This was a slow, meandering story. It was simply listening to someone reminiscing about the past and trying to understand how that past has shaped them in the present. While interesting, it was not a book that gripped my attention.
The author, Ishiguro, was able to develop the characters and make them feel like real individuals that you could run into on the street. Yet, the premise, the boarding school and the mysterious donations left me wondering and feeling like there was a purposeful omission of important facts to try and build curiosity or strong emotion in the reader.It didn't work for me.
I would not necessarily seek one out, but I would not be opposed to hearing her once again. However, the distinctions between her female character voices were at times difficult to discern, and, her ability to present the male character did not always work well.
Frustration by the story line. Frustration by the monotonous tone.
Based on several other comments saying that the book had some slow portions but it was well worth the wait, I stayed with it after many temptations to cease my listening. I kept saying to myself
While it wasn't as awful as "Wicked," I really hated this book. Nothing about it made sense. And it sure as heck was no "heartstopping mystery." If you don't figure out the "mystery" very quickly, you lack imagination. The actual mystery is why it has gotten good reviews at all. The premise was simple nonsense (spoilers follow; you've been warned.)
We are asked to accept a modern Great Britain wherein children are cloned and raised to serve as organ donors for others until they "complete" (die.) The main characters in this story are raised at Hailsham, a school for these children where they are more or less educated. There is no attempt on the part of Ishiguro to even try to make this believable. He just presents it and assumes it's acceptable as a plot.
I simply could not, however, get past the ridiculous premise that such a system could not only develop in modern Britain, but would exist without a hint of protest by anyone, including the people who are its victims! They are the wimpiest, most simpering characters I have ever encountered. They simply accept this fate without any protest. Nobody runs away. No one gets mad. They just comply. The best they could muster was a faint hope that they could delay their fate slightly. But when that fails it's, "oh well."
Their characterization wasn't helped by the particularly flat and emotionless affectation the reader adopted. Perhaps it was intended to be read that way, but it only left me more annoyed with this impossible premise than I might have been had I read it myself.
I really loved "Remains of the Day" but this just doesn't work on any level.
Listened to this one 3 times in a row because I liked it so much. The female reader is a perfect fit. Easily the best book I've listened to this year. Can't recommend it enough.
I'll try not to reveal too much. This story centers on a group of adolescents and young adults conceived and raised separately to provide a "benefit" to modern English society at large. They live at a separate boarding school whose purpose is to cultivate them and protect them for this function. Ishiguro creates a world that is for the most part quite believable. It includes the daily activities, inner thoughts, dreams, and tragedies of these young people, as well as some of the conflicts felt by their guardians. From some of the other reviews, I guess this novel is not for everyone. I found it engaging, thought-provoking, suspenseful, and compassionate. The questions raised for me by this story are "What if a modern society conspired to use people this way? What is the value of a human soul?" Uncomfortable to think about...but fascinating at the same time.
Retired, chess, computers, Moscow, text to speech, audiobooks, books, learning, thinking, jogging, beans 'n greens.
It's obvious, when you think about it. We participate in horrible things like war, yet we manage to live as if it was not unspeakable. It takes a great writer like Kazuo Ishiguro to twist our world enough out of recognition that we finally recognize it. What's next -- people who watch TV while guiding the killing machines they are watching? Oh, too late -- reality has alrady stolen that plot, and it is playing in afternoon matinees in Pakistan.
Not A Misanthrope, But The One Where Everybody Hates You
This audio rendition of the novel is well done by the narrator. The nuances and affectations in her voice lend themselves so well to the prose that you are unsure you're listening to fiction at all. The film adaptation of this novel is just as lovely as the source material. Absorb this material through any medium and you expectations will likely be exceeded.
Mildly science fiction, set in current England, this is authentically read and moving. It's partly love story, but mostly philosophical, an imaginative psychological rendering that transcends genre and leaves one disturbed yet heartened by the humanity of us all.
I'm on chapter 7 and still waiting for major conflict to be introduced. Even minor conflict between characters is so vague and polite that it doesn't seem like conflict at all. If it weren't an audio book, I would have given up completely on this story. I don't know how anyone could make this into an engaging film. Good luck on that.
Mr. Ishiguro is a fine writer, but this novel's pace is quite slow and the story is utterly unbelievable in the setting. I don't want to ruin the story for those who will listen to the book. So I won't explain why. I would never have bothered to finish it had I not read another reader's review saying that it would be all become worthwhile in the end. Unfortunately it did not. The story is predictable, and I could not suspend enough disbelief to buy into it. That said, the writing is first class, the characters are well developed, and the narrator did an excellent job. Those earn the three stars. The story itself rates just one star.