Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Heeeeeellllllo readers; lots of people have been asking me – When are you going to open your requests box, well I don’t know because I have been reading so many FANTASTIC books. I never understood why bloggers shut their blog’s inbox but I get it, there are so many brilliant books that I want to get my hands on and I’m just putting too many off that I want to read because of requests – not that that’s a bad thing – anyway, enough of me rambling, hopefully the requests box will be open soon, but for now, the review.

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Daycomes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author ofThe Remains of the Day.

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Okay, I’m going to try review this book without giving too many plot secrets away; it’s a bit of difficult one to review if you don’t but then I don’t want to ruin it for you either. I’m not sure whether knowing so much of the plot would ruin it – so I’ll put in a POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT – just in case. Also; if you’ve read that is a science fiction, then it’s really not – its literary fiction. So just another note there.

So the novel itself follows the life of Kathy, who is now 31 but used to be a student at the boarding school in England called Hailsham; this however is not a normal school but one for students with a special purpose – instead of being taught your stereotypical Maths and English,  the students are conditioned to accept their special destiny. Kathy, our main character, during the book is getting ready to make her first donation while being a carer for many other donors, and we watch as re recounts her life at Hailsham and their lives since.

The book is a bit of a ramble, and it’s definitely a conversation – Kathy is coming to terms with the life she’s lead and is very detached from the events she’s describing. They are very detailed in terms of explaining exactly what happened; not in description but in almost a factual way. She comes across as a character that has a hell of a lot of potential but yet this is extinguished due to the nature of their lives and the almost planned out acceptance of what they are and what they will become; see this is where spoilers would help but I’m avoiding them as much as possible. I found her detachment firstly confusing but then utterly heartbreaking as I neared the end; you would think there is nothing worse than someone having their life taken from them, but, this story captures the tale of people who never understand the value of their existence and who don’t know that they have the right to live the way they want to.

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The book really looks at exploring the fragility of life and all that is in it; I must admit in a world where you life is a constant number of steps towards a goal – a goal you’ve never chosen for yourself and never know there is another way of living, is terrifying and yet we all kind of live in the knowledge that we also have an inevitable end, and the strength that Kathy shows and that we get to experience really put a lot of things into perspective for me.

In terms of the writing style this book really hits me as like McEwan’s Atonement, it has a very slow, tense, movement towards the ending and although I had guessed what was going to happen, it was only after finishing the book and leaving it a day or two that I really understood what the author was doing and what they were attempting to show. I think the author could have woven in more passion, more suspense, more tension but then I think it would have become a book more of cheap thrills than the detached, almost whisper of a book that actually hit me much harder than I could have ever expected it to.

So, this review has gone on long enough – if you’re even a smidgen intrigued, get a copy and settle down for a read; it may not be a perfect 5* book but it will definitely make you think.

Liiiiiinks

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Leave a comment

  1. April 2, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now. Every time I go to see if it’s available at the library I normally go to, it’s always checked out! Your review has only heightened my desire to read it even more. One day…

  2. April 3, 2016 / 1:17 am

    This was one of the first texts I had to read at University. I completely agree with your review, whilst it may not be the most impressive novel, I feel like it has a lot of important questions and ideas that we would perhaps never consider. Great review! 🙂

  3. April 3, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    One of my favourite books, the ending is just so devastating. I think the “flat” writing style is not for everyone, but it builds its own world so wholeheartedly. And it does make you think – it’s not a scenario which is literally plausible, but there are unfortunately different strata in our global society and some do think nothing of exploiting and using those on different levels.

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