Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Blurb: 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.

What I thought: Let me just say- Kazuo Ishiguro is a genius. Although not necessarily one that I'd like to meet. Never Let Me Go was darkly twisted in a Jekyll and Hyde sort of way- the light and innocence of childhood, with the horrible truth creeping out from underneath. It was just SO GOOD. So completely different from anything else I've read- and I know I say this a lot, but it's true- in both the central idea and the narrative.
Something about this book stopped it from being completely horrible though, despite the fact that by all rights, it should have been. The naivety of the characters, and their acceptance of their lives and what they were created to do, somehow makes you accept it as well.
The story is told from the point of view of Kathy, 31, who is looking back on her past, trying to understand what was really happening, and why they did the things they did. As well as the compulsory life planned out for them, and what they must do, all the Hailsham students have their own problems, dreams and faults, that make the story so fascinating.
All of the characters seemed very real to me. Sometimes you can get characters whose every move you can predict, who only do things for love or friendship or themselves or whatever, but everyone in this book was just so complex.
I liked how Ishiguro never really came out and told you what was going on until the end. I mean, yeah, you can pretty much guess, but there's still that element of suspense and is-it-true that I loved.
So to sum it up, this is a really great book. Not a favorite (I have very high standards) but close. The characters were complex and felt very real, the backdrop of their planned-out lives went perfectly with their problems, and I could really understand why they did the things they did. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes books with slightly creepy situations that could technically be real.

Rate: 7/10

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