Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was originally published in 2005. My paperback copy has 288 pages. In Never Let Me Go, Kathy H is a 31 year old woman looking back at her past as a special child in the elite boarding school, Hailsham, while living out the reality of what makes her and her friends special. While Ishiguro slowly, carefully, subtly reveals bits and pieces of the whole story, familiar words take on new meanings that hint at the difference between their reality and ours. Every reflection and encounter slowly reveals the truth. This was a masterful story. It is a coming-of-age story of friendship and love combination with a very restrained, atmospheric novel of social commentary - with hints of science fiction and psychological thriller. What you discover in the first of three parts is that this is an alternate universe, one that might have happened. The alternative world, however, is just the vehicle used to explore the inner emotional responses of the characters. It's a dark, sad, unforgettable novel. Rating: 5

Synopsis from cover:
From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a
devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.

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. Suspenseful, moving,
beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of
The Remains of the Day.

"My name is Kathy H. I'm thirty-one years old, and I've been a carer now for over eleven years." opening sentences.

"Carers aren't machines. You try and do your best for every donor, but in the end it wears you down." pg. 4

"That was when I first understood, really understood, just how lucky we'd been - Tommy, Ruth, me, all the rest of us." pg. 6

"She said we weren't being taught enough, something like that." pg. 29

"So you're waiting, even if you don't quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there like Madame, who don't hate you or wish you harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you - of how you were brought into the world and why - and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs." pg. 36

"But those last years feel different. They weren't unhappy exactly - I've got plenty of memories I treasure from them - but they were more serious, and in some ways darker." pg. 77

"You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided." pg. 81


amanaceer said...

love the quotes. i am about to read this book as well. hope i enjoy as much as you did!

Gwendolyn B. said...

I read this novel recently and found it difficult and disturbing--which isn't to say it wasn't good! Sometimes, I just didn't want to go back to it because of it's overwhelming aura of doom. It's quite haunting, and I think I will always have a strong memory of it.

Lori L said...

It is disturbing - especially the matter-of-fact way Kathy, the narrator tells us the story, but it was a very well written, well executed novel.