Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Never Let Me Go

“You’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you – of how you were brought into this world and why – and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs.” (p. 36)

Lauren's Opinion:
Never Let Me Go is the story of a group of children, their growing up and their dealing with the expectations that life has for them. The thing is these children aren’t quite normal children and their lives, while at first seemingly regular, are far different from anything we could imagine.

This book is slow and heartbreaking and Ishiguro crafts the words so delicately that at times the prose nears poetic. The central idea of the plot is made early on and quite clearly. I know as a reader I understood it quickly, but it’s an idea so horrifying to really comprehend that I still spent the whole story hoping that I was wrong.

Narrated by central character Kathy H, her account of her childhood and adolescence is tragically cheerful and the description she gives of the English countryside, her school buildings and friends is stunning. Ishiguro is a master of creating intelligent characters with great psychological depth, and from the seemingly incidental characters like Moira B and Jenny B, to the supporting leads Tommy and Ruth, he has obviously taken great care to bring these people to life.  

I first heard about Never Let Me Go when Kater posted about it on All This Happiness, and after reading her review and watching the film trailer I couldn’t believe this book hadn’t caused more hype in my world, though judging by the string of awards it won and was nominated for, it obviously did in the book world. The film is finally being released here today (!) and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I’d really recommend that anyone who wants to see the film get a hold of the book first, though from all accounts the movie version is just as wonderful.

A look at the film trailer, just to whet your appetite:  

Ell-Leigh's Opinion:

Ishiguro tells the story with such precision and subtlety, creating the world of a young schoolgirl with such wisdom it’s as if he had grasped it straight from reality. The tension builds delicately and remains as a shadow informing each moment. The characters are so relatable and truthful that the questions of ethics and morality affect deeply, all the while the full extent of the reality isn’t yet known. It’s a book so complexly and beautifully written it’s difficult to piece together sentences about it, it’s a book that will both satisfy and confront you. It is brilliant, a precious gem.

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