Never Let Me go – Kazuo Ishiguro [Book Review]

Never Let Me Go

Kazuo  Ishiguro

Book Review

This story is told through the eyes of Kathy, a carer, who grew up at Hailsham. Hailsham is an english boarding school for children who have a specific purpose for their lives. Kathy (now 31) tells us her story by showing us her memories of her childhood at Hailsham with her friends Ruth and Tommy.

Although this is not a book with a really fast plot or lots of action, its incredibly powerful and moving. I think part of what makes it powerful is the fact that the story is told in such a calm, relaxed and accepting manner. Many circumstances are quite terrible, and as a reader I wanted to jump up and shout and protest over it, but I had to sit back and let the characters get on with it, without fighting back.

The themes of life, innocent, love and loss are extremely important in this book. This is a book in which love does not fix everything – but it is still there. It makes for a painful realisation; despite the characters knowing 100% that they will lose the ones they love, they still seek love, find love and have intimate relationships – the human need for caring, loving relationships does not vanish – even for this particular group of people. Their quiet and matter of fact acceptance of loss is haunting.

The discussion of quality of life in this book really struck me. Kathy does not do a whole lot with her life, she misses out on many things and gets to have what seems to be a very limited time of ‘happiness’. As a reader, I grieved for her and felt regret but she did not. She accepted that this was her life, she couldn’t change it and she was not going to put up any resistance or fight. I think, as a reader, you really question what life means, and whether it is quality or quantity of life is the important thing.

I really enjoyed this book. It is quietly powerful and thought provoking. It does not need lots of drama and action to get its point across. They styles of writing and the tone of the narrating voice really add to the overall feel of the book. This is a book that will keep you thinking for a long time after you have finished reading it.

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