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Although I liked the content of this book I feel we are left with many questions in the end. Where do the possibles come from? Will Kathy be a donor now? What happened to the children at Hailsham when it closed? These questions and more should have been answered in the book. Over all it was alright. A little hard to get into in the beginning but could have been worse.
Meditation on Our Selves and Our Science
Caution: This review reveals nothing that would spoil your relish at discovering this book.
At the intersection of science, society and identity, lives can only be seen as through a frosted window alternately revealing glimpses of light, hazy figures and, finally, a frightening opacity. Few of us, or our favorite writers, can see the dangers and the possibilities at this intersection. Kazuo Ishiguro can and shares his view with simplicity and grace.
Hailshum, a school for special children, reveals its nature and purpose slowly and always through the eyes of several of its don...uh...students. Cathy, Ruth, and Tommy are friends of a sort who, like all friends, play and fight and spar and love with each other in their years at Hailshum and later. Ishiguro shows them to us with all their charms, their weaknesses and their ugly parts. In this, he shows us their deep, confused, scarred humanness; he shows us the humanness they share with us.
Cathy, Ruth and Tommy live at that intersection, the intersection of science, society and identity, living with bumpy stoicism the lives science prepared them for. Society has decided it needs them, it seems, and they need each other to find meaning and love in their neglected circumstances. They, like we in ours, find some.
Ishiguro tells us their tragic and ordinary story with the gentleness that distinguishes his work. Let no one tell you otherwise; this book is masterful.
This book's greatest asset is the originality of its combination of the sacrifices required for scientific discovery and the lives of those making the sacrifices. My personal belief however is that the book focused too heavily on the well worn path of human relationship yet only scrapped the surface of the scientific theme. This in effect left numerous unanswered questions about the scientific topics raised and hence no closure for the reader.
In summary, a great concept that evolved well but didn't quite wrap up as well as could be expected.
This book was well-reviewed and I looked forward to reading it, springing for the hardcover. The elements of suspense and the intriguing interplay of characters which piqued my interest at the beginning never coalesce into anything of substance. Rather, the novel devolves into trite, post-adolescent banality. I finished the book hoping it would redeem itself in the denouement. Alas, I was disappointed. It's as if I ordered what appeared to be a beautiful dessert, but upon tasting it experienced only sawdust and cardboard.
I am still thinking about themes from this book since finishing it, and can honestly say that it had a profound impact on me. Although I found the first chapter slow, after this the rest of the book was a page turner. The characters were so well drawn that I felt that I knew them, the descriptions of the nuances of adolescent conversation were perfect. Without spoiling the plot for those yet to read the book, there was food for thought on many levels. How we regard difference and our implicit attitude to it. How although we think we are original how much are lives and episteme is shaped by those around us and the media. Most importantly this book really made me think about mortality and how each minute of each day should be used wisely and do what is meaningful to each of us as individuals, as we all live within an allotted span. Superb!
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I found it mesmerizing and couldn't put it down. It still haunts me even though I read it several months ago. The handling of this topic is unusual; part scientific, part science fiction. I highly recommend it! It is very thought provoking.
I loved this book. I agree it was a bit confusing in the beginning, more so than most books. But that's because of the topic & the way the author chose to present the major issue.
Confusing story, disjointed
A beautifully written story about one of the more compelling issues we will face as a species. The central theme slowly reveals itself page by page, with the reader knowing something isn't right, but not quite grasping what it is.
I am an avid reader of all types of books. This book sounded interesting. It took me 3 weeks to read this book! The story was fractured and hard to follow. I felt compelled to finish it, but would not recommend it.