Friday, 4 November 2011

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a touching novel which is like a dystopia you’ve never read before. It is a fictional autobiography of the important moments of 31 year old Kathy, a woman who was ‘cloned’ merely to be used to harvest for organs for the normal people in their world.

The first thing that hit me when reading this book is the voice. Kathy is amusing and insightful and we get a real idea about her personality without the slightest bit of effort on our part. And the voice even helps us distinguish between what stages of her life Kathy in her narrative. Though the narrator is the same, looking at her childhood, we get a feeling that it's an actual memory- that it has the immature, curious qualities of a child. The Young Adult section seems like a student- a mix of confidence and uncertainty. And then full blown adult/carer when we recognise a weariness, but determination in Kathy punctuated with nostalgia. It makes the reading just that much better.

Other characters tend to be just as well done and entertaining (i.e. Tommy’s Tantrums) but I think they were a bit flat at times. I can’t remember why I wrote this down but I think it had something to do with predictability. I had a small problem that the book seemed to repeat itself: the same arguments about the same things throughout the book. On a smaller scale, one statement was repeated thrice needlessly in the same paragraph.

Kathy and Ruth’s relationship kind of confused me as well. In books where two girls or women have a relationship like this, it usually because (for me) one is a tad shy and therefore having that one, popular friend makes things easy. Yet, it was the same sort of relationship without that cause. Later on in the book, I guess it was trying to hold onto Hailsham, but early on it didn’t make sense. Kathy recognised all the idiocy but still went on? Mindboggling stuff.

Romance in this book was never just right. My opinion was that it always felt a bit rushed; like “Hey! Let’s be in love!” “Okie dokie!”. Not that bad, but it gives the right impression of ridiculous. The reason I guessed for this was the whole guardian/dependency thing. They need some sort of rock to ask questions and to comfort them so, by rushing their romances, they managed to maintain that. It’s a bit dubious, I know. Looking back, it was also kind of sweet and innocent, so maybe that showed how they never really grew up.

The ending was lacking as well, I think. It wasn’t bad, but compared to the rest of the book, it was disappointing. I expected a climax, and got a conclusion to put it one way. Instead of something happening, it was more that everything else finished. I could make a deep point about life itself here but that would be pretentious.

Overall, I think you shouldn't miss this book. I called it a dystopia, but it is more like a drama than anything else: the dystopian elements just explain the lives of our protagonists. I think that the central theme of the book is reliance of things and people to the ultimate conclusion of exploring loss. It’s a sad novel, but you don’t cry. It’s more a sense of sad peacefulness.

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