Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go - by Kazuo Ishiguro

From the cover: 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.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed-even comforted-by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham's nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about thier childhood-and their lives now.

My review (contains spoilers below) - At first, I did not like this book- it took awhile for me to get into the storyline, but once there, I wanted - needed - to know what happened to these three friends and how the story was going to end. It is told sort of in flashbacks by Kathy, so we really only get her point of view of what her friends were thinking or going through. The book definitely kept my attention and was different from any story that I had read before. Although the book is kind of a downer, I would recommend it. With all the advancements in medical technology, it is not hard to imagine a world such as that described. I would hope that humankind would not ever be able to think that they could create a child that would be without a soul though!

Spoiler alert -

The children themselves were clones who were being raised specifically for organ donation -which, after so many donations (usually 4) they would "complete" or die. As children, they did not seem to realize the seriousness of this, or that their lives would be any different or shorter than normal children. The school, Hailsham, that they lived at was hoping to show the world that these "clones" had souls just as normal humans had souls.

It sounded as if every donor first became a carer- sort of a traveling nurse who looked after the donors - once they left the school for their first assignment, book didn't discuss how or where they lived or by what means they lived - so I was lead to believe that they were "taken care of" throughout their lives because of the fact that they were clones. Somehow in the cloning process though, they were not able to have children - so it seemed that sex to them was purely recreational and not really attached to any feelings..

It isn't until the end of the book that I can see that Tommy and Kathy had real feelings for each other and they were finally realizing the frustration of their lives and the hopeless, non-existent future that they will never share. Never Let Me Go was a very apt title! 5/5 stars


Isabel said...

In the book club that I am a member of, this was one this year's selection.

I like sci-fi movies and tv shows, so as soon as I read the word "donations", I said to myself "clones". Plus the fact that the poor children never left school to go back home on vacation.

In the Spring 2008 of the Paris Review (your library might have a copy), Ishiguro thinks that this novel is a happy one. I don't think so.

Beth F said...

I've been curious about this one. I skipped your spoiler section (thanks for marking it). I think I'll keep it on my list, but I'm not sure I'll turn to very soon.

Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading this too, for the Countdown Challenge, and I thought there were so many questions left unanswered.

WorkingWords100 said Ishiguro thinks this book is happy, but I don't think so either.


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