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Never Let Me Go | [Kazuo Ishiguro]

Never Let Me Go

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Listening to Never Let Me Go was like entering a literary dream-state where, bit by bit, reality shifts and the truth is revealed. Rosalyn Landor is less a narrator and more a storyteller who brought me along as the characters uncovered the essential mysteries of their lives. —Steve Feldberg

Publisher's Summary

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

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.

What the Critics Say

  • National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee, 2005, Fiction
  • Alex Award Winner, 2006

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (2483 )
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4.1 (1233 )
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  •  
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-26-07
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-26-07 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    175
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    8
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    Overall
    "What to say..."

    The monotone voice of the narrator lends itself to this story of longing and self discovery. The heroine finds herself in a place that is mysterious (for us) and poignant. To find that your life is not your own, and your "self" is unimportant -

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc 05-23-07
    Marc 05-23-07 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    3
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    "Good for pondering, not entertaining"

    The premise for the story is good but it is just so long and tedious so that the book is anticlimactic and a letdown. It is a glimpse of a future society that makes one wonder if we are on the slippery slope (similar, as I recall to "1984" when I read it 35 years ago). But the characters are maddening since they seem intelligent and bold but it never occurs to them to question authority. Although I understand the topic is serious in nature, couldn't there have been even one amusing anecdote in the nearly 10-hour story? The book is worthwhile if you like to ponder or discuss our society and the direction it could be taking, but its not an entertaining "read."

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles E. Patisaul Atlanta, GA USA 11-01-05
    Charles E. Patisaul Atlanta, GA USA 11-01-05 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "interesting, but not really much of a mystery"

    I really liked the premise of this book but didn't feel like it went anywhere. Although it's billed as a "mystery" that "mystery" becomes pretty obvious after the first few chapters. What I found most bothersome is that once the "mystery" is revealed, there is no revolt or outrage, only a quiet resolve and annoying complacency on the part of the main characters. I found that really hard to stomach, especially for a novel that centers around such young protagonists. In most science fiction stories of this nature there is an event that throws the whole system off-kilter, then causing the main characters to question everything and rebuild society. This doesn't happen here and I just keep thinking: why does no one care? It's an intersting read, but not a great one. Other novels do a better job with character development in the face of conflict, and the issues facing future societies.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 06-02-11
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 06-02-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Creeped me out"

    So well written and narrated. Interesting, too - in the beginning before you learn who these people are and what fate is about to befall them. Although I won't spoil the essence of the story - it creeped me out. Although I love to be swept up in a fantasy story - this was not a fantasy that I wanted to be a part of.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Philadelphia, PA, United States 09-29-10
    Sarah Philadelphia, PA, United States 09-29-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "misleading description"

    I would have preferred a more explicit reference in Audible's description that the premise of the novel is a dystopian society that reminds me very much of Brave New World or The Handmaid's Tale.
    I don't doubt that it is a beautifully written book and, so far, the narration is splendid, but this wasn't what I was looking for when making the decision about how to use my monthly credit. Not in the mood at present to reflect on humanity and continuities in human nature; will perhaps return to this one later.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Cary, NC, United States 01-04-10
    Paul Cary, NC, United States 01-04-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly good and surprisingly deep"

    I almost didn't download this selection seeing that some of the reviewers felt it was for a younger audience but I am glad that I did. For one thing, Ishiguro is a master of human emotion and interaction, he captures that perfectly. For another, Ishiguro has chosen a surprisingly modern and deep topic with important parallels to life today. This book was heartfelt, nostalgic, thoughtful, scientific, and intellectual. I thoroughly enjoyed it and strongly recommend it!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Flagstaff, AZ, USA 03-10-08
    Dawn Flagstaff, AZ, USA 03-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ephemeral nightmare"

    Ishiguro's trek in to the foundations of society is a foray into all of the insecurities that we humans have. Kathy (Kath) is intelligent, insightful, and seemingly stable; we are privy to her successes in a world that is not necessarily kind, nor fair, to the students of Hailsham. This is not a school story -- far from it. It is a story about the plight of the human race. It is richly detailed, haunting, and thoughtful. A must-read for those who don't mind thinking while reading.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Oakland, CA, USA 03-29-06
    Beverly Oakland, CA, USA 03-29-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extraordinary fiction"

    One of the best books I've read. Ishiguro's literary finesse is impressive as he pulls the reader delicately into the story only to surprise you with what he's really up to. A masterful look at childhood and character turns into something much larger, a subtle and skillful look at how social values become hopelessly compromised. A love story that engages us with a coming moral dilemma.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria Rosario Omaha, NE, USA 02-15-06
    Maria Rosario Omaha, NE, USA 02-15-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "thought provoking"

    This is a very thought-provoking book. It raises a lot of questions about human nature and morality. It is also a very sad tale about people, ultimately. It's a must read.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne USA 01-30-06
    Adrienne USA 01-30-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    4
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    "Oh so scary!"

    I read the other reviews, both before and after I bought this book. I can easily understand why it was not a good choice for everyone, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. First of all, the reader is top notch. I could listen to her all day, she made the story come to life. No, it is not a fast paced cliff hanger, but it is a book that makes you think, maybe even more than you want to, about our society and medical ethics. This is not escapist fiction which is my usual choice, but a very interesting and well written story.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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