Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go: Kazuo Ishiguro: It's hard to say anything about this book's plot without revealing details that are best discovered by the reader. Suffice it to say that when we meet the narrator, Kathy, she is 31 and looking back on her life and friendships at Hailsham -- a school for special students. The students are so special that even they don't really realize the nature of that specialness; they are, as one of the teachers says, "told and not told" about it, so they don't have a real understanding of their purpose. When they do find out, it's brutal. Kathy's narration, with its passive and calm tone, acts as a counterpoint to the brutality and horror of the truth that Kathy, Ruth and Tommy will discover.

Ishiguro's style is literary in the best sense of the word; Never Let Me Go is about more than just friendship and loss -- compassion and forgiveness. Its themes cover the nature of humanity and society, all in an intimate story with only three main characters. I liked this book when I first read it, but it stuck with me and I keep thinking about it, turning over what it means in my mind. Now I love it. It's the best book I've read this year.


Les said...

I picked this up the other day at work, but didn't wind up buying it. I've never read anything by Ishiguro and this novel intrigues me. Might just have to get it now that I've read your review. Best book of the year? OK!

Katya said...

And we're coming up on December and it's still my favorite!