Tuesday, September 25

Bibliophile: Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

I thought this was phenomenal- no wonder it was Time's best book of '05. It's a little sci-fi-ish I suppose, but really it's a story of friendship and coming-of-age, albeit from the lens of the victims of this dystopian setting. A blurb:

As a child, Kathy–now thirty-one years old–lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance.

Guys, it is just SO good, like a decadent dessert, except you can read this every night and not get fat. Win! The blurb is right: the story is very simple, but the narrator (and protagonist, I suppose) is so authentic and genuine. It reads as if the two of you were sitting over a cup of coffee, if your friend was hyper-reflective and sensitive and also very trusting. She'll introduce an idea, and then double back to explain why it matters, then refer to it later, all in a conversational and comfortable way. She's so convincing!

The values and issues of the book are inherently interesting, even if not from such a thorough voice: freedom, childhood, truth vs protection, forgiveness, hope, loyalty. Don't expect a ton of plot development- as I said, it's simple- but it has big heart. All I need to do now is see the movie (Kiera Knightly and Carey Mulligan, totally planning to love it).

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