Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Published (paperback): 2006, Vintage
Genre: Literature, Dystopian Sci-fi
Setting: Contemporary England
When I finished reading this book, I initially gave it only three stars.
It has none of my hallmarks for great literature. No cascading narrative, delicately woven prose, or characters whose emotional depths reveal spiritual or worldly truths.
So what, my feeble mind thought, is so great about this book whose author won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature?
Incredibly Brief Synopsis
A woman reminisces about her two friends and their time in a mysterious English boarding school.
As the back cover suggests, there’s not much you can say without revealing too much of the story. The tension relies on you going in nearly blind. You remain that way throughout the novel, with only pin-pricks of light leading the way.
There’s no world building, no descriptive imagery, and barely a map on which to orient yourself. The work is spare and the characters indifferent, yet the mystery keeps you turning pages almost faster than you can read them.
It’s the apathy of the narrator, Kathy H, that leaves a residue within. She’s the completion of her world and a marker for mankind’s preternatural ability to justify barbarism. Your conclusions, not her unreliable story, are the driving force of this book. That is what makes it worthy of literary acclaim.
I wouldn’t say that I truly liked Never Let Me Go, but, after analysis, I will give it 4 stars, as I think it’s a worthwhile read.
Have you read this book or anything else by Kazuo Ishiguro? I would love to know your thoughts!