Never Let Me Go
List Price: $14.00

Our Price: $9.99

You Save: $4.01 (29%)


Product Description

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

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

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.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent, Morally Challenging Story
    Great science fiction presents worlds that have resonance with our own. Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go draws these parallels both physically and morally. The basics of the plot have been recounted (and perhaps spoiled) in many reviews here, so I won't recount it again.

    Never Let Me Go is a story with a secret revealed as each successive chapter peels back layer upon layer the stories of kids who attend a special school for certain special youth in England. The pace is leisurely to the point of being laconic. Ishiguro's prose reads more like romance than science fiction; his voice is unique and refreshing for the genre. Each of the three main characters is fully formed, and each has his or her own special point of view. Each handles his or her own existential journey uniquely.

    The story is morally challenging; I won't go into great detail to avoid spoilers. What I found brilliant about Never Let Me Go is that the reader is morally challenged with each character and the social setting. How the characters meet their fates I felt was especially challenging.

    The book didn't rate five stars with me for two reasons, however. First, the chapters have a rather formulaic structure which wore on me after a while. Second, the laconic pace, though filled with beautiful prose, helped reduce rather than heighten the sense of urgency I thought the characters should have felt late in the book.

    Nevertheless, Never Let Me Go is a touching, poignant, outstanding work worth your reading hours. I highly recommend it....more info
  • heartbreaking and frustrating
    The concept for this novel is utterly original--it is a book difficult to describe without giving away too much of the plot. Instead, you have to dive in knowing nothing and let Ishiguro suck you into a magnificently rendered but horrific secret world. This book is many things--a thwarted love story, a comment on society, a series of disturbing moral questions. I love almost everything Ishiguro does, but this book is perhaps my favorite....more info
  • Excellent moral to story...frustrating book to get through
    I was excited to read this book, having read all the reviews and the note on the cover that it was a Man Booker finalist. This book was interesting until you started to get an idea about what Halisham School was about. At this point you're waiting for something to happen, but it never does. Just endless situations these Halisham students, Ruth, Tommy and Kath find themselves in that, to me, did not advance the story or create suspense. I got bored with the droning narrative. By the time I reached the climatic meeting between the Kath, Tommy and Madame, it was like FINALLY. This was an anticlimax, because nothing new was revealed that you didn't already suspect. The most interesting chapters were the end. It was quite touching to have Tommy and Ruth's fate revealed. The best part of the book was that it made you think about the moral consequences of eugenics. People have souls and should not be used as "parts" to advance science, even if it can saves lives, because ultimatley there is always a death of a human, whether donor or patient. For this message, I'm grateful to the author....more info
  • A Novel Menagerie's Perspective on Never Let Me Go
    The Story Line

    Kathy ("Kath") is a "carer." What, you ask, may that be? A carer is one who takes care of organ donors while they are recuperating. She is the narrator of this novel and shares with the reader her history at a school called Hailsham, located in England's countryside. At Hailsham, Kath is an observant young girl and very sensitive to the feelings of those around her. Her two closest friends are Tommy and Ruth, who eventually couple-up. Despite this coupling, Kath maintains a level of feelings for Tommy.

    Kathy also recounts her time at The Cottages, where a portion of the students from Hailsham went to live upon their graduation from Hailsham. At The Cottages, these "special" students learn more from life experience than from the books they read at Hailsham. This is a time for them to form couples, learn to drive, and make some minor decisions about their future.

    My Review

    Confused? Yeah, I was too until I was 1/2-way into the book! I've read wonderful reviews of this book where the story-line is carefully avoided and a proper review conducted. The best review I've located on this book is at Books on the Brain and I believe that she liked this book. SPOIL ALERT: I'm not going to dance around the story line in this review. So, if you'd like a review which keeps the storyline well protected for future readers, click on over to Books on the Brain and read Lisa's review. Don't return to mine.

    What I am most disappointed about was the lack of what could have been great content to this story. Here's the premise... humans are being "created" in laboratories to serve as organ donors. As they are created in a lab, it is my impression that they are viewed as non-human and "soul-less." After some time had passed, some felt that it was their duty to pull the more "gifted" donors from these labs/farms and raise them in a protected environment in which they could have some semblance of a childhood and young adulthood. All the while, they would be schooled to the fact of what their life purpose was to be... to be an organ donor for the "real humans" (you know, us, the one with souls!). Ugh.

    Let's start with what I did like. The premise of the book is a good one. It's highly thought provoking. I mean, what is it exactly that makes us human? When does God breathe a soul into us? What are the characteristics of human nature that reflect that we have souls and aren't just these electrically charged mechanisms with the ability to have critical thinking? Another thought... is the life of one worth less than the life of another? And, then there's the question of what makes a life complete? What needs to happen in your life for it to be complete, for your life to be exhausted?

    Stay with me. Here's why I didn't like the book. With such an AMAZING premise, much could have been done with this book. This book could have been written with such depth. But, for me, it was BORING. Perhaps if the reader didn't have to get 1/2 way into the book to understand what the book was about, it may have meant more while reading it. To me, this book was "soul-less." The characters were too shallow for me and their motives confusing. The author tries to incorporate a test by which the "guardians" of these donor children of Hailsham would show they actually had souls. They did this by judging their art and poetry. What? So, if I suck at art, I have no soul? Whatever!

    The author gets into details about the donors' sexuality, but never explains why it is that they can't have children. I mean, if they can grow lungs and a spleen, why not an uterus? Are they "fixed" at birth/creation? If so, why? The book never really divulges how these donors derived from their "models," which I found disappointing.

    I think that I could go on for days about what I didn't like about this book. For the positives about it... it did have a thought-intriguing story line (once you understood it). The book was well-written. Oh... that's it for me!

    On Sher's "Out of Ten Scale":

    As you can summarize from the review, this book was NOT my cup of tea. But, one person who reviewed it made a comment on Lisa's review. She stated that this seemed to be the type of book where you either loved it or hated it. I didn't actually "hate" it. But, I definitely did not love it. Let's just say that I would have rather cleaned out the hall closet than read this book. And, I despise my hall closet. Strictly from my PERSONAL viewpoint, I am awarding this book for the genre Fiction: (God Knows What SubGenre), a 5 out of 10.

    ...more info
  • Loved it
    One of my favorite recent sci-fi books. Ishiguro's book particularly appeals to me because of his subtlety. ...more info
  • Interesting and good
    A good, interesting book. I won't mention it here, but I found out about the "secret" before I read it

    There were some parts of this book that I assumed would be explained in more depth, but weren't, in terms of this new world. I expected more exploration of the characters' feelings as clones, etc.

    I also think the tangents were a very mildly exasperating; Kathy would talk about an incident, then go off talking about an incident relating to one detail, then, in the next chapter, she'd resume the original story.

    Ishiguro tends to overexplain emotions and reactions; on some level, some of the emotions are strange and need to be explained, but after so much of it...

    Reminded me of how I felt with Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha; I felt he didn't understand women enough to be able to write as one. The over-explanations seemed to me to be trying to rationalize emotions that should have been more readily apparent.

    I'm not sure if this is just the author's style, or something he adopted with a female protagonist.

    But, all in all, good.
    ...more info
  • Too much psychological introspection
    I listened to the whole thing on CDs in my car. If I had been reading, I would not have finished it. Mostly psychological introspection that goes on and on and on. Too slow. ...more info
  • Don't waste your time
    This is one of the worst books I have ever read. Like many of the other one star reviewers I stuck with it hoping it would eventually get better - believe me it doesn't - ever.

    I usually give my used books to a friend or to a local book exchange - this one I threw into the garbage - to spare anyone else the pain of slogging through some of the worst dialogue ever published.

    Don't waste your time on this pointless, plotless and extremely boring book. ...more info
  • Boring, boring, boring
    Maybe I missed the author's point or something, but I thought this book was a real bore....more info
  • Intelligent but not quite riveting
    "Never let me go" has an interesting premise and is a well-written book. However Ishiguro fails to satisfy or even engage. Given the context, perhaps this was intentional. However, I came away feeling that Ishiguro could have made his point much more effectively in the form of an essay or even a short story. The book does get boring / tedious, and sometimes annoyingly so. To be fair, there are a few thought-provoking moments but all-in-all, fails to fulfil....more info
  • Unique and thought-provoking
    From the very first page, where "Kathy H." the narrator and main character begins to relate her story as a student at Hailsham, the exclusive British boarding school, you know something is different here. The word "carer" and "donor" pops up, and so little by little, Ishiguro intrigues the reader by giving small hints as to what is really occurring in this world. By the time you the reader are enlightened, you are so wrapped up in the intrigue, that you can't put it down. The best description of this book is science fiction, something that is not true, but could be true, as science and medicine progresses and mankind degresses. Imagination and fantasy take hold. What we are missing is the description of the kind of society that would allow this usurping of human beings to occur. We already live in a world where this no longer seems like an impossibility. Using Kathy as the first person narrator, you experience first-hand the students' feelings, emotions, needs, and humanness, which makes it difficult to understand why they so readily accept their fate. However, when I think of other modern and ancient societies, this no longer seems so far-fetched. Woman and slaves who accepted their subservient or oppressed state in life, promoted and encouraged it in the next generation, and still seemed to hope for fulfillment and emotional satisfaction, never rebelling, but living within the society as best they knew how, shows that this is a realistic stance for the author to take. It is all they knew. The enforcement of their fate in this novel is subtle but hidden. The characters are likeable but realistic, revealing human emotions like anger, love, and jealousy. The fact that these are talented and intelligent students makes their fate all the more tragic. My interest was held throughout the novel, and I feel it is one of the most intriguing novels I have ever read. Our book group discussion was most lively and thought-provoking, whether the person loved the book or hated it.

    ...more info
  • Tedious and monotonous
    This soft science fiction book about people raised for organ donations was over-chatty and annoying to read. The narrative in the first person went into painstaking detail about trivial he said, she said conversations that added absolutely nothing to the book. I can read a novel in a weekend if it's a real page turner, but this book doesn't even come close. It took me weeks to get through the book. The characters are very unbelievable. I kept waiting for some sort of conflict or turn of events to happen, hoping there would be an important conclusion, but one never came. Overall, the book felt like a one-sided, never ending, tedious monologue. I don't recommend it unless you enjoy bland, uneventful writing....more info
  • a different kind of horror story
    At first glance, the book describes the mundane details of the
    lives of three people whose only purpose in life is to serve as
    organ donors. The pace is deliberate - the book is a series of
    small events and anecdotes which on their own would be completely
    insignificant. However, as we slowly realize that we are witnessing
    cattle being brought to slaughter - cattle that is fully aware of its
    fate - the effect of these mundane episodes becomes chilling.

    I don't think this is a book just about cloning and clones, or even
    just about the role of science in our society. I see it as a comment
    on the relation we have towards each other, and other living beings
    in general.

    I came to this book right after reading "Haunted" by Chuck Palahniuk,
    and the contrast between the two just could not be greater. The final
    effect of Palahniuk's raging prose is much more fleeting than the
    Ishiguros' understated writing.
    ...more info
  • Great pace, great original storyline...
    at first I was like "Oh I've heard this before", but I was SO wrong. This is a great has a great pace and you really get a sense of the characters as well as connect with them. You will move through this one pretty fast and I definitely recommend it. I will be looking for more titles from this author....more info
  • Beautifully heartbreaking
    The title of this work just said, "You must read this; it will be difficult, but read it." And that was so true. I purchased the book, not fully understanding what it was about or how it would unfold. I loved the author and trusted that it would be a worthwhile journey but still let the book sit on the shelf until I felt brave enough to venture in.
    From the first page you know that there is something that you don't know. You are told the "where" and the "when" and yet you know that the story of these lives is much more complicated. The mystery compels you to continue reading until you are completely committed to the characters; you are right there with them as the truth and tragedy of their lives is revealed. The story is crafted to be incredibly personal and yet it deals with huge issues that we, as a scientific society on our current path, must thoughtfully consider. The manner in which the author weaves the question of humanity and the soul with the intimate lives of these people is both profound and brilliant. ...more info
  • A warning
    I'm an Ishiguro fan, and found this to be among his best books. But it is also the most upsetting one I can remember reading - uncomfortably close to reality in this country where some lives are worth so much more than others, and the very rich actually do travel to less "developed" countries to buy organs. (I can't imagine why other reviewers said it was preposterous!) I identified with and grew more and more fond of the narrator, so I tried to deny the reality of her role in life until it became impossible to escape. I'm an English professor with a high degree of tolerance for miserable books, but I was devastated, had nightmares for weeks, and still refuse to discuss it lest I return to that state. In short, although I admire this book and marvel at the author's ability to write in so many different ways and inhabit such different characters, I cannot recommend it to anyone but completely impervious readers....more info
  • Zzzzzzzz.....
    Wow. If you want a book that never EVER comes to a climax, this is the book for you. Honestly one of the most boring books I have ever read. It had a slow start, a slow middle, and right up until the last page...SLOW. I had to finish it because it was my book club read. Ugh. If you want to torture yourself read this book. This book could have been written in about 1/2 the amount of pages used. It does not evoke one amount of emotion in my body. I'm not sure why all the good reviews!?

    The book is written in the first person, by Kathy and all she does is talk about what she says to another character, how she felt when she said it, before she said it and after she said it. And, then talks about the other character's response, how she THINKS they felt, how they really felt and years later how one thing she said had an effect. Bored yet? That's the ENTIRE book. ...more info
  • Thought-provoking and highly moving
    A disturbing book, which I had not expected to like as much as I did. I don't want to reveal plot details here, but I knew enough about the plot before reading the book to have some misgivings. But I was drawn in to care about what happened to the characters. Despite the potential for bleakness, this book actually had the opposite effect on me, and I found it quite uplifting (though very sad) by the time I finished it.

    Ishiguro's writing is beautiful, as always....more info
  • all the ways we ache for something real
    Just the most amazing work: much deeper than the story which is mostly a rough fable regarding real life. Simply: like poetry. The message is so bone deep and complex. This author is a genius. If you want raw pain and raw truth, elegantly told. No future and what would you do with this if you were young and naturally inclined to believe? This spins off to being about any age, race or gender and being shut down. This is a universal human statement, when the powers that be cut you up before you can live. it I can't describe how perfect it is....more info
  • Disturbing and Lovely, and Lovely in its Disturbance
    I picked this book up randomly out of a pile and read the first page of the book before the synopsis on the back. I was immediately captivated by the voice of the main character, which is strong in its simplicity. I read the book quickly. I found the book beautiful, sad, and pointed. There is a clear message here, which is echoed through, as another reviwer pointed out, the works of Margaret Atwood (though i thought more of Oryx and Crake than the HandMaid's Tale), as well as George Orwell and even The Giver. It is a tale of a world gone wrong. It is the kind of book that reminds us of temptation - it is tantalizing to think one could grow new organs for oneself, cure cancer, and thereby prolong life. It is traumatizing to think that these organs must come from living beings. Ishiguro explores all of these deep seated psychological and scientific issues ironically, by ignoring them. All of this - that humans are cloned, raised (and the words separate but equal couldn't help but whisper at the back of my mind), and then systematically killed as their internal organs are harvested one by one. What the story focuses on, rather, is the story of kis growing up. Bewildered by the world of adults, exploring fantasies, exploring each other, forming friendships, and falling in love. It is a coming of age novel, but one that is suffused with suspense from the first page. You can't believe whats going to happen will actually happen so you keep reading to prove yourself wrong. Or right. Either way, suddenly you find yourself in the last pages of the novel, which, and I hope this doesn't spoil too much, is anti-climactic in a dramatic way. All in all, I thought the book rather well done. I did find myself wanting to shake the main character out of her calm demeanor on more than one occasion, but this is part of the point of the novel, I think. All in all, its a read that will stay with you for many days after you finish it.......more info
  • An Engaging, Melancholy Allegory
    Okay, this is not a perfect book, but it is well worth the time. And the reviewers who complain about "plot holes" (i.e. Why didn't they just leave?) miss what is so heartbreaking about the story: escaping their fate never even occurs to the students. Their biggest dream is deferring donations for a few years (not avoiding them completely), which speaks to how well they have been indoctrinated. Even the "do-gooders" don't want to save the clones, just make their life more acceptable until their time comes.

    The clones' life is in many ways an extreme version of the average humans' life, given that everyone must grow up, grow apart from friends, and in many ways, do what we "should" do. Like a lot of great sci-fi, Never Let Me Go presents an allegory that throws into relief universal issues: love, friendship, memory, childhood, social and familial obligations, aging and dying. This is not to say that the book is ponderous and heavy. It is an engaging page turner that makes you think and may make you cry.
    ...more info
  • Not worth it
    By the second chapter I was wondering how The Sunday Times could have called this "The year's most remarkable novel", unless this was faint praise and the publisher's had pulled the phrase out of context. By the third chapter the premise of the book was obvious and I kept thinking it might get better. It didn't ... the characters just seem to meander along in an aimless daze letting their fate arrive. I didn't bother to finish the book - I have better things to do....more info
  • A Book to Make You Think
    This is a fascinating story and I recommend it to readers who aren't afraid to think about where science may be taking us and how important ethics are when faced with new scientific possibilities. It's a good read but prepare yourself to be shocked when you find out what's going on....more info
  • Different, but good.
    Although this isn't a book that I would pick out of the shelf to read on my own, it was recommended by my English teacher, and I was able to read it as part of an assignment.
    At first I didn't enjoy the first part of the book because it had a very slow begining and Kazuo Ishiguro likes to keep the reader in question about what it is that is going on in the book. But as the book continues to evolve you start understanding what is going on between the three main characters which are involved in a triangle-shaped friendship.
    Once you reach a certain point of the book where everything is making sense and is unraveling, you get interested in the book, and it's one of those that you don't want to put down, because you wanna see what's going to happen next.
    The book is mainly about the exploitation of clones and what would happen if we focused on technology and did such a thing, which most people are probably against. It tells the story of a "carer", Kathy, and she shares with us her experience as a child and as she grows up and shares many experiences with Ruth, her dominating friend, and Tommy her "best-guy" friend. The book is full of surprises, and for those of you that have seen the movie, "the Island" it is very similar to it, and if you like science fiction and things like that, I really recommend this book, its a fast, easy read. This book is mostly meant for more adults because of the content that it has, that many parents may not want their younger children to read. ...more info
  • Had Potential...
    When I had to choose a book to read from a list for my English class, this seemed like the most interesting one. When I read the back cover, it sounded really mysterious. I couldn't guess at all what it would be about. You don't actually find out what the book is about until about halfway into it. When I first started reading it, I was so confused, and it tempted me to put the book down. The author just kind of dives right into the story, without introducing characters or a storyline or anything; but that's what the whole book is- figuring everything out. I thought this book had a lot of potential. It was a really good concept, and different from other books about cloning. Once you learn that the characters are clones, though, the story kind of goes downhill. On top of that, without spoiling it, there is a relationship you're expecting to happen the entire time you're reading, and it's never carried out completely. The book wasn't boring, but I thought that overall it was disappointing....more info
  • compelling but disturbing
    kathy is a student at an exclusive boarding school. she seems more focused on the ups and downs of her friendships than the dark reality of the life she faces. her best friends are ruth, manipulative yet somehow endearing, and tommy, short tempered but sweet.

    the students live in a reality different than ours, one with little personal freedom and a hopeless future. they spend their time creating art and fantasizing about impossible careers. their world is so small that they get excited over almost nothing. a boat, for example, is the thrill of a lifetime.

    this book made me realize that we all do this. we fantasize about sudden wealth, or doing things we know we won't do. we worry about someone's opinion of us, or whether a friend is mad at us. this is the day-to-day drama of our lives, despite the fact that we face an uncertain future and that we will probably experience extreme misery before we die (and we will all die).

    ishiguro is very good at writing from a female perspective. not all male authors can do this. even some great writers (cormac mccarthy comes to mind) don't write many female characters. ishiguro's narrator, kathy, is very sensitive to everything her friend ruth says or does. she attributes motivations to her friend's posture and every word. the friendship is like a game of chess, and the girls become closer and then further apart. is this the way girls think? i really have no idea, because i'm a guy!...more info
  • Submit to Surreal Suspense...
    Give in to this book and be completely manipulated by a brilliant author. He will tease you with bread crumbs as you follow the lives of Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. You must suspend your disbelief that this story takes place in 20th century England. (Is there an alternate universe?) But you won't care, because you will be enthralled by the narrative. You will catch glimpses of yourself and your friends as teenagers trying to figure it all out. You may find yourself questioning what a "normal" life is. Though the ending may lack a "happily-ever-after," you will be glad you experienced the lives of these innocents, who are just as "doomed" as we are....more info
  • To me, it's not just about the cloned kids.
    This book is very disturbing. At first, I was very sad about the fate of the three main characters and my attention dwelt on questioning the morality of cloning. But when I reached the part when Tommy said "...It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever." In this sense, what is the difference between them and us? The "students" worked hard on their art, on poetry, on creativity but in the end, all are futile. All of them are doomed to die upon the 4th donation at the latest. How about us? We work hard through school and work. In the end, what does all that matter? No matter how much two people love each other, one thing is certain and that is "we can't stay together forever." For Kath and Tommy, it might be 3 months. To us, it might be 30 years but in the end, our end is the same. No escape. ...more info
  • Creepy and Deeply Touching Mood, Unforgettable Narration
    I didn't expect to read "Never Let Me Go." I'd found it cheap at a used book store, thought it would stay on my shelf indefinitely. Well I don't know how it was when you read "Never Let Me Go", but 3 days ago before work, I'm a realtor so I don't have to in until 10, I picked it up for something to read while my bath filled up, and suddenly, without warning, I read 50 pages. Reader it takes me two weeks to read a 100 page novella most times, so believe me when I tell you that Kazuo Ishiguro is a FLAWLESS stylist. By noon the tears streamed down my face while I read over a little girl telling lies about a pencil case.

    Beyond that I hesitate to comment on this completely Gothic book. It's a great work of art. You will see what you want to in the allegory of this book's not-so-secret plot twist. (Personally I was reminded of the conditions of young people in poverty- dreams of banal jobs, inability to plan outside of the future that's set ahead of them, a resignation to their fate) But you can't argue with the pathos of the situation, of how Ishiguro invokes a world that systematically and totally dehumanizes certain of its members. Ishiguro wrings every last drop of patheticness out of this situation. Is that why its so effectively creepy? By the end you realize that we were the only one's who didn't know what was going on, the characters knew for the most part the whole time, and the plot points weren't what the book was about anyway.

    What's really shocking is the narration. Kathy H's narration is this purposely bland, not so clever prose, while simultaneously being so limpid, and fluid. I could not put the book down. I was impersonating Kathy H to every person I had more than a five minute conversation with. It was too much! Will the voice ever leave me?

    A note: I played Philip Glass's soundtrack to the much underrated horror film "Candyman" while I read this. It hyped up the creepy, and the pathetic sooooo much more. Try it yourself!

    I may even reread it......more info
  • One of my top 5 favorite novels
    It's not often that I read a book that reminds me why I like to read so much. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is one of those books. I can't give you a synopsis without completely ruining it for you, but trust me when I say that it is everything that it seems, but more importantly, it is nothing that you'd expect. It follows the life of the narrator, Kath, through her memories of her friends in boarding school and beyond, yet there is a dark secret that the author only let's you in on gradually. It is a secret that really makes you think about science, morality, and what it means to be human. It is a story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same.

    This is officially in my top 5 list of favorite novels! ...more info
  • Compelling but ultimately disappointing
    Warning: spoiler

    While this book is completely compelling while reading it, and keeps the plot gradually unfurling up to the end, it is ultimately disappointing. It makes absolutely no logical sense in the end, if you think about it for 5 minutes.

    The whole concept of 4 staged donations and carers on which the plot is based would have no place in a society that raised clones simply to use their organs. Why would they bother to take one organ at a time and pay the expenses of recovery, carers, food, clothing, shelter, etc. for years on end? They would simply have harvested all the important organs at once and been done with it.

    I know, this isn't the real world, and the book is all about suspense, characterization, imbuing the ordinary with nuance and mystery, and is not intended to be logical in any sense, but in my opinion, if you are going to try to write something thought-provoking, it needs to stand up to some thought without completely crumbling into an impossible illogicality.

    The characters were shown to have every human attribute except fertility and their complete passivity and resignation to their fate just seemed completely contradictory to the rest of their character.

    There were many things that seemed "off" emotionally. The people who were "helping" the clones expressed extreme fear and repugnance for them, and this also didn't ring true to me - if they saw the clones as human and having a soul, what was the source of their fear and repulsion? None of it rang true or seemed emotionally realistic in the end, particularly after the explanations given by the two guardians in the climactic scene.

    I was reminded of the recent movie The Island about clones with a similar purpose who find out what they are and immediately start planning an escape from their fate. This book couldn't be further from that mindset - and while that movie wasn't realistic by any means, it at least seemed more emotionally authentic.

    We are supposed to be moved by the fate of the three characters, or what is the point of the book? But because none of the facts of their life make any sense in the end, I just felt manipulated and strung along....more info
  • "Never Let Me Go" won't let me go...
    I can't say I've read all the reviews (237 so far) of "Never Let Me Go{ but I'm beginning to get the gist of most of them, and in most respects I agree. Ishiguro is a first-rate wordsmith, and his ability to understate while speaking volumes dazzles me. Already I am looking forward to his next book, which could be a cookbook and I'll still read it cover to cover because I know it will be that good.

    I feel compelled to speak up about a couple of points, however, because they seem to be escaping most of the reviewers. First is all the talk of souls or no souls: do cloned people have souls or not? You can't answer this question until you define what a soul is, and that, indirectly, is the main objective of this novel. Kathy, Tommy and Ruth are not under the microscope to demonstrate that they possess souls; they are the mirror reflecting back to us whether or not *we* possess souls. In Ishiguro's novel, "creativity" and "art" are used to demonstrate the breadth of a person's soul, but none of the "Guardians" (symbolic stand-ins for you and me) ever create anything. Instead they hoard the student's art to admire in private, presumably to make up for their own lack of creativity/soul? (Is there a parallel here between the writer (with much soul) and the reader (with little soul))? At every turn, the students more than demonstrate their capacity to possess a soul, while the "Guardians" demonstrate their lack of one. While useful to advance the ideals of the novel, I personally doubt such black and whiteness would be the case in real life.

    My second point is "this is Logan's Run all over again but with a different ending." Why don't the students flee when they discover finally the terrible fate that awaits them? Some have suggest that they, like sheep, don't know they have the option. Looking again at the larger picture I have to ask who among us is brave enough to flee their mundane existence for a chance at a new life? For the few that have made the attempt, sit down and be quiet. I'm speaking to the great majority who comprise the rest, people who recognize that all the students had to do was take off to parts unknown and live out their lives in freedom, just like anyone who complains about their daily existence can do... and yet they all fail to act. The answer is complex but is rooted in the concept of "our place in the world" and personal inertia which resists change, even away from a bad situation. Judge not, then, etc.

    As some of my fellow reviewers have stated, I was interested in knowing how this alternate world functioned. What laws were enacted that enabled the homicide of the clones for organ harvesting? There is allusion to horrific conditions for non-Hailsham clones but no detail (the couple who took the students to Norfolk were from another facility and could have shared their story...); I wanted those potential hells enumerated, not as a sermon but as a spotlight to show the unimaginative just how bad this alternative world could get. There was opportunity for comparisons and contrasts, for conflict, for societal examination that were lost in the understatement, and the knowledge of that loss is probably what leads everyone to put down the book at the end feeling as if they missed something important.

    That leads me to issue my verdict about the "meaning" of this novel. The author states it explicitly twice and implicitly every time the title of the novel is mentioned: we need to cling to our sense of morality, the "old way" of looking at all life as precious (cloned or not) and never go over to the view that some people are expendable for the benefit of others (a slope we are already slip-sliding down). If you believe in the sanctity of the soul, stand up and be counted; otherwise, you are a sheep and deserve your lot in life.

    ...more info
  • beautiful and sad
    I read this book on the recommendation of a friend and was surprised at how much this book affected me. This book follows the story of a group of 3 friends that are raised in a sort of school for clones as told by the main character Kathy. The novel follows them through their transitions into their world. The book is very sad once you understand the way they go through their lives and accept and understand their ultimate fates. The novel really makes you evaluate your views on cloning. It has moments of joy and sadness that really do stir your emotions....more info
  • Deep and emotional
    I loved this book. I should say that it's not a book for everyone since it sometimes drags along with a lot of `every day life' detail. I can see some people getting bored, but I decided to take the book for what it was worth; I realized early on the value of the story pacing because I knew in the end it would personalize me more the characters in such a way that I could understand their mindset. I lived their life with them. There has been some criticism of this book that no character rebelled against their fate as eventual organ donors, that everyone just seemed to accept that one day they would become donors and then die. I feel that this criticism is misguided. How are people to know what the world is like when they've been conditioned to live and think one way? From the day these clones were `born,' they were raised to believe and live one way. That they accepted their fate is no different from the way that we accept our own. One can't expect characters to manifest deep philosophical thought about something they have no knowledge of whatsoever. In so many dystopia novels, people do rebel against the order in place and this is what readers come to expect. Why should it always be the case? Why should every one of these books be about the destruction of a misguided society? Can't it just be a snapshot in the process? The lives of a few people involved but not earth shattering? The characters never went into long speeches about how unfair their lives were, they just lived life, enjoyed what they could, but always knew they would die for the sake of others. To tell the truth, I couldn't stand to read the last page. It actually hurt to read them. I didn't want the book to end because I knew what would happen, I knew what would become of the characters. It wasn't even their sadness that I absorbed more than it was my own sadness that this was all that their lives were about....more info
  • Strange but captivating
    Never Let Me Go follows the narrator Kathy and her friends Tommy and Ruth through their youth in an English boarding school to their stay as young adults in a sort of wooded commune to their ultimate reunion as adults. Sound strange? This book is!

    Though their lives at the boarding school are sheltered, the three children and the reader receive subtle clues that all is not well. I don't want to spoil anything, so suffice it to say that Never Let Me Go is a strange mix of sci-fi, social commentary, and a coming of age story.

    This may not be an enjoyable read, but it is certainly a unique one....more info
  • The livestock's point of view
    * Some spoilers *

    This is an excellent, thoughtful, and disturbing novel written with minor sprinklings of science fiction. The sci-fi element really isn't important though, as it's just a very subtle background for a character-driven story from a point of view that we often ignore: the lambs, cows, and other animals that humans consume and use on a daily basis. A natural question that stems from this novel is why the 'students' don't just run away or rebel against the system? Well, why don't cows (or slaves) just run away? Because they've been domesticated to serve, and that's their entire life. It's saddening and disturbing to think that while the students are seemingly normal (filled with friendship, happiness, and sadness), their entire goal in life is be a good carer and a good donor before 'completing.' Even those characters that seem to have strong will and vent their frustrations (Ruth and Tommy) accept their lives without argument.

    Excellent story.

    ...more info
  • A tearjerker that you won't be able to put down
    This unabashed tragedy is a subtle work of complete mastery. Ishiguro paints a melancholy picture of the future with careful strokes that leave the reader hoping against all odds that the protagonist will escape her fate. As I read this novel, I could feel the tension rise as Ishiguro gradually exposed his characters to their fate. As the dread of the inevitable increases in intensity, Ishiguro builds a counterbalancing sense of hope that somehow, just this once, tragedy will be averted.

    And even though this is a work of fiction, it is not hard to draw parallels to the fate of the impoverished, diseased, or otherwise afflicted untouchables that inhabit our world. Ishiguro introduces us to an imaginary world just beyond what we commonly see, and in so doing reminds us that much of our own prosperity is built on the bleached bones of the oppressed. The painful, short lives they lead are somehow similar to the lives of the characters in his novel. And the noble, stoic way they accept their fate is a testimony to the concepts of justice and fairness that we human creatures assume is our birthright.

    So sad! So true! Thankfully Ishiguro spares us from observing the final sequence. That is as close to a happy ending as this novel can deliver. We are left with a shred of hope....more info
  • A slow read but of high literary importance

    Warning: Contains Spoilers and Plot details

    The novel, Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro is a tale of a future dystopian society, which we may face due to our excessive nature of consuming. The setting takes place in Britain where the world is seemingly at peace with its military conflicts, but the consequences of violence mounts high when grave injuries and diseases threaten the fate of humanity. The solution... to breed clones for each human body ensures that for every wound there is a solution without fail. Yet, with the widespread acceptance of the human cloning industry, what does the human race think of its counterpart? Nothing. Although the answer is cruel and backlashes on every aspect of human morality, our instinct to survive desensitizes humans to guilt as someone may think after an organ operation, `Did I kill someone for this kidney?' or `Is there a part of myself that died without me ever knowing it?' Such thoughts can be a crippling blow to one's morale, yet since the process of cloning is such an efficient way to ensure survival, the human race allows it to flourish no matter what the cost.

    As the humans may see clones as expendable resources, yet there are some other reasons why they are not welcomed in society. Much like slaves and immigrants in the past, clones are considered to be "sub-humans" of this futuristic society. They are used then thrown away when they are no longer of use. One of the obvious differences that stand out about the clone, Kathy, is the misspelling of some of her words. She would spell civilize as "civilise" and realize as "realise." Although it is not a remarkable difference, society never fails to notice people's faults. Whenever an outsider makes an appearance, the people of society fear that he/she is a threat to their existence. Out of fear and ignorance, society criticizes anything that the outsider may do uncommonly; in this case, making a few spelling errors. As the slaughtering of clones continues, the question of whether or not they are human is raised. And to decide the debate, Hailsham steps forward. The students of Hailsham or clones are taught to be creative in the arts. Its operation was to prove that these clones were in fact human beings with souls, even though they were a "science experiment." However, no matter what Hailsham proves by having "students" create magnificent works, such as this book, humanity continues to bury itself in denial.

    Every student of Hailsham is told what their sole purpose in life is from infancy. For Kathy to mention this rather calmly it may come as a surprise to the reader. In fact, this is one of Ishiguro's main themes. When there is an aggressor that asserts its power, it is common for any animal, including humans, to be submissive to that aggressor. Why the students had not seen beyond the walls of Hailsham was to keep them like ants in an ant-farm. The forest is another method of keeping the students under control, considering that if they even dare so venture outside Hailsham they could die in the process. The unwritten rules had kept student from inquiring the mysterious ways and the weekly examinations made sure their organs were healthy when the transplants were to be made. Kathy's role as "peacekeeper" is an example of their mind control. If the guardians were to encourage individualism, then the students wouldn't be like lemmings and, follow who ever was in lead. Yet, the most shocking thing in this book is that the students have enough opportunities to leave and run for their lives, but do not. It seems easier just to stay and go with the flow and not revolt. The clones just give up and wait to die like cattle. This is the fine line where Ishiguro separates himself from other more "American" works, which encourage individualism such as the movie "The Island" or "I-Robot."

    Hailsham was both a prison and shelter. It was a separate community for the clones to grow and be treated like normal humans in a safe haven that shielded them from the outside world's prejudice. Nevertheless, Hailsham never let them forgot that their fate hung over their heads like a haunting shadow. And to make sure, every guardian, student, and unwritten rule subliminally kept them in line so that they may give up quietly and without fret. In doing so, these clones will submit their lives as human sacrifices for the survival of the human race.

    ...more info
  • Won't ever fade
    "...complaining about how memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don't go along with that. The memories I value most, I don't see them ever fading. I lost Ruth, and I lost Tommy, but I won't lose my memories of them."

    For a novel that packs so much broiling emotion in theme and plot, it's surprising that among so many waiting-to-boil paragraphs, this relatively tame passage are the most impactful words in the whole novel. The rest are very controlled, bordering on the absurd. From a title that is very strong... the novel goes on a very timed and restrained prose. In the dispassionate text, you'll want a volcano that is about to explode, but it never happens... AND THAT's WHERE THE MAGIC IS.

    Perhaps it's the natural style by Ishiguro to deliver broiling emotion by leaving 80% unsaid. And since the narrative is first person, it is perfect for the protagonist's grab for empathy from us readers. The injustice, wrongness, and sadness of it all carries on on how Kathy presents their ultimately-oppressed lives, like natural, reality, everyday news.

    This novel is also relatively short compared with other of Ishiguro's work. It seems like a quick read, but the other review is correct in saying that it stays on you for a long time afterwards.

    Just suspend your Science, Social, and Governmental Regulations clamors (arguing against how realistic the novel is), and enjoy how great Literature can be with novels like this.

    Very sad, yes, but how can you widen perspective with just happy endings?
    ...more info
  • Won't ever fade
    "...complaining about how memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don't go along with that. The memories I value most, I don't see them ever fading. I lost Ruth, and I lost Tommy, but I won't lose my memories of them."

    For a novel that packs so much broiling emotion in theme and plot, it's surprising that among so many waiting-to-boil paragraphs, this relatively tame passage are the most impactful words in the whole novel. The rest are very controlled, bordering on the absurd. From a title that is very strong... the novel goes on a very timed and restrained prose. In the dispassionate text, you'll want a volcano that is about to explode, but it never happens... AND THAT's WHERE THE MAGIC IS.

    Perhaps it's the natural style by Ishiguro to deliver broiling emotion by leaving 80% unsaid. And since the narrative is first person, it is perfect for the protagonist's grab for empathy from us readers. The injustice, wrongness, and sadness of it all carries on on how Kathy presents their ultimately-oppressed lives, like natural, reality, everyday news.

    This novel is also relatively short compared with other of Ishiguro's work. It seems like a quick read, but the other review is correct in saying that it stays on you for a long time afterwards.

    Just suspend your Science, Social, and Governmental Regulations clamors (arguing against how realistic the novel is), and enjoy how great Literature can be with novels like this. Very sad, yes, but how can you widen perspective with just happy endings?
    ...more info
  • Will stay with you for days
    Haunting, yet devoid of gratuitous gruesomeness one would expect given the subject matter. Ishiguro plays all the emotional chords very well: this is possibly the least British (and most Japanese) of his books, and I think the comparison with Murakami's "Norwegian Wood" mood setting is inevitable. Original, masterfully done: I don't give him five stars just because the setting is one bit too artificial, and the author does not care about responding to some obvious questions any intelligent reader would come up with....more info
  • His best book yet, a new departure, a new Ishiguro
    I have read 4 or 5 of Ishiguro's novels and for me this one was much bigger, fuller, more alive in its scope and humanity than the ones before (and even before I thought he was one of the best authors of our time, equalled, to me, only by Anne Michaels, although I haven't formally studied English).

    Whilst all the books I have read were in the first person, in this one he manages to use, for me, the first person almost as a third person window on events, even though the voice is always in the dark, looking for answers to the questions that maybe we are all looking for answers to. This "third person window" is not all-knowing as they sometimes are, but has a detached, not-giving answers aspect and feels therefore powerful, frightening, tension creating, demanding you read on.

    In previous books the narrator's characters and "flaws" seem to frame their engagement with their lives and therefore the outcomes of the books. In this book, it is the narrator's lack of knowledge and age, and how these interact (and how you see her as young and in the hands of something bigger, of which she is only slowly aware) which moves the plot and the reader's desire to "find out" what this bigger thing is.

    Whereas in previous books, the narrators seem quite particular people, in this the narrator seems so normal, the way her childhood is somehow simultaneously experienced and recalled seems, to me, the way I experience the remembering of my growing up, the way I am always re-visiting, re-making my memories in my trying to understand things which I seem to always have felt to some extent I didn't understand, influences on me which were bigger and hidden.

    It was the achievement of this sensation which made the book outstanding for me, the plot being a vehicle for it. But the plot is very very gripping in itself, and when you do "find out", the answers definately do not dissapoint the tension which has created the desire to know, something I maybe felt with one of Ishiguro's previous books....more info
  • Sensitive, ultimately credible
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a compelling portrait of people on the downside of a dystopia. Like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale or J G Ballard's Kingdom come, Never Let me Go is built around an abhorrent aspect of social organisation. Crucially, in all three books, the focus of the subject matter is merely an extension of a facet of our own society. Fertility issues provide the material for The Handmaid's Tale, while brainless consumerism fuelled Kingdom Come. Kazuo Ishiguro's subject matter has a medical focus that provides an essentially more credible idea than either of the two other works mentioned. Eventually Ballard's vision cannot be maintained by his scant material, whereas Margaret Atwood's is strengthened by the credibility of its own downside. Ishiguro's story line is strong enough in itself to maintain interest, credibility and drama from start to finish. There is real humanity in this story.

    The book begins in Hailsham, an obviously special school set in an idyllic corner of the English countryside. But this is clearly no ordinary education. We follow the fortunes of three of its students, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. We see them grow up, make their fumbling transformation from childhood to adolescence and then embark upon the stuttering unpredictability of young adulthood. Hailsham's students have to learn how to deal with their own shortcomings and how to manage their talents. They must cope with sometimes strained relations with their teachers, especially in the area of reconciling what they want to do versus what seems to be demanded of them, and thus what they are allowed to attempt. They become aware of sex and introduce themselves to its world in their own ways at different times, each of them reacting differently to their experience.

    So what makes these people so special? Well, for a start they live protected lives. They never appear to need any money, nor possessions, for that matter, what little they do have being recycled ad infinitum via a system of almost formal barter. They seem to be protected from fashion, consumerism, family break-up, mass media and even street life. Surely there is something strange about them, despite their apparently normal physical, mental and psychological characteristics.

    Not until about half way through the book does the reader start to fill in the blanks. But by the end the dreadful picture is complete, and rendered even more frightening by its complete credibility. To find out the nature of the plot, you will have to read the book, but, though I have stressed the importance of the overall concept's contribution to the book's success, it is not the subject matter that makes this a superb novel. It is the characterisation, the empathy that the reader develops with Kathy and Tommy and the sympathy that their tragedy eventually engenders. The context served to amplify these responses, not blur or confuse them. It is this quality that makes never Let Me Go a completely memorable and highly moving read.

    ...more info
  • it's actually a horror story;
    just a warning: if you don't like horror stories (as I do not), don't read this book, because that's what it is. I love Remains of the Day, so I don't know what happened to Ishiguro here. Writer's block, or a book contract to be fulfilled with something, probably......more info
  • Stunning.
    My goodness, what can I say about this book? It is gloomy, sometimes funny, comtemplative, but no matter what emotion you have when reading this book, even the positive ones, it is tinged with a deep sense of sadness.

    Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are students at an elite school in Hailsham and it is constantly stressed to them how special they are. Their school is also spoken of with great esteem and appears to be very well regarded. The students lives are characteristic of most boarding school kids. They study, fight with each other, gossip about their classmates and teachers and dream of the careers they will have when they leave school. But in all of this you will sense something odd that for a long time you can't quite put your finger on. One of the most puzzling things to me as I read, was the lack of mention of parents or guardians coming to visit. There was never really talk of "home", a common theme with kids at boarding school. Very, very slowly you begin to realize what is actually happening and then you are filled with horror. Indeed these children are special but not in the way we were all led to believe.

    I do not want to say too much because I do not want to reveal anything important but I was left reeling after reading this book. Though I have not read any of Ishiguro's writing before this, I will definitely seek his work out because he is a brilliant writer. There were many times,I felt like I was physically in the book, as if I was experiencing the situations myself.

    When the truth of the situation dawned on me, I kept wondering why the people involved never seem to contemplate the idea of escaping. The characters seem to be unaware of the idea of freewill, its like they have been programmed to accept their fate and never resist it. Kathy, our guide through this tale is sympathetic and tragic at the same time. At the end of the day regardless of the actual facts on the table, this book is about the unique relationship between these three friends and how it evolves over the years.

    I HIGHLY recommend this book but be warned, its depressing....more info
  • Let's Get Real
    I cannot share the enthusiasm for this novel that some have expressed here. In my view, Ishiguro's plot is thin, his characters are flat -- take a look at the large-eyed young woman represented on the cover: is she a robot, a Stepford wife of the English variety perhaps? -- to the point that they come across as mostly inhuman, and the author barely explores the ethical issue -- are there limits on the uses of science that society should respect? -- which he raises.

    Let's start with the open secret that this is a novel about cloned human beings. You will realize that long before the word "clones" is ever used, about twenty pages before the end, and that suggests a problem with the author's pacing or foreshadowing. The story is told from the point of view of Kathy, a young graduate of Hailsham (does that Dickensian name indicate the author's take on the ethical issue: will any good ever come from a sham?), an English boarding school now closed. Hailsham's students and graduates are unusually compliant souls. They do what they're told, which is strange considering that there is no mention of how they were socialized prior to their arrival at Hailsham. They accept their lot with a minimum of struggle or angst. Meanwhile, their "guardians" -- the teachers at Hailsham -- impose various rules, collect samples of the students' artwork for mysterious purposes, and wrestle with inner demons of their own.

    The elegiac mood which some have praised in this work stems from the inevitability of its central characters' barren lives. There is little dramatic tension or movement in the novel. Once the secret is formally revealed, the book just fades away. To me this is a weakness, not a strength.

    Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day was widely hailed -- there's that word again -- as a semi-outsider's rejection of the English class system and of its underlings' clinging to their place in society long after their place achieved any benefit for them. Never Let Me Go can be read for a similar subtext. Only a cruel and dying society would create human beings, with or without souls, to be exploited. For me there is too little insight in that vision, and Ishiguro's literary style is too unadorned to make up for his paucity of ideas. ...more info
  • Immensely Tragic, Heartrendingly Sad
    There are two reasons why the story of "Never Let Me Go" is stunningly sad, immensely and heart-wrenchingly tragic. First, it is the context of the advancement in selfish, irresponsible, dehumanizing genetic technology, hailed as the best hope for humanity to conquer diseases and aging, yet ironically at the expense of the dignity of humanity itself, and the many precious souls who are the products of this God-less brilliance; represented by the main characters in this book; Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. Here the bigger picture is a depraved inhumanity; wherein though seemingly "very good, more scientific, and more efficient" and I should add, "more pragmatic" from the outside according to "Madame," but in reality "a harsh and cruel world" (p.272). Second, it is the vivid exposure of the natural humaneness that Ishiguro displays so exquisitely in the lives of those who are the victims of this horrid inhumanity. The atrociousness is exacerbated precisely by this natural humanness springing up from their personality, aspirations, and shattered dreams, which is even more ironically more humane than those supposedly the "real" human beings who are responsible for their existence intended to supply spare parts. The implications of this novel are huge. It wakes us up and asks ourselves the question, "What is a human being and what is his or her dignity?" I echo what Chuck Colson said in his review, "I recommend this book for adults and older teens (there's some material here that is not suitable for younger children), and I encourage you to share it with people who don't fully understand the cloning issue. Never Let Me Go is a powerful work of art that, by impacting the imagination, reaches us at the deepest level, which is often more powerful than the best scientific and political arguments."
    ...more info
  • Immensely Tragic, Heartrendingly Sad
    There are two reasons why the story of "Never Let Me Go" is stunningly sad, immensely and heart-wrenchingly tragic. First, it is the context of the advancement in selfish, irresponsible, dehumanizing genetic technology, hailed as the best hope for humanity to conquer diseases and aging, yet ironically at the expense of the dignity of humanity itself, and the many precious souls who are the products of this God-less brilliance; represented by the main characters in this book; Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. Here the bigger picture is a depraved inhumanity; wherein though seemingly "very good, more scientific, and more efficient" and I should add, "more pragmatic" from the outside according to "Madame," but in reality "a harsh and cruel world" (p.272). Second, it is the vivid exposure of the natural humaneness that Ishiguro displays so exquisitely in the lives of those who are the victims of this horrid inhumanity. The atrociousness is exacerbated precisely by this natural humanness springing up from their personality, aspirations, and shattered dreams, which is even more ironically more humane than those supposedly the "real" human beings who are responsible for their existence intended to supply spare parts. The implications of this novel are huge. It wakes us up and asks ourselves the question, "What is a human being and what is his or her dignity?" I echo what Chuck Colson said in his review, "I recommend this book for adults and older teens (there's some material here that is not suitable for younger children), and I encourage you to share it with people who don't fully understand the cloning issue. Never Let Me Go is a powerful work of art that, by impacting the imagination, reaches us at the deepest level, which is often more powerful than the best scientific and political arguments."
    ...more info
  • Intriguing, well crafted and engaging work by master
    Rivalling Aldous Huxley and others in terms of ideas and the themes of slavery, consumerism, science, medicine, art ... but I go on and don't mean to. Let's just say this work is ripe for appreciation by senior high school students so rich is it. More telling though is the skill of the writer in creating a credible voice for a 31 year old woman, and making that character believable, worth caring for, and interesting. In doing so the writer manifests one of the interesting themes himself by creating a meaningfulwork of art, a goal so desperately sought by the tragic figure of Tommy in his drawings of animals. A terrific read....more info
  • Urgency brings out the meaning and passion in life - read this book

    I first heard of this book when it appeared as the most recent novel on TIME's 100 Greatest English-Language Novels list. So I read a description, "Children growing up in a nursing home... something's not right..." It sounded intriguing, so I gave it a whirl.

    Regardless of what that 'sinister' thing is, it's merely a device to put more urgency on the rest of the events in the novel. And since the rest of the novel is a bunch of subtle and poetic observations and meditations on life and relationships as channeled through the lives and experiences of a group of friends, that makes the book a layered treasure trove of allusions to our own pains and joys.

    The last thing you should know is that this book is gloomy; it's an elegy. I might even say it's lugubrious, but that's probably me injecting humor just to protect myself from the monumental sadness.

    I don't know if I liked this book. But I will never regret reading it.


    One nagging annoyance I have is why the characters rose to meet their fates, but not to change them entirely. Perhaps it's just Ishiguro's commentary on life coming through, perhaps it's something else. But they were all WAAAAAAAY too resigned to play by the system's rules....more info