BookBrowse Reviews Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Never Let Me Go

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro X
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 304 pages

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'A Luminous Offering'. Novel

From the book jacket: As a child, Kathy–now thirty-one years old–lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

Comment: I was a little disappointed with Never Let Me Go - not because of the writing, which is as elegant as usual, but that Ishiguro raises many questions but answers few.  Never Let Me Go is set in an alternative England in the 1990s with much of the action taking place as the narrator looks back on her childhood 20 years before.  In this alternate England clones are bred for spare parts, but the people we meet don't seem to harbor any real anger for the system, and appear to, broadly speaking, accept their fate, and there is no indication that public opinion is anything other than totally accepting. 

Having said that, it's not Ishiguro's style to labor a point.  Instead he slowly lets us into his characters' lives so we can see them as fully human, and by not letting us even glimpse the lives and minds of those ultimately in charge he heightens the ultimate inhumanity of their actions.

This review was originally published in April 2005, and has been updated for the March 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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