I found Never Let Me Go in a basket full of paperbacks at Fretex in Ullevålsveien and thought «Surely that’s one of the 1001 books? Well, even if not it’s probably worth 10 kroner.» It was. Both.
Having seen the film Remains of the Day with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins, based on Ishiguro’s novel by the same name, I guess I was expecting a similar sort of plot. You know, English realism or whatever one should call it. That is hardly how you’d describe Never Let Me Go, though. It’s another kettle of fish entirely. Very English, yes, and set in an England of sorts, but in a parallell universe (thanks be). It is going to be hard to say much about it, as if you are going to read it – and you really should – you should be allowed to unfold the premises of the setting with no spoilers from me (or anyone else). In fact, go read it now, then come back and read the rest of this post. I will try not to give too much away, but I cannot promise to succeed if I am to say anything at all meaningful.
Beautifully written, Never Let Me Go captured my attention in a way no contemporary novel has done for oh such a long time. Very, very hard to put down.
For me, Ishiguro’s greatest triumph is making Kathy, the narrator, so very loveable and human while also, somehow, subtly «other». Whether nature or nurture is the cause, one can only guess. Very sneaky (Ishiguro’s achievement, that is) in a good way.
As it is, the novel is a chilling argument, one might almost say body of evidence, in the (still) current debate.
Still reading this post? Go read the novel. I will say no more.