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.
'A feat of imaginative sympathy.' New York Times
What readers are saying:
'A book I will return to again and again, and one that keeps me thinking even after finishing it. 5/5 stars'
'I loved it, every single word of it.'
'It took me wholly by surprise.'
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Blending dystopian nightmare and humanist coming-of-age tale, Never Let Me Go sunk its claws into us. Set in a sinister English boarding school where teachers are referred to as “guardians”, the story follows protagonist Kathy as she navigates familiar teenage relationships and love triangles. We loved the novel’s nostalgic prose, and the disturbing questions it raises about how willingly people accept their fate. Like his Booker Prize-winning novel, The Remains of the Day, this Kazuo Ishiguro novel also inspired a hit film.
Like Ishiguro's previous works (The Remains of the Day; When We Were Orphans), his sixth novel is so exquisitely observed that even the most workaday objects and interactions are infused with a luminous, humming otherworldliness. The dystopian story it tells, meanwhile, gives it a different kind of electric charge. Set in late 1990s England, in a parallel universe in which humans are cloned and raised expressly to "donate" their healthy organs and thus eradicate disease from the normal population, this is an epic ethical horror story, told in devastatingly poignant miniature. By age 31, narrator (and clone) Kathy H has spent nearly 12 years as a "carer" to dozens of "donors." Knowing that her number is sure to come up soon, she recounts in excruciating detail the fraught, minute dramas of her happily sheltered childhood and adolescence at Hailsham, an idyllic, isolated school/orphanage where clone-students are encouraged to make art and feel special. Protected (as is the reader, at first) from the full truth about their eventual purpose in the larger world, "we were always just too young to understand properly the latest piece of information. But of course we'd take it in at some level, so that before long all this stuff was there in our heads without us ever having examined it properly." This tension of knowing-without-knowing permeates all of the students' tense, sweetly innocent interactions, especially Kath's touchingly stilted love triangle with two Hailsham classmates, manipulative Ruth and kind-hearted Tommy. In savoring the subtle shades of atmosphere and innuendo in these three small, tightly bound lives, Ishiguro spins a stinging cautionary tale of science outpacing ethics.