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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 (1746 )
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4.1 (567 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 04-29-05
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 04-29-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Moving, haunting, but slow developing"

    I loved Ishiguro's biggest novel, Remains of the Day, considering it one of my all time favorites. Since then I haven't found Ishiguro has been able to recapture the nuances of Brittish emotion that he did so masterfully in Remains.

    This novel comes very close, though.

    I wasn't sold at first, thinking it was uncomfortably close to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. But it comes around, and the farther you get the more fascinating it becomes once you learn "the big twist", always with an unflinching first person look at an unknowable life ripped from a Aldus Huxley-style sci fi plotline.

    One BIG strength: it is beautifully read.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Oregon City, OR, USA 06-12-05
    Jane Oregon City, OR, USA 06-12-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing short of brilliant"

    I listen to audiobooks everyday. I've really enjoyed many but never have I been so enthralled as with this book. The plot & pace were mesmerizing as was the narrator. If you like an eery mystery with a lot of detail this is for you. If you want something very fast paced that doesn't make you think then don't bother.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia Castro Valley, CA, USA 08-24-05
    Sylvia Castro Valley, CA, USA 08-24-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ishiguro's McGuffin"

    This writer is truly a genius. He weaves a spell that keeps you bound to the story through much seemingly tedious detail. Whatever else this book is about, it is about the steady erosion of hope, about repressing what you know and, like many of his books (especially "Remains of the Day"), about how many of us can't reach out and grasp the happiness right in front of us. This book will be in my pantheon of classics -- and I never would have read it if our book club hadn't picked it out!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kc New Haven, Ct. 05-23-05
    Kc New Haven, Ct. 05-23-05 Member Since 2004

    chick

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    "Be patient; it will pay off"

    The detail is tedious. Everyone is so terribly sensitive, and trivial interactions take pages. But every few pages there is a "ping," of something not right, or a growing realization that there are large things missing in this detritus of kids at a boarding school fussing about their feelings. Then you slowly realize what is missing, and some of the trivial events reappear with deeper meaning. Two-thirds of the way through you realize the importance of the author's emphasis upon tedious little spats and hurts and crushes, and then the reader (who is fine) annoys you because she can't read fast enough as the horror mounts and the jigsaw gets completed. It is not science fiction at all, as some say; it is all at hand and little prevents society from seeking this path to health.

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Wakeman 06-10-07
    E. Wakeman 06-10-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "On the meaning of life"

    I ended up recommending this book to a colleague who teaches a philosophy class entitled "The Good Life." He plans on using it, saying it is the best novel that he has found so far.

    Because that is what the book is about and that is why it seems slow to some people. It is not action packed. The novel will not go places that you would expect a movie to go -- revolution, loud cries for justice. Though the characters seem to be very different from us, they are not. Their lives are just compressed. In their childhoods they understand and don't understand what their lives will be. They have opportunity to have all the things that philosophers says makes life worth living: friends, love, study, work, everything except children.

    The book makes us ask, if this is all there is, is life worth living?

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Andrew Hubbard 12-14-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerfully compelling book!"

    As other reviewers have said, impeccable narration of an amazing book. The less you read about the plot points of the story, the more you will enjoy the unfolding of the narrative. Don't order this expecting a mystery or thriller, though; the point is the way the story moves fluidly from memory to memory, back and forth in time as it unfolds. The situation of the "students" in this story is unique, and yet has much to say about our humanity in general. I look forward to reading the rest of his books!

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-26-07
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-26-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Mission Hills, KS USA 04-22-05
    Anne Mission Hills, KS USA 04-22-05 Listener Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Won't Let You Go"

    Don't think that you'll be able to finish this masterpiece and then forget about it. This remarkable novel is too bizarre and unsettling to easily put out of your mind. I couldn't. Perfectly written, expertly read, and very, very sad.

    30 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katheryne MD, United States 04-07-13
    Katheryne MD, United States 04-07-13 Member Since 2009

    Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Haunting...it will never let me go"

    This book is not for everyone. It's a slow burn filled with pages of detailed descriptions of trivial things that at first make no sense. However, there is a big pay-off for the reader that sticks with the story. Eventually you begin to piece together what is happening and the reason behind all the detailed and trivial descriptions. This book was such a haunting tale of advanced science and the ethics behind it. This book will stick with me for years to come and most likely I will never be able to let it go.


    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Dumoulin Kinburn, Ontario Canada 01-15-10
    Sarah Dumoulin Kinburn, Ontario Canada 01-15-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Not a children's book"

    I thought this was a lovely listen. Great narrator and the story is beautifully written. As others have commented, the story is not a mystery, and isn't written as such. Haunting.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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