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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro.


You are embroiled within this tale via the perspective of Kathy, a carer and soon to be donor, in an alternate 1990’s. Set in a school named Havisham, and then later the Cottages, you could be fooled into thinking you are dealing with a society not too far removed from your own. Do not fall into the trap of confusing this novel with some form of science fiction, as those sinister overtones of ‘donations’ and ‘completions’ are not technological terms but instead twists on aspects of everyday life that you and I experience at some point in our lives.

Don’t fall off the tightrope

The novel by Ishiguro could easily be perceived to focus on the love triangle between the characters of Ruth, Tommy and Kathy.  I feel that deep beneath the tones of jealousy and desire lies the dark truths of the harrowing systems in place in society. The conversations of Kathy and Tommy are confusing and peculiar, inviting you to challenge the authority of knowledge given to you. However, when you may come close to a resolution or understanding, you are quickly deflected, and consequently you push all previous musings to the back of your mind. Be mindful. This action will later provoke guilt.


 As readers, prepare to be constantly in suspension, up on the tightrope, with the love story as a way of distracting you from the gnashing shark of truth below. The story progresses, injecting you with snippets of information, hidden in variations of subtlety so that you are placed in a state of bewilderment, much like the students of Havisham. 

Why you should read it

This novel is truly influential, not least because it moves you emotionally. Oh no. The novel is influential because it affects you as a virus would, blasting you with the nastiness, and then for subsequent days or weeks you are left feeling drained and imprinted by your experience. This is not to say that the novel is dislikeable, rather on the contrary. I found that the novel was extremely enticing, its threads of subtlety tie themselves around your wrists, and you cannot escape the overwhelming desire to ask more, to scream at the character’s innocence, and to try to relive the situations all over again in the hope you can influence the outcome.

While the novel is fictional, it strikes fear within the reader because it questions the human race and their moral, physical and emotional capabilities. This novel causes you to question the very essence of human life, who has the right to control and monitor it, and the lengths that we will go to protect it.

You should read this novel because it is emotionally provocative. Guilt, devastation, hope and wonder are rolled into one giant, gathering snowball, so much so that even the hardest of souls would struggle not to be moved.

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