Sunday, February 8, 2009

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

neverletmegoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 288 pgs.. 2005 5/5 When I first started this book, I was thinking it may get a rating of around I continued on, I had bumped it to a 4, and by the last few chapters it had earned a 5. Never Let Me Go is one of the most emotional books I've read. It's haunting, painful, beautiful, terrifying and anger inducing. Ishiguro's writing is fairly simple, but the work as a whole is complex and beautiful, touching really. Right from the start, we realize that something is not right. We meet a group of friends; Kathy, the narrator of the book, Ruth and Tommy. They are at a school called Halisham and while it seems like an exceptional school, words like donor, carer, and completion start to arise. The teachers at the school react strangely to certain questions that the students ask and we're led to believe that some horror lurks in the fact that they have been chosen to attend Halisham, that these sweet children were bred for a purpose. I wasn't a big fan of Ruth's character, but I don't think we're meant to be. She's a bit conceited and superficial at times which is the main reason I initially wanted to lower the rating. She aggravated me. But as the book progresses, we see a different side of Ruth. We realize that inside she is experiencing all of the emotions that the others are...wondering what awaits them in their future and sheer frustration. Kathy was a wonderful character full of longing, a hopeful view of the world, and compassion. It is Kathy that Tommy turns to when he has his violent outbursts, it's Kathy that Tommy confides in when he feels alone or less than human. Their relationship truly touched me. There's not much I can say about this novel without giving everything away, but I think it's something that is well worth reading by everyone. It's more relevant that I initially realized in these days of conflict over ethnicity, race, stem cell research, cloning, etc. A truly touching masterpiece is what this is. I dare you to read it and not feel a welling up of emotion in it's final chapters. Here's a video of Ishiguro discussing Never Let Me Go: [youtube=]

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