Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.
Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.
©2005 Kazuo Ishiguro; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Stunningly brilliant fiction....A masterpiece of craftsmanship that offers an unparalleled emotional experience." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Ishiguro's elegant prose and masterly ways with characterization make for a lovely tale of memory, self-understanding, and love." (Library Journal)
"So exquisitely observed that even the most workaday objects and interactions are infused with a luminous, humming otherworldliness.....Ishiguro spins a stinging cautionary tale of science outpacing ethics." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
I didn't want the story to end. The characters haunted me weeks later. I have listened to it several times. I recommended to my book club and many thought it was the best read of the year. Eerie and heartbreaking.
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 was moved by this book. I did not have the same hang ups as other reagarding the storyline or social consequences... I just felt a deep dispair for the situation of the characters and wanted better for them. This book was read well and I believe it will stay with me for quite some time.
Are we really so far away from this? I wonder if we would ever value our families so much that we would allow this to happen. Often through this book I thought, "This could never be." But I am not sure.
Regardless of the moral questions, this book is wonderful. The writing is spectacular and the narration is flawless. It comes highly recommended.
Report Inappropriate Content