encouraged to be creative and is constantly reminded of how special he/she is. Told from Kathy's viewpoint, we get to experience everyone - and especially Ruth and Tommy - through her own eyes. All the story is a narration, with Kathy telling her story in chronological order - starting with their being students at Hailsham and ending with her being where she is at the moment.

The whole world described in this book is rather surreal. And what makes it even more surreal is the way in which it is described by Kathy. Her tone - as well as that can be inferred from the story - is just normal; as if she's just recounting something acceptable and non-condemnable. The story doesn't start out as very engaging. It's just a narration of sorts, referring to the three characters' childhood years. And then, you start to notice that word popping up, too often for it to be insignificant. "Donor". You start to wonder if what you are thinking could possible be the case and if so, then what kind of a sick book is this. And you read on and on, wanting to make sure that you have understood correctly.

Never in the book is exactly what happens and what everything means mentioned in a straightforward way. The author kind-of beats around the bush and lets your mind do the talking and the figuring out, which was one of the things I loved the most about this book. Another thing I loved were the characters. Even though I wasn't a big fan of Ruth and the way she behaved towards everyone else (and especially Kathy), all characters were excellently developed and with great depth.

All in all, if you have not read Never Let Me Go, I urge you to do so. Even if it looks like too much of a heavy read, I assure you it's not. And I don't think you will regret giving it a try.

Rating: 8/10

Kazuo Ishiguro is a British novelist. He was actually born in Japan, but his family moved to the UK when he was rather young. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the Univesity of East Anglia. In 1989, he received the Man Booker prize for his book The Remains of the Day.

You can find out more about Kazuo Ishiguro and his books from his Goodreads page.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, Dystopia Challenge

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to add this one to my list for sure. I'm curious. But I like books that make the reader figure things out for themselves (as long as it isn't confusing).


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