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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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Never Let Me Go (edition 2005)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,399711119 (3.82)1128
Member:gwalklin
Title:Never Let Me Go
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Faber and Faber (2005), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:favs

Work details

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. 363
    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)
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    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (jessicaskura, readerbabe1984)
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    The Children of Men by P. D. James (Yells)
  5. 80
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (EnriqueFreeque)
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    The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (infiniteletters, bookcrushblog, bookwormjules)
  7. 81
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (joannasephine)
    joannasephine: A similar society, and a similar obliqueness to the most striking aspects of the story.
  8. 92
    Under the Skin by Michel Faber (Medellia, SqueakyChu)
  9. 52
    Unwind by Neal Shusterman (VictoriaPL, meggyweg, ahappybooker)
    ahappybooker: Similar themes of dystopia and vivisection
  10. 64
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Monika_L)
  11. 20
    The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (jennyellen22)
  12. 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?
  13. 10
    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)
  14. 10
    The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian (bookcrushblog)
  15. 10
    The Postmortal by Drew Magary (ahappybooker)
    ahappybooker: also a dystopian society where the government makes unethical choices to supposedly improve the world.
  16. 10
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  19. 32
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  20. 00
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    rrmmff2000: Unsettling narratives and fantastic writing about teenaged girls growing up muffled from the world.

(see all 31 recommendations)

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» See also 1128 mentions

English (683)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  German (5)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Galician (1)  Finnish (1)  All (1)  All (710)
Showing 1-5 of 683 (next | show all)
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 |
You know, I went the whole way through the first half of the book thinking it would be a 3 star book. Then at about the three-quarter mark I realised it was a definite 4 star. And now, having finished it, I have no doubts about giving it a five.



These people - not clones, not creatures -people made up some of the best characters I've read about in a very long time. And this book hits me so hard with the question: Is it better to be born and live a terrible life, or never to be born at all? And where do we draw the line of soul-bearing beings? Of sentience?

The way the whole debate about how to treat them, these children and teenagers and human beings reminds me so easily of people talking about farm animals. "Oh well so what if they die one day for our use as long as we treat them humanely and give them good lives even if of course they don't want to die?"

This book made me angry, it made me sad. Mostly, it made me think, and I can honestly say, that I think it made me different.



Read this. Really. Read it.
( )
1 vote bastardreading | Oct 12, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  katcoviello | Sep 21, 2016 |
One of my favorite books. Don't let the science fiction tag it's given distract you. It's about how fragile relationships made as a child can be as one grows up. It's about other things too, but that's the one that matters most. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
It's hard to review this book without spoilers, because everything that happens is based on a very disturbing premise. Suffice it to say that it takes place in an alternative Britain where a distinct class of people is raised and cultivated to sacrifice everything it has--from its dreams to its lives--for the needs of others. It is interesting to ponder why the author chose to tell this story as part of an "alternative Britain," rather than as a "near-future Britain." (The book was written in 2005, but takes place in the 1970s to 90s.) My guess is that he meant us to see the story as a parable--that, indeed, parallet things WERE happening in our world in our time (and still are), if not in the precise form as he imagines it, than in others. If we think of distinct classes of people being raised and cultivated to sacrifice their all so that the needs of the rest of us can be met, we might draw associations with immigrant farmworkers, sweatshop workers, the victims of human trafficking, and the like.

In short, the young people featured in this book are assumed to be no more than drones. But the story is told from their point-of-view. What is it like to be raised from birth with this identity stamped upon you? How do you live when all your dreams are denied? When the people in the privileged classes can question whether you are human at all?

The book has had an impact on me now that I've finished it, more than it did while I was reading it. For there was a coolness exhibited by the characters throughout that proved a barrier for me to get much emotionally involved. Was this simply evidence of the British "stiff upper lip"? Or are we to think that a knowledge of their futures had just this kind of anesthetizing effect on their emotions? Or, given this was an "alternative" Britain, maybe genetic engineering was practiced to develop a breed that was so detached. In any case, I found it particularly surprising that when a true awareness developed among the characters during their teenage years of what their fate held, there was not a single case of adolescent rebellion. They all just accepted it. This was not "The Hunger Games."

But because the book carries implications for the way our world does treat whole classes, thinking only of our needs without considering their own, I suspect I shall carry with me for a very long time. ( )
1 vote kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 683 (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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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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