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Never Let Me Go

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Strange; didn't keep my attention

All in all, not the worst book I've read. While I liked the concept, it could have been so much better. I finished it just to see where the author was going. The synopsis makes it sound much more interesting and mysterious. But you find out the "mystery" maybe halfway through (if not sooner) and then nothing really is revealed from that point on. It was a letdown. It's also written in a bit of a "stream of consciousness" way (not my favorite style to begin with) so that makes it a bit hard to stay interested. I often finish a book in a day or two. I'd only pick this one back up when I had nothing else to do and was just trying to get through it to see if anything interesting happened. It did not.

Simply Brilliant

WARNING: This review contains "spoilers," information that reveals key plot details. This novel works beautifully on multiple levels, giving it a quality that kept me thinking about its plot, characters and themes long after I finished its final page. On the most obvious level it is a sort of alternate history that depicts a dystopian society in 1990s England that breeds human clones to become organ donors for "the normals." In that aspect, it brings to mind Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, where humans are created in test tubes and have fixed functions that they grow up to perform in society. However, Never Let Me Go is more subtle than either Huxley or -- another obvious comparison -- George Orwell's 1984, in that the oppressor is not specifically depicted and there is no one person or group that is in obvious conflict with Ishiguro's main characters. There is nothing overt that keeps them in their places, whether that place is at school when they are children, or at "recovery centers" while their internal organs are being systematically plucked out. I kept wondering why the two lovers, Kathy and Tommy, didn't just pick up their stuff, get in her car and take off for parts unknown, eventually blending in with the "normal" population. And that brings me to the next, deeper level, of the novel, which is about the nature of humanity. All of this novel's characters seem to meekly accept their fates, even Tommy, who has a temper and often throws fits of rage when frustrated. They are also hyper-sensitive to one another, reading motivations and emotions into each small gesture and remark, as though every utterance and movement each one makes is deliberate, premeditated and loaded with significance. To me, human behavior is much less reasoned than that, with much said and done that has no rational basis. (Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.) In that regard, perhaps the clones (euphemistically called "students" in the novel) really are not human beings with souls, but beings bred for a specific function, which strong emotions tend to derail. If that is the case, perhaps the students' creators bred human emotion out of them in order to facilitate their end purpose. Most "normals" seem to view the "students" as sub-human, which is of course necessary if the "students'" organs are to be harvested in good conscience. This brings to mind a host of justifications for deplorable acts and practices throughout human history, from slavery to the contemporary killing of the Great Apes. Ishiguro reveals to his readers that the students' adult "guardians" believe they are human beings with souls, and the "guardians" spend a great deal of time and effort trying to prove this to the other "normals." This takes us to yet another, deeper question posed by the story: Can members of a privleged class save those who are less so, or must the oppressed save themselves? The actions that the "guardians" take on behalf of their "students" do not change

One of the best books published in the last 100 years

As with Margaret Atwood's "Hand Maid's Tale", "Never Let Me Go" begins like a contemporary mainstream novel. It takes awhile for the reader to realize that the world described is not the "real world". Gradually, you catch on to the differences and learn the rules of this world, as the characters themselves learn. The mis-direction starts on the page before the first chapter, where Ishiguro indicates that the scene is "England, late 1990s". Everything is plausible. No scifi technology would be needed to have led to this alternate world. No major cataclysmic change. Just a subtle change of direction -- quite natural, quite credible, and hence foreshadowing a dismal future we may yet encounter. From the first page, you feel that something is just a little bit off. Even the typeface is disconcerting, with a lowercase "a" that looks more like a handwritten "a" (an "o" with a tail coming off to the right), instead of the usual printed "a", as here). You also quickly notice that the narrator is a bit obsessive and oversensitive, over-interpreting every look and gesture and event. And by keeping this up, over the course of the book, the author manages to completely redefine the basis of communication and the texture of life, including how to rad body language and context. Ishiguor gives an otherwodly aura to ordinary situations. You sense that there is always a mystery-to-be-solved behind what is happening, what is described, what is interpreted. Oridinay terms are used in extraordinary ways (cf. 1984, but far more subtle) -- carer, donor, possible, guardian, deferral become laden with new and sinister meanings, hinting at the difference between these people and ordinary people, between their world and ours. What we wind up with is a bizarre coming-of-age love story, combining innocence and horror, in a situation where the simplest everyday events and decisions take on heroic implications. This is one of the best novels published in the last 100 years. Don't miss it.

The Banality of Amoral Science

Kazuo Ishiguro's brilliant new book, NEVER LET ME GO, returns the author to the themes and approaches he first addressed in THE REMAINS OF THE DAY. Just as Stevens the butler devoted himself unthinkingly and uncritically to the minutiae of daily life on behalf of his Nazi sympathizing master, Lord Darlington, the main characters in Ishiguro's latest book focus on the irrelevant small details and minor tribulations of their lives without ever once contemplating the bigger picture. In both cases, the author not only conjures the question of the meaning of life, he asks us to contemplate the tragedy of wasted lives. On its surface, NEVER LET ME GO tells the story of three special young people - Kathy H., Tommy D., and Ruth - all of whom meet as students at an idyllic private school called Hailsham. Kathy H. is the narrator, now 31 years old, telling her story in hindsight. She recalls her student days at Hailsham fondly, filling her tale with numerous minor anecdotes about the most mundane affairs that slowly reveal the nature of the school and its students' place in the world. (...) Ishiguro creates a convincing vocabulary, milieu, and mythology for this setting: guardians, carers, donors, completing, Exchanges, Sales, the Gallery, Norfolk, and an eerie sense of the students having "been told and not told." NEVER LET ME GO accomplishes the remarkable challenge of presenting 288 pages' worth of reading between the lines. Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are not the real main characters of this story, only the visible ones. The real main characters are invisible, the ones who have not only facilitated the use of cloning as a form of organ farming, but who have created a conditioning environment in which their victims accept their fate without question, as the natural order of things. Kathy, Ruth, Tommy, and their ilk live among normal people yet virtually never approach them, willing segretating themselves from the rest of society as though they were lepers. They live in Skinner boxes without boundaries, conditioned to believe they exist only to sacrifice their lives for the continued life of others. We never see the bioengineers or social scientists who create and maintain this horrifying use of humanity. Instead, they are represented (only on a limited scale) by Hailsham's headmistress, Miss Emily, and the mysterious, art-collecting Madame Marie-Claude. In 1963, after attending the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Israel, the renowned Hannah Arendt wrote a profound and controversial book entitled EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM: THE BANALITY OF EVIL. Arendt went to the trial expecting to see a monster. Who else could be responsible for such evil as the Holocaust? Instead, she found an accounting clerk. Not only were the most normal of people apparently capable of mindless cruelty, but their evil was senseless, meaningless even to themselves. In this way, their evil was banal. Ishiguro creates a similar feeling, using the triteness of Kathy H.'s remini

Never Let Me Go Mentions in Our Blog

Never Let Me Go in Kazuo Ishiguro Wins 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature
Kazuo Ishiguro Wins 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature
Published by Bianca Smith • October 18, 2017
Last week author, Kazuo Ishiguro received a call most only dream of - he won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature!
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