Friday, October 20, 2006


Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro, Alfred A Knopf, 2005, 288 pp

This is an unusual story told in a banal way. I don't want to say what it is about because the impact I think would be stronger if the reader did not know. (I knew and it made the first part, which moves quite slowly, boring to me. Probably by now many people know the subject matter of the book because it has been revealed in reviews and interviews with Ishiguro, but still I choose not to disclose it here.)

Let me just say that the main characters don't know what is going on either and one of the strengths of the writing is the way the characters and the reader find out at the same time. It is not a happy book at all. Mostly it is like a gloomy day with very occasional and short-lived bursts of sunshine. I felt nervous and disturbed the whole time I was reading it, yet when I had to put it down to do something else, all I could think of was when I could get back to it.

The ending is terribly sad. Loss, of innocence, of love, of life, of tokens and possessions, of hope and possibilities, is the theme here; loss even when there was not much to lose in the first place. That said, it was well worth reading because it is a story that needed to be told.


  1. This was a pretty good book. I just felt a little cheated by the way Ishiguro parceled out the back story. I've read books where the suspense and the mystery are dished out better. Have you read The Remains of the Day? After Never Let Me Go, I figure I should probably read it.

  2. Yes, I know what you mean about the back story. Though I still think that the way Ishiguro made the reader feel was done on purpose so that the reader would feel how the characters must have felt about their lives.

    I haven't read any other books by Ishiguro but they are all on the list. I did see the movie made from Remains of the Day and it had that same excruciating drawn-out feeling.