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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go (edition 2005)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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13,986627148 (3.83)1033
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

  1. 343
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» See also 1033 mentions

English (597)  Dutch (6)  German (5)  French (5)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Galician (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (624)
Showing 1-5 of 597 (next | show all)
So good.
  TLkirsten | Mar 21, 2015 |
Diversity is difficult to achieve in the world of literature. The concept has become more of a watchword for racial or gender politics, a watchword of the modern generations to allow for a more plural set of narratives than were thought available in print. But as publishers seek the minority voices to fill all of the newly diverse niche publication markets, so many writers are able to do little more than churn the same voice, the same tone, the same characters and perspectives out in book after book. Not so, Kazuo Ishiguro.

[Never Let Me Go] is the sixth, and most recent, novel from this chameleon of literature, though it was published nearly ten years ago. Set in the 1980s and 1990s, it is at once dystopian and British boarding school coming of age. Ishiguro imagines an alternative historical track from the end of World War II in which the ability to clone humans has provided an endless supply of tissue and organ materials. The clones in the story are raised in a school system as they await the proper maturation for the use of their organs. Though there is a vague notion of their fate, the clones are sheltered to the point of an almost unbelievable naiveté, a situation which is complicated upon their release into the world as they await harvesting.

Told in first person, the novel reads like a conversation with the narrator, Kathy, who is a carer – a sort of companion for clones who have begun being taken apart, organ by organ. Ishiguro managed to strike the perfect conversational balance, allowing Kathy to slide back and forth in time and substance as she tells her story, as most of us would if we were chatting about our youth.

The novel is a wonder for anyone who’s read any of Ishiguro’s other work. For example, [When We Were Orphans] is set in pre-World War II Shanghai, and is a mystery novel. [The Remains of the Day], largely considered to be his best work, is a story of manners and repressed emotion, set among the British servant class.

The only criticism to be lodged is Ishiguro’s expository dump in the late pages of the novel to explain the history that the over-protected clones could barely even imagine asking questions about – a problem for someone writing a first person narrative. These clones would never be in a position to know, and therefore discuss, how they came to be where they are and what’s happening to them. Ishiguro lays all of this on the reader through a conversation with one of the clone’s keepers near the ending of the book. Personally, I would have been okay with the veiled references and ambiguous information from the clone’s perspective, as the story doesn’t change much with the in-your-face description.

Bottom Line: A unique story from an extremely diverse author, even if he yearned to disclose too much with the ending.

4 bones!!!!! ( )
1 vote blackdogbooks | Mar 1, 2015 |
I did not know this was science fiction (or magic realism) but when I discovered it was about cloning people to use their organs I was horrified. To develop feeling for characters who have no hope and no future is painful to say the least. I would warn anyone against it who expects an English Boarding School story with fights, romances, misbehaviours, intellectual growth and nice and not so nice teachers. All that was there in the context of semi-human experimental people.I admit it was well written, since Ishiguro is incapable of writing badly. ( )
  almigwin | Feb 19, 2015 |
I had heard so many great things about this book, and I can tell you it did not disappoint. It's a really great book if you are a YA reader and want to give a more adult, contemporary novel a try. I actually watched the movie before getting my hands on the book, and would recommend reading the book first if you're interested in the movie.

This is a story about three childhood friends, told through the eyes of Kathy in flashbacks and stories of her upbringing at a boarding school in the English countryside. She tells of her childhood and the circumstances of her life, as well as the lives of her two best friends Ruth and Tommy and their schoolmates. A lot happens, and there is a surprising, underlying science fiction theme in the novel that gives such a different feel to the story. It's a sort of coming of age story with a twist.

It's a hard novel to describe without giving anything away. It can get a bit confusing, but once you understand the strange situation that Kathy and her friends have been born into, the story really cements itself into place and draws you in.

I really enjoyed reading this book and am excited to read more by Ishiguro. ( )
  CarleyShea | Feb 5, 2015 |
A very strange and unsettling story, an alternative history really, how things could have been. There is an underlying anxiety behind all the mundane happenings at the fictitious English boarding school. But it is such a familiar feeling, growing up and knowing that something is not quite right, there's a conspiracy of misinformation, there are rumours, and no one wants to face the awful truth. In some ways a frustrating read, but it leaves you with a lot to reflect upon. The theme here is lives that are wasted, or maybe they were just doing their job? ( )
  Estramir | Jan 31, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 597 (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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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)

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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)

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