‘Never Let Me Go’

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Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
ISBN: 978-0-571-25809-3
Published: 2005 (this edition 2006)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction

Once again, I find myself reading a book I’ve heard a lot about. Kazuo Ishiguru’s ‘Never Let Me Go’ tells the story of a thirty one year old woman reminiscing about her time in a seemingly idyllic, but actually darkly skewed, British boarding school. With regards to literary merit this really is an excellent and well-written novel, yet I didn’t really feel moved by it or invested in it, probably because neither the characters nor the story felt particularly real.

Despite my issues with the plot of this novel, the idea of a seemingly perfect life masking a dark twist (which I’ll try not to spoil) did appeal to me. I’d urge readers to stick with the book during the first few chapters, even though they read like the literary equivalent of taking some kind of hallucinogenic, as all will be explained later in the book. One continuous issue I had with the book, however, was that I felt its narrative didn’t really flow. Instead, I felt it read like a series of individual tangents and rambles, and rather pretentious rambles at that. This probably explains why the book feels more like a narrative or descriptive piece than a story and simply ambles along at quite a slow pace. The characters were another issue I harboured with this book , as I found I felt totally neutral towards Tommy and Kathy and actively disliked Ruth. As a whole, I didn’t really care what happened to characters.

To revert back to the book’s good points, I must concede that ‘Never Let Me Go’ is a book that succeeds in making its readers ask themselves certain thought-provoking questions. For example, I found myself wondering whether certain types of science are ever ethical, even if they could save lives, and hoping that the science discussed in this book will never be used in real-life. I found myself equally unnerved and intrigued by the concept of the novel. I  liked the idea of Havisham School as a whole, and the way it masked the true destiny of its pupils. The book later discusses some topics that are very relevant in a society where we frequently ask ourselves whether something is morally right just because it is scientifically possible. And, on a lighter note, I really liked the back story behind its title. This is a book that is beautifully written but, in my opinion, isn’t destined to become a particular classic or favourite.

Rating: **** (4/5)

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