NOBEL PRIZE WINNER • From the acclaimed, bestselling author of The Remains of the Day comes “a Gothic tour de force" (The New York Times) with an extraordinary twist—a moving, suspenseful, beautifully atmospheric modern classic.
As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.
Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.
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.
Sad and disturbing later 20th century alternative history
Lean almost simple 1st person narrative of a particular direction the UK could have pursued after WWII. I almost don’t want to call this Sci-fi. Story builds over several decades. Even the climax and denouement are not shocking or a great surprise. But ultimately it leaves me frustrated, disturbed and sad. A very curious response for me to Sci-fi.
May Make You Nauseous
Probably as good from a literary standpoint as everyone seems to think it is. If you are human, however, it may make you nauseous.
Ishiguro’s book about friendship
This is an intense novel about memory and friendship. The fact the kids are doomed to die early provides the context for the exploration. The details a reader might want to know about the how this evil system came to be, how the “donation” process actually works, why the “completion” takes so long, why didn’t some of them just kill the themselves etc. are not discussed. Consequently, all these intense friendships and endless discussions don’t ring entirely true. But this dystopian story is not about those other things and what Ishiguro is able to do is focus on friendships and memory in a brutal environment.