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Never Let Me Go (2005)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,537889158 (3.81)2 / 1322
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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    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (sanddancer)
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    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (jessicaskura, readerbabe1984)
  4. 121
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (joannasephine)
    joannasephine: A similar society, and a similar obliqueness to the most striking aspects of the story.
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    The Children of Men by P. D. James (Yells)
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    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (absurdeist)
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    LAKobow: This series also deals with dystopian organ donation
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    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Monika_L)
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  13. 10
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    hoddybook: The subject matter of both involves a dystopian future in which some people are more worthy of support than others. Ishiguro is more genteel than D'Lacey. Unless you really want to know what's in your daily pinta, I'd give Meat a miss, on the other hand...… (more)
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    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?
  18. 00
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    bluepiano: Other children in another school on the shady side of the street who are unwittingly being trained to benefit society at large.
  19. 11
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  20. 11
    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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)

(see all 33 recommendations)

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» See also 1322 mentions

English (848)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (6)  German (5)  French (5)  Italian (4)  Swedish (2)  Galician (1)  Japanese (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (886)
Showing 1-5 of 848 (next | show all)
This ultimately is a story about relationships. The way you see yourself in relation to others and how others in the group see you. It shows how experiences change those relationships. ( )
  christyco125 | Jul 4, 2022 |
Ishiguro keeps the progress of the story tightly wound and moving like clockwork; the formula he uses began to wear on me, but then became a pleasant rhythm that rocked the story forward and back between time lines. His use of the macabre "scifi" element, which is what drew me to the book in the first place, was very light; he didn't lean on it, but instead used it as the background for his character's struggles. The main character, Kathy, understands human emotion and reaction and reason so well, that it makes the point that clones are humans too without stuffing the lesson down your throat. Simply told, beautifully imagined, and just slightly disturbing. Looking forward to his other novels. ( )
  MaryJeanPhillips | Jun 22, 2022 |
From her mid-life position as a carer, Kathy reflects on her life and upbringing at an elite school that groomed her and her peers to have all their organs harvested in their 20s and 30s.

Lots of great themes here, foremost that of duty. Definitely a literary novel in which every character choice and reflection has a larger thematic purpose. Readers seems to be either awestruck by the thematic depth ("such an adult novel") or frustrated by the way that depth manifests ("why don't they rebel"). For me, I felt like the story was extremely well-executed but the themes were pretty pedestrian -- I had the sense this was a book that would have engaged me best in high school. Would recommend widely regardless. ( )
  pammab | Jun 5, 2022 |
Never Let Me Go (Vintage International) by Kazuo Ishiguro (2006)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
One of my favourite books of all time. “Here is what will happen, and there is nothing you can do about it”. The mythos that forms around offsetting and the measurement of love’s “truthfulness” upset me perhaps more than they should. But the humanity in hope and clinging on to any shred of possibility is… well… human. It’s us. It is to see and imagine and play out in one’s head who you are and what you would be, should shoes be reversed. It is contemplative and as I’ve said of Ishiguro’s works in general; this is where his writing shines.

It is contentious amongst my friends, but I don’t believe Tommy intelligent. Not stupid, not emotionally stunted, but unexceptional in all but his enthusiasm and optimism. He is to blame, I believe, as much so as Ruth, and yet I feel we are to forgive him more so than she. Perhaps she knew better, perhaps he went along, and perhaps everyone, Kathy included, was just so traumatized and scared by what was to come that we cannot make reasonable judgements exterior to the situation. But I feel Ruth got off harder than Tommy, and honestly, I think that’s the point.

To not spoil the ending, which often are the most profound parts of Ishiguro’s works, I will just say that Kathy’s final words have always stuck with me. There is an inherent space between, one we may spend our whole lives attempting to overcome, and yet we inevitably cannot — and in that way, our lives are not so different. We all want more than we will have. It is depressing, but it inspires as well that one live in such a way as they shuffle off having dome all we could have. It is not a novel idea, but this story has never left my mind, in at least some small way, since I first read it. ( )
  AlunStokes | May 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 848 (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 (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, KerryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kriek, BarthoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novarese, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaden, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Lorna and Naomi
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My name is Kathy H.
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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.

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Book description
At the age of thirty-one, Kathy H. is coming to the end of her time as a career – 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
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