Publication Date: April, 5th 2005
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Genre: Science Fiction
Strong Point: The atmosphere of surrealism and creepiness during the whole book.
Weak Point: The story somehow didn’t reach me completely. I felt for the characters but I simply could not understand many of his behaviors.
Books on Tour Rating: (4/5)
Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.84/5)
“What made the tape so special for me was this one particular song: track number three “Never Let Me Go.”
“NEVER LET ME GO”
I like Ishiguro. “The Remains of the Days” is an excellent book so I wanted to read another of his works.
I found “Never Let Me Go” in my local bookshop and I decided to give it a try.
At the beginning of the book I was startled by how different the style this book felt in comparison with “The Remains” but, of course, between the two books there is a gap of 17 years so the difference in style is normal.
I liked the book as a whole but it is not a five stars book for me. Let’s get to it, shall we?
We find the protagonist in England in the late 1990s. Her name is Kathy H. and she is 31 years old.
We are told that Kathy has been a “carer” for almost 12 years now. And we think, ok, she is like a nurse, or works at an old folks’ home or something similar. But no…that is not the case.
Furthermore, we learn that apart from the “carers” there are also “guardians” and “donors”; of what, we do not know. We also learn that after the third or fourth “donation” people are “completed”. Weird, right? That is why “Never Let Me Go” is considered a dystopia.
We go back in time and Ishiguro tells us about Kathy’s past in a kind of boarding school called Hailsham, and about her life there with her friends, especially with Tommy and Ruth.
We start to sense that something weird and creepy is happening at the place: there are peculiar people like “Madame”, Miss Lucy, etc.
In addition, the children grow up thinking they are special. They do not have parents, nor they can have children in the future. And yet, they spend their days at that enclosed school because they are different from the rest of the people.
However, the author lets us thinking about what is going on there for, I think, too long. He doesn’t clearly explain what is happening with all the characters for a very long time.
PHILOSOPHICAL AS WELL AS SCARY
Ishiguro brings up very interesting topics in this book. I don’t want to give too many details because then I would spoil it for you.
However, in “Never Let Me Go” one can find topics like discrimination, the thin line between science and its use for the benefit of one part of society and detrimental to the other.
Are we just us as long as we have a purpose in life? Are we just what society expects us to be? And if we rebel against this “expectation”, are we good people or just a failure?
Furthermore, it is also quite scary because in my opinion, we are very close to experiencing what it is narrated in the book. And I think most of us would be ok with it.
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT “NEVER LET ME GO”
I must say I enjoyed the story. I like dystopian books and this one touches all the bases. The topic is very interesting and raises a lot of moral dilemmas and it is open for very fascinating discussions.
I really felt for the characters. I felt very sorry for them. It must be very hard not to be able to escape a life that you have not chosen, but someone else had done it for you, even before you were born.
They felt trapped in a world, a parallel universe, which treats them as “things” which can be used and thrown away, and they cannot do anything to change it. But yet, aren’t we all also only objects for society?
The whole book is full of pessimism and the atmosphere is heavy and full of darkness. This darkness goes a bit away when the characters are young and spend their days studying and playing, oblivious of what awaits them outside the walls of the boarding school.
For all this, only if you like science-fiction / dystopian books, I really recommend this book.