One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
About the author
Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of six novels, A Pale View of Hills (1982, Winifred Holtby Prize), An Artist of the Floating World (1986, Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Primio Scanno, shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Remains of the Day (1989, winner of the Booker Prize), The Unconsoled (1995, winner of the Cheltenham Prize), When We Were Orphans (2000, shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go (2005, shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize), and a book of stories, Nocturnes (2009). He received an OBE for Services to Literature in 1995, and the French decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998.
This has to be one of the saddest books I’ve read for ages, not just because of the the novel’s main thread but also when I think about the book’s world in a wider context. Things that come to mind are loss of humanity and dehumanisation. Although the wider world is left more to the imagination, there is the occasional mention that gives its readers the tiniest snippets of what’s going on globally. Everything feels insular and you have to search for the clues and piece together what’s happening.
The language and voice of main character, Kathy is really easy to follow. I got a full sense of her character as she narrated in her way, based on her own upbringing and probably, conditioning. Her strong sense of identity is felt throughout as she nostalgically talks about Halisham and best friends, Ruth and Tommy.
One of the saddest parts is the level of passiveness, and acceptance of mortality, throughout. Told in three parts, the novel bounces around in time and is written as a stream of thought as Kathy tells her story.
Seriously, if the world ever comes to this, I don’t want to be a part of it. It’s sad, tragic and harsh. Even the kindest of intentions from some of the characters felt like a poor show. This book is by no means scary in tone, it’s a gentle read, but it’s also horrific and thought provoking and I’ll add tearjerker to the list. I’d definitely recommend this book and it would be great for bookclub discussions. There’s so much else I could talk about but spoilers would be a must and I’d need a lot more time to collate what I’d want to say. It’s a must read!
Thanks for reading!
Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.
Never Let Me go by Kazuo Ishiguro- review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2020/11/15/never-let-me-go-by-kazuo-ishiguro-review/
Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2020/11/13/deadly-cry-by-angela-marsons-review/
Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.