This is a delectable work of literary genius. It's not a pulsing thriller, but the weaving of the story certainly elicits enough thrill. Rosalyn Landor reads the prose with deft and captures the voices of each character with great skill.
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.
I was told the concept of this and it was right up my alley. Real world -- with a kick of sci-fi thrown in. Unfortunately, the way it was written bothered me from the outset. I constantly felt like the main character knew more than she was telling us. This turned out to be true... but admittedly... is true for many books told in a retrospective format. But what irked me about this, was that she was constantly telling you she knew more than she was saying and would pull you along through a very long and dry backstory of a situation, only to tell you, quite literally, "... but I'll get back to that later"... as you reached the climax of the issue. It seemed like a cheap way to hook you into further reading.
The authors digressions, I believe, were intended to better illustrate the world these characters lived in, but would meander so much and finally culminate in something so trivial that by the time you actually returned to the storyline, you'd sort of forgotten where you were and had become slightly disinterested.
It took everything in my power to make it to the end of this and sadly, played itself out in just the way I assumed it would.
If you can tolerate the pace and the digressions... I will say the narrator was captivating with a soothing British accent.
While not really science fiction, this is a mysterious story at first. What is being described is unclear, and as the story unfolds becomes eerie and disturbing. Unfortunately this can be seen as possible.
In "Never Let Me Go" you are transported to another version of our world. By the end, the narrator had really distinguished the characters so I knew who was talking without "tags". The material did not seem fresh, but it was a fascinating pseudo-mystery. If you figure out what is going on (which isn't that hard) the ending may disappoint, but ultimately the writing itself is beautiful and compelling.
One major drawback (although I've read it goes directly to the characters and plot) is that the character goes back and forth in this backhanded way. Kathy will tell you something then say:
"Maybe I felt that way because of what happened next" and then proceeds to tell you what happened next. Or she'd say "That made a difference because of something else that happened. Now let me tell you what happened that time." OR "I didn't know at the time that such and such had happened." It gets into these pointless tangles that can get frustrating. Still, the book is a worthy read if you can hang in there.
I gave five stars to Never Let Me Go because I was able to listen to this book in a weekend -- excellently narrated with English accent by Rosalyn Landor. Listening to a book non-stop is always an indication that I enjoyed it! The presentation was low key, so I can see why some thought it to be boring, but for some of us the story line is considered so beautiful, fascinating, mysterious and just well done -- loved it.
While I respect the author's imaginative premise, most of the novel seemed like dead space. It was difficult to stay focused on the narration. A short story would have been much more appropriate than the endless harping on the inconsequential routines of daily life. The twist is revealed much to late to make a difference. I just wanted to scream to the main characters--do something!
Like the Brave New World set at and English boarding school this book is as chilling as it is revealing of human nature. One of Ishiguro's best. Well suited to audio format and wonderfully narrated.
I had unfortunately heard a bit about the premise before listening to the book, but still found it very engaging. For those who enjoy contemplative prose and fine writing, this is a great book.
I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this book at all with a different narrator. I didn't want to read much about it in advance and it did take a long time to figure out what was going on. I know that was the author's intention, but I think it might have been help to be clued in a bit earlier in the plot.
Maybe I was a slow study...