“Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro [Book Review]

Topics: Fiction, Novel, Science fiction Pages: 2 (467 words) Published: November 19, 2013
"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. This is the story of love, friendship and memory, with a sense of the fragility of life. It's about the steady erosion of hope. It's about repressing what you know, which is that in this life people fail one another, grow old and fall to pieces. It's about knowing that while you must keep calm, keeping calm won't change a thing. The novel describes the life of Kathy H., a young woman of 31, focusing at first on her childhood at an unusual boarding school and eventually her adult life. The story takes place in a dystopian Britain, in which human beings are cloned to provide donor organs for transplants. Kathy and her classmates have been created to be donors, though the adult Kathy is temporarily working as a "carrier," someone who supports and comforts donors as they are made to give up their organs and, eventually, submit to death. The truth of the matter is made clear only gradually, via veiled but suggestive language and situations. In “Never let me go” the clones are never described in terms of ethnicity, yet they are marked by a ‘difference’ which the narrative finds hard to pin down. It explores timeless questions like childhood bullying and the role of sex in relationships. Inevitably, it being set in an alternate Britain, in an alternate 1990s, this novel will be described as science fiction. But there's no science here. How are the clones kept alive once they've begun "donating"? Who can afford this kind of medicine, in a society the author depicts as no richer, indeed perhaps less rich, than ours? Ishiguro's refusal to consider questions such as these forces his story into a pure rhetorical space. Precisely how naturalistic is it supposed to be? Precisely how parabolic? This extraordinary novel isn't...
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