Becca's Reviews > Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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Sep 26, 10

bookshelves: literature, brit-lit, speculative-fiction, death-and-dying, ethics-philosophy, borrowed
Recommended to Becca by: Jon & Elizabeth
Read from September 20 to 26, 2010, read count: 1

I was totally and completely spoiled about this book (stupid movie previews), but that didn't prevent it from being one of the best books I've ever read.

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about the narrative voice. Kath, the narrator, relays her story in a roughly chronological order, with many tangents and anecdotes. But over time, it builds on itself and becomes the poignant reflections of someone who is facing her own mortality and has also lost everyone and every place that meant anything to her living through her memories. There are several times that Kath reflects on situations that, despite the sadness or finality, took on a closeness and levity that is only possible in the types of friendships where you can simply have wandering conversations about anything. It is clear that Kath is speaking to a reader who is that kind of friend.

The larger plot is fascinating -- Ishiguro has several things to say about mortality, what we are willing to compromise (ethically) to further ourselves, the difference between faith and curiousity, and what it means to be a person and to be a part of the human condition. That, in and of itself was worth reading, but the book truly shines by being about a sincere depiction of one woman's life and personality within this larger world. You end up caring at least as much about Kath, Ruth and Tommy and their arguments, cassette tapes and classes as the big picture.

It is on the relationship level that Ishiguro shines. The friendships are intricate, completely necessary for the characters and extremely complex. Each character has their own flaws and deals (and doesn't deal) with them in various ways as they come of age.
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