Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham - an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children there were tenderly ...Show synopsisKathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham - an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special, and that their personal welfare was crucial. But for what reason were they really there? It is only years later that Kathy, now aged 31, finally allows herself to yield to the pull of memory and try to make sense of the past. What unfolds is an extraordinarily powerful story in which Kathy, Ruth and Tommy slowly come to realise that it is their seemingly happy childhood that has haunted them ever since, even tainting their adult lives. Part love story, part mystery, "Never Let Me Go" is a uniquely beautiful and troubling novel, charged throughout with a profound emotional depth.Hide synopsis
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In turns both captivating and sleepy, "Never Let Me Go" is an atmospheric, tender, and heartbreaking story masquerading as a mystery novel. It is told in Kathy's voice, and her straightforward description of the facts of her life - with no explanation of unfamilar terms (which turn out to be unfamiliar because they only exist in Kazuo Ishiguro's alternate reality) - subtly and beautifully reveal the emotional underbelly of the narrative layer by gradual layer. Ishiguro's delicate, engaging prose suck you right in - and the feeling that the answers to all of Kathy's questions are JUST around the corner keeps the reader pushing through the slower, and sometimes dreary sections. Though occassionally the logistics of this slightly altered reality are a bit hazy, one gets the impression that this is simply because Kathy's exposure to the world has been hazy itself. Her unsentimental account of her life will slowly break your heart. If you're looking for a nailbiting thriller, this ain't it. But for a quietly devastating, very human story that will stay with you for a long time after you turn the last page, look no further.
I'm an old man and have been a heavy reader for decades. I've read thousands of books. I say this to give weight to the following statement..."Never Let Me Go" is an original novel. For me, discovering originality of plot, of thesis, is exceedingly rare. The story is well presented; leisurely yet meticulous, and credible thruout. It made me think of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451." Both novels take outrageous ideas and present them with a high degree of plausibility. If there exists an antonym for "insipid," NLMG would illustrate that definition.
This quiet yet disturbing story begins as the reminisces of a thirty-year old woman of her years growing up in a secluded boarding school called Halisham. It is the story of Kathy, her best friend Ruth and the passive Tommy, a trio that forms a shifting love triangle. At first the focus is on kids in a private school with their cliques and changing loyalties, pranks, team sports, art classes and speculations about the professors. But there's something very odd about this school. The materials are downright shabby, the teachers are overly anxious to instill in the students how "special" they are, there's a strange emphasis on creativity and very strict regiments to keep them in excellent health. Kept confused and unknowing, the reader shares Kathy's ignorance, only seeing the world through her naive perspective. Slowly it becomes clear what is going on, suspicions being quelled as quickly as they arise- because the truth is so awful the students don't want to know about it and keep themselves in the dark, acting like perpetual children. Even when they grow into young adults and leave Halisham for their final purpose, they retain a passivity and apathetic acceptance of their fate that stems from a loss of all hope...
Ishiguro's understated writing style echoes the mood of the story: solemn, overshadowed and monotone. The whole book feels like an overcast day where you can't see far ahead of you but it's all so gloomy you don't even want to very much. We never learn much about the world at large and its connections to the awful purpose for students of Halisham, because the book isn't about science fiction or medicine. It's about humanity and hope in the face of severe exploitation of the most disposable group of human society: clones.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, man gotta wonder, 'Why? Why? Why?'
Found it described as a page turner, and I agree. The pace is steady though. The effect is to hold this book in the mind long enough to begin to care a good deal about the characters and their plight, which really is all of our plights though it might take a work of art to remind us of that.
'Dancing in the Dark' was not the song used to title the work, but as the characters move from ignorance to acceptance we are really with them every step of the way (at least I was). If you are like me, this book will strike a chord within you and will have you pondering the nature of life with the inevitability of death.
You might want to listen to Bill Evan's beautiful rendition of the Livingston/Evans tune, "Never Let Me Go', after you've finished the book.
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