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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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Never Let Me Go (edition 2006)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,577717116 (3.83)1138
Member:PaperbackPirate
Title:Never Let Me Go
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Vintage (2006), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:2009, book club, 1001

Work details

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though it is less witty than We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Never Let Me Go is another poignant and insightful story about biological experimentation and human identity. Both novels feature lyrical prose, well-developed characterization, and haunting tones of melancholy.… (more)
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(see all 31 recommendations)

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» See also 1138 mentions

English (685)  German (7)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Italian (2)  Galician (1)  Finnish (1)  All (1)  All (714)
Showing 1-5 of 685 (next | show all)
For me, this book will be memorable and the story is unusual. It's told with a deftness that permeates the book, from the viewpoint of one of the major characters, Kathy. She and Ruth and Tommy live at an English country house and school with large grounds variously appointed. They are close friends, living with dozens of other children who were conceived for medical purposes. Their lives have apparently been set on a course, which they have been indoctrinated to accept. That is understandable, however, I wondered all along the way why they didn't just leave this path once they're adults and no longer at the home. They were educated and could have found employment; there was no reason given why this couldn't happen. None. Seemingly, only their own minds kept them on track, accepting a terrible fate.

The terms carer, completed and donor and several others are eventually understood by the reader, though they're descriptive enough to hint at the meaning. The story is personal, about the three people involved, and the emotions and thoughts of these three, the interpersonal relationships, are revealed with stark reality. Their situation is anything but reality, at least at this point in time.

Fascinating book. The author stayed in voice the entire book, in character. The story is odd enough with several unanswered questions that I didn't feel it was a 5, though it could be for the writing alone. And for the fact that it's memorable. Ishiguro has his own unique writing style, which I love.
( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
I'm not sure why, but this novel resonated with me on a number of different levels. Despite the sometimes irritating backtracking and diverging of the narrator, I liked her generally unreliable memory, which lent itself to the idea that the students at Hailsham were always (intentionally for some, unintentionally for others) blind to the truth about their own existence. I thought it worked as an allegory for existentialism or for the relations between first- and third-world nations (where Hailsham students represent the first world, able because of its relative privilege to entertain the illusion that their own deaths might be deferred). ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
sadly by some premonition I figured out what it was all about half way down the first page and never recovered from that. Was sorry I kept with it by the end. ( )
  njgriffin | Jan 2, 2017 |
This book was like 2lbs of potatoes in a 10lb bag: a little bit of good stuff, but mostly stuff that didn't need to be there to get the story across. ( )
2 vote beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
This book was weird. I was left with almost as many questions at the end as I had at the beginning. I just picked this book up at a bookstore because it had one of the "employee recommendation" tags. I didn't know the plot. I hadn't seen the movie. I was aware that it was scifi, or at least had something weird going on, but I didn't really know what to expect. Well, this book is even more angsty than teenage Harry Potter, and the boarding school setting doesn't even have the benefit of magic. But it was interesting to see Western culture through an outsider's (the clones') lens. And there were big questions about what it means to be a human, or whatever. I think this book was a little too pessimistic for me. I don't know. This is why I should always wait before reviewing books. It takes a while for something like this to sink in, especially something weird like Never Let Me Go. I can tell this is going to be the kind of book that I think about on and off for a long time. But I also feel like I didn't understand the point. It was written as a memoir of sorts, but, as much time as I had spent inside Kathy's head, I was left questioning her humanity in the end as in the beginning. Takeaway: it was interesting to read, but I'm not sure I changed as a person by reading it, even though I think I should have? Maybe time will reveal the true impact of this book. ( )
  jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 685 (next | show all)
Ishiguro is extremely good at recreating the special, oppressive atmosphere of school (and any other institution, for that matter)—the cliques that form, the covert rivalries, the obsessive concern with who sat next to whom, who was seen talking to whom, who is in favor at one moment and who is not.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Anita Desai (pay site) (Nov 22, 2005)
 
The eeriest feature of this alien world is how familiar it feels. It's like a stripped-down, haiku vision of children everywhere, fending off the chaos of existence by inventing their own rules.
 
"Never Let Me Go" is marred by a slapdash, explanatory ending that recalls the stilted, tie-up-all-the loose-ends conclusion of Hitchcock's "Psycho." The remainder of the book, however, is a Gothic tour de force that showcases the same gifts that made Mr. Ishiguro's 1989 novel, "The Remains of the Day," such a cogent performance.
 
This extraordinary and, in the end, rather frighteningly clever novel isn't about cloning, or being a clone, at all. It's about why we don't explode, why we don't just wake up one day and go sobbing and crying down the street, kicking everything to pieces out of the raw, infuriating, completely personal sense of our lives never having been what they could have been.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, John Harrison (Feb 26, 2005)
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kazuo Ishiguroprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novarese, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Lorna and Naomi
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My name is Kathy H.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
At the age of thirty-one, Kathy H. is coming to the end of her time as a carer – a milestone that prompts her to reflect on her unusual life. She begins, naturally, with her childhood at Hailsham, where she and her friends Ruth and Tommy negotiated the lessons and Exchanges set by their guardians, as well as the constant social pressures of school life. As her recollections progress, however, Kathy must take care not to delve too deeply into the tangled knot of her own emotions. The past holds no refuge for her; even since childhood, the knowledge of what the future holds has always been there, deep down – and some truths are too terrible to be confronted.

AR Level 6.0, 15 pts
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307740994, Paperback)

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 fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny. Kazuo Ishiguro's sixth novel, Never Let Me Go, is a masterpiece of indirection. Like the students of Hailsham, readers are "told but not told" what is going on and should be allowed to discover the secrets of Hailsham and the truth about these children on their own.

Offsetting the bizarreness of these revelations is the placid, measured voice of the narrator, Kathy H., a 31-year-old Hailsham alumna who, at the close of the 1990s, is consciously ending one phase of her life and beginning another. She is in a reflective mood, and recounts not only her childhood memories, but her quest in adulthood to find out more about Hailsham and the idealistic women who ran it. Although often poignant, Kathy's matter-of-fact narration blunts the sharper emotional effects you might expect in a novel that deals with illness, self-sacrifice, and the severe restriction of personal freedoms. As in Ishiguro's best-known work, The Remains of the Day, only after closing the book do you absorb the magnitude of what his characters endure. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:35 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it. Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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