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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go (edition 2005)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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14,454658138 (3.83)1085
Title:Never Let Me Go
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Vintage International (2005), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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» See also 1085 mentions

English (628)  Dutch (6)  German (5)  French (5)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Galician (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (655)
Showing 1-5 of 628 (next | show all)
The last 2 chapters really tie-up the loose ends. ( )
  DavidCady | Nov 19, 2015 |
Ars longa, vita brevis

Never let me go is the sixth novel of Kazuo Ishiguro. It is written in a largely understating style. The novel is classified as a science-fiction novel, but this is only correct in so far that it describes a reality that is not of the present but could fairly well be imagined in the future. In fact, the technology to clone people seems to be just around the corner, and humanity does not seem far away from stepping over the moral dilemma to make cloning and organ-harvesting, as in the novel, possible and acceptable.

At first, it seems as if the fact that the children are created by cloning with the purpose of harvesting their organs is the mystery of the novel, but this fact is revealed to the reader fairly early on in the story. The alert reader can pick it up very soon from the way the "donations" are described, while the fact is stated plainly and explicitly after about 80 pages (thereabout). However, this is just the given situation, it is not the mystery.

Life itself is the mystery. Never let me go is more likely to be understood as a parable in which the short life of the children represents the whole curriculum vitae of (wo)man. The donations are moments in life which determine the further course of life, or may actually end it. The short lives of the children are not very different from the lives of most people: their lives have an undetermined livespan, during which they fulfil an apparent purpose, while nonetheless struggling with the question what life is for. The children in the novel have been created for an apparently very clear and obvious purpose, namely the production of organs for transplants. Likewise, most people are led to believe that mankind was created for the purpose of its works, and that the fulfilment of life lies in work, whether or not that work represents a sacrifice. The emphasis on the importance of physical health is more obvious in the world of the children, as without it there would be no donations; nonetheless, the parallel is clear.

Still, both is our world as well as in the world of the children, art plays a somewhat different role. The children at the institution are encouraged to produce art, and the best works are collected in a gallery. Neither in the minds of the children, nor to the reader, does it ever become clear whether this gallery is to be understood as a place to sell art or collect and display, only. However, in the novel, the gallery is revealed to have a clear purpose, namely to justify the existence or the creation of the cloned children. One of the criteria for the quality of the art is whether it was produced out of love, which in the world of the children leads to redemption: a deferral to live a bit longer, by three years. However, it is later revealed that this is not true.

The parallels with our world are obvious. We are but like small children knowing little about life, told that life is all about keeping healthy so we can do our work, with a vague sense that art serves a higher purpose.

Accepting the story about the children in the institution as a parable for the life of mankind, Never let me go opens numerous perspectives and appears a a novel of tremendous depth. All questions that have pained humanity throughout its existence are called up: why are we here, were we created for some purpose, if so, what, what is the function of art, is humanity an experiment, etc. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 24, 2015 |
More like 4.5.

I absolutely loved this book despite having already watched the movie several times and being quite familiar with the plot. I have to say that the movie is a quite faithful adaptation so there wasn't much change in the plot or characters.

This book is beautiful and it has definitely left me wanting to read more of Ishiguro. ( )
  ebethiepaige | Oct 20, 2015 |
More like 4.5.

I absolutely loved this book despite having already watched the movie several times and being quite familiar with the plot. I have to say that the movie is a quite faithful adaptation so there wasn't much change in the plot or characters.

This book is beautiful and it has definitely left me wanting to read more of Ishiguro. ( )
  ebethiepaige | Oct 20, 2015 |
I don't know how to properly describe what it was like reading this-- Ishiguro could easily have been yet another "literary" author slumming in genre, but his mastery of the language, and his obsession with the nature of memory and its ability to profoundly alter our present, served to create a book that uses SF tropes in a genuinely intriguing way... If I say more I'll spoil things...

( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 628 (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
Ishiguro, Kazuomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novarese, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My name is Kathy H.
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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.

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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)

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