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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go (edition 2006)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,891620150 (3.83)1011
Title:Never Let Me Go
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Vintage (2006), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:dystopia, 13 in 13

Work details

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. 343
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (readerbabe1984, rosylibrarian, ateolf, browner56)
    browner56: Two chilling, though extremely well written, reminders that liberty, freedom, and self-determination are not idle concepts.
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    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (sanddancer)
  3. 185
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (jessicaskura, readerbabe1984)
  4. 80
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (EnriqueFreeque)
  5. 92
    Under the Skin by Michel Faber (Medellia, SqueakyChu)
  6. 70
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (bucketyell)
  7. 70
    The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (infiniteletters, bookcrushblog, bookwormjules)
  8. 71
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (joannasephine)
    joannasephine: A similar society, and a similar obliqueness to the most striking aspects of the story.
  9. 61
    Unwind by Neal Shusterman (VictoriaPL, meggyweg, ahappybooker)
    ahappybooker: Similar themes of dystopia and vivisection
  10. 63
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Monika_L)
  11. 20
    The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (jennyellen22)
  12. 31
    The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (Chenga)
  13. 10
    The Postmortal by Drew Magary (ahappybooker)
    ahappybooker: also a dystopian society where the government makes unethical choices to supposedly improve the world.
  14. 10
    The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian (bookcrushblog)
  15. 21
    The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (urania1)
    urania1: If you enjoy dystopian fiction or long for "literary" science fiction, read this book. It deals with the big questions, namely can people retain their humanity in dehumanizing conditions?
  16. 10
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  18. 11
    Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (chrissybob)
    chrissybob: Explores similar themes around the relationships between friends
  19. 00
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  20. 00
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(see all 27 recommendations)


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» See also 1011 mentions

English (591)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (5)  French (5)  German (4)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Galician (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (617)
Showing 1-5 of 591 (next | show all)
I began reading this book not knowing anything about it. I was frustrated and confused in the beginning but as I continued and the author began to give more information as to what was happening I became excited and thought that the book was starting to go somewhere. Unfortunately by the end of the book I was just as frustrated as in the beginning. I felt there were too many unanswered questions and that the author did take the plot as far as it could have been taken. This would be a good book for a book group to discuss ( )
  kremsa | Jan 30, 2015 |
Never Let Me Go has some of the most authentic human interaction I have ever read. It is often painfully tender, describing relationships in their complicated and difficult details.

The significance of petty interaction to personal experience is dramatically communicated. There is an abundance of description when two people are interacting, and poignant details supplement the memories of the narrator.

However, the people so clearly visible in this story are in many ways utterly alien. They make decisions which clearly do not follow from my perspective. The world itself is broken in a way that is terrifying, painful, and in my opinion never justified.

This book is the emotional equivalent of the film "Saw". It is full of pain, without any ultimate purpose or satisfying justification.

In many ways it is well-made, but the end product made me feel terrible. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
I'm not sure why this one didn't work better for me. It's a solid read with an interesting premise (a classic boarding school novel with a dystopian twist), good writing, and, um, I think that's it. There was no real tension in the story. There were a few times I thought it was building to something but then it just kind of deflated, so I spent most of the book waiting for and wanting more. The relationships on which the story is built didn't feel genuine to me, and when the ending finally came, it felt flat and labored at the same time.

The whole book could have been much better, and maybe my expectations were too high going into it. I did listen to this one on audio (read by Rosalyn Landor who was very good), and I think some of my tepid reaction may be due to the fact that given limited listening time, I could never get lost in the story. The writing and premise are strong enough that I would encourage anyone interested to give it a try, because lots of people have found much to admire in the novel. It just didn't do it for me. ( )
  katiekrug | Jan 18, 2015 |
I don't know if I can explain, how I kept hanging in there with this one, holding out for some great release or climax that never came. in the end, it wasn't bad, but it also wasn't fulfilling. The writing, I should say, was lovely. The pacing, not so much, if only in that it seemed to be building towards some slow crescendo that never came. ( )
  laurustina | Jan 14, 2015 |
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro largely takes place in an English boarding school, Hailsham, where Kathy, our narrator, and Tommy and Ruth are close friends. Gradually we come to realize that these children are different, and understand the reason there are no parents involved. The students lead an idealized life, with an emphasis on the creation of art, the best of which is taken away by "Madame" to "the Gallery." “All children have to be deceived if they are to grow up without trauma.” We come to understand that something monstrous is being presented to them in sanitized form, and that there is institutional evil that extends far beyond Hailsham's walls. Some wish to let Kathy and the others know the truth, but their numbers are few.

Kathy is both sensitive and sensible emotionally, and grows up to be a "carer", tending to the needs of others. But what she is caring for, and what lies in her own future, is heartless and horrifying. The Hailsham grads can only look to each other for succor and solace. Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and no matter how much we despised ourselves for it--unable quite to let each other go.”

In part this is a fable about the dangers of our obsession with science as a means to overcome death, here called "completion". In part it is an age-old tale of the exploitation of an oppressed group, and the difficulty of overcoming indoctrination and successfully opposing those in charge. “I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.”

This was a solid, interesting read. Three and three-quarters stars. ( )
2 vote jnwelch | Jan 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 591 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:45 -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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