Klara and the Sun
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Once in a great while, a book comes along that changes our view of the world. This magnificent novel from the Nobel laureate and author of Never Let Me Go is “an intriguing take on how artificial intelligence might play a role in our futures ... a poignant meditation on love and loneliness” (The Associated Press). • A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick!
Here is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The emotionally perceptive android at the heart of this captivating novel might just change the way you think about science fiction forever. Klara is an AF, or “Artificial Friend.” Purchased as a companion for a bright girl named Josie who has potentially deadly health problems, Klara grows to love her human friend—but to distrust Josie’s family. And it turns out there’s a good reason. Pulitzer Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day) has written a heartfelt, thought-provoking story that’s brilliant science fiction for people who don’t think they like science fiction. We were enthralled by the questions posed by Ishiguro’s near-future world, where technology hurts just as much as it helps. Ultimately, this story isn’t about gadgets. It’s about people—and the things they do out of both hope and fear. Klara may be a machine, but her story will renew your faith in humankind.
Nobel laureate Ishiguro takes readers to a vaguely futuristic, technologically advanced setting reminiscent of his Never Let Me Go for a surprising parable about love, humanity, and science. Klara is an Artificial Friend (AF), a humanlike robot designed to be a child's companion. She spends her days watching humans from her perch in the AF store, fascinated by their emotions and hungry to learn enough to help her future owner. Klara, who is solar-powered, reveres the sun for the "nourishment" and upholds "him" as a godlike figure. Klara is eventually bought by teenager Josie and continues to learn about humans through her interactions with Josie's family and childhood friend. When Josie becomes seriously ill, Klara pleads with the sun to make her well again and confronts the boundary between service and sacrifice. While the climax lends a touch of fantasy, Klara's relationship with the sun, which is hidden at times by smog, touches on the consequences of environmental destruction. As with Ishiguro's other works, the rich inner reflections of his protagonists offer big takeaways, and Klara's quiet but astute observations of human nature land with profound gravity ("There was something very special, but it wasn't inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her," Klara says). This dazzling genre-bending work is a delight.
Ishiguro is magic
This book starts somewhat slowly, but gets ever more engaging.
As the story becomes more established, Ishiguro creates moments that are utterly unique to his writing. Scenarios that he portrays with a kind of fidelity to reality that I’ve never seen elsewhere. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll say that as with his other books, he finds nuances in the relationship between emotions and behavior that are beyond uncanny.
Another marvel from this remarkable artist.
Poignant, sharp, timely - a near-classic
I was taken by this story, which was thought provoking and heart wrenching, and most of all the rigorously imaginative prose.
klara’s observations of human behavior, so naive yet so far seeing into the circumstances and motivation of the people she encounters, sparked profound reflection into my own worldview. The writing was sometimes astonishing, carving the subtlety of a multitude of human emotions into their simplest forms.
The mechanics of the plot itself were less important to me than then the perspective the story exposed, but I would understand a more equivocal or negative response to this book if the plot concerned you most.
After reading, I am left inspired to look outwards with more curiosity - and to ultimately understand more of the world around me, like Klara.
Low impact story line
Not much density in this rather quaint story. I was waiting for something substantial to happen but it never arrived. Not really Sci-fi. Pretty much just a contemporary story about a child and her caregiver.