NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

neverThis novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (yeah, The Remains of the Day Ishiguro, that guy) is billed as a dystopian science fiction novel.  But, really, it is more about relationships, friends, growing up, our notion of what is reality, and, OK, and about clones.

There.  I said it and I’m glad.  So now you get the idea there will be nothing of Downton Abby in this book;  no butlers, no formal dinner parties, no Upstairs, Downstairs.

It stars a group of young people growing up at an exclusive boarding school in England, and narrated in the first person by one of the young women, Kathy, told as a reminiscence as she, now 31,looks back on her life and the special school, where the staff were referred to amiably as Guardians.  She speaks of when they would grow up and be donors and carers. Donors?  Carers?  Oh dear.

That whole idea is what makes this considered to be dystopian,  but in reality, it is only a background for the story of the personalities of the young people and the several Guardians who administer the school.

I found the method of telling the story somewhat tedious in places;  the narrator is constantly going back to some earlier incident in order to clarify a current episode she is telling us.  The first few times, it was an interesting device.  It became annoying after a while, but since I know nothing about writing techniques, I have tried to rethink this  and discover why this would be more effective than a simple, straight-line telling.  But it began to feel like how a little kid tells you a movie plot:  “then they ran out of the building and jumped in the car and drove away.  Oh, wait!  I forgot to tell you first that before they left the building they had a big fight.  And then they arrived at, no wait.  Before that, they drove around for a while……”   like that. It got kind of irritating.  I wanted to say to the author “Maybe if you made an outline first we wouldn’t have to keep going back to previous scenes.”   But what do I know.  He’s a big deal author.  I just read a lot.

In spite of all that, I really liked the book.  I found it a page turner, with a lot of the reveal dribbling out in tiny bits and pieces, and it isn’t until near the end that we get this big picture and see that yeah, it is a dystopian novel.

Dolly,  the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer.

Dolly, the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer.



6 comments on “NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. KJD says:

    This doesn’t sound like my kind of tale at all.
    Thanks for posting. 🙂

  2. KJD says:

    Oh, and BTW, I get really annoyed at that sort of shoe-horning in of back story during a novel.
    There are other ways of doing it. Like starting the story earlier or using a prologue. Heaven forfend, I did say the P word didn’t I.

    Thanks again, Marti.

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Mhhm, I’m still not sure about this one. The tbr list is already over-long so maybe one to leave at the bottom for a while.

  4. Mary Smith says:

    PS I do like flashbacks but perhaps not ones which are as disorganised as you found this one.

  5. Deb Atwood says:

    I found this book pretty amazing. I listened to it on audio, so my experience might have been different. On audio the reminiscences flowed seamlessly. I recommend this book, but not the movie. From what I’ve heard, the movie spoils the premise early on.

  6. Phoghat says:

    Not my kind of SF, but liked it anyway, bet it becomes a movie before long

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