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Never Let Me Go

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  520,692 ratings  ·  34,772 reviews
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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Vintage Books (first published April 5th 2005)
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Daryl Anderson I think this book was primarily about the power of culture. It is always most difficult to see the truth that is right in front of you. In his autobio…moreI think this book was primarily about the power of culture. It is always most difficult to see the truth that is right in front of you. In his autobiography Frederick Douglass observed that when he was a slave, he could not understand slavery. Only after he escaped, did he comprehend the full horror of his enslavement. Enlightenment requires distance.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Leo Walsh I don't think Ishiguro meant this to be a realistic SF alternative future. And it isn't particularly He was trying to make points about "what makes a …moreI don't think Ishiguro meant this to be a realistic SF alternative future. And it isn't particularly He was trying to make points about "what makes a human an human," and "what is a soul." He does this wonderfully. What's more, he uses the novel to examine humankind's propensity to objectify others -- in the case donors. But objectification has historical roots, from the European slave trade through how governments dehumanize their enemies.

I was horrified that a culture would raise children just to kill them as adults. I felt a moral outrage... and then I looked around at the wars and violence. A militarized police force gunning down two innocent, dehumanized black me in 48 hours... and then some equally inhuman Black Lives Matter "protesters" killing 5 police and 2 innocents the next day, and realized that they had objectified the police.

My outrage at the culture waned. I realized the Ishiguro was writing a parable about us.


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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  520,692 ratings  ·  34,772 reviews

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Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: almost anyone
Shelves: literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2007
I can see Never Let Me Go being great for book clubs because it will generate a lot of discussion.

That being said, I didn't care for the book, for a couple of different reasons. The writing style is very conversational -- very much like you're having a discussion with the protagonist. The thing that annoyed me the most about this was the fact that the things that happened (so bob and I went walking to the store and we had a fight about the tree at school) and then the writer would tell you abou
It's very important, if you're intending to read this book, that you don't read any reviews or listen to any talk about it first. I had no idea what this book was about before I read it - and the blurb gives you a very different impression, actually - and so I slipped easily into a story that was as engrossing as it was revealing.

If you know something about what to expect, though, I don't think you'll enjoy it nearly as much. It's a bit like an art installation that requires audience participati
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Ah f**kin' British writers! My inclination to adore everyone from Evelyn Waugh to Charles Dickens, from Alex Garland to Zadie Smith seems very ingrained (VERY DEEP) inside me, primordial, & there must be SOME bloody reason why I find most English fiction so alluring. I think it has mostly to do with mood. It may linger deliciously...

The best book I've read all year (though not including Graham Greene's "The Quiet American") is about a microsociety of students in a boarding school hybrid named Ha
Let me start by saying that my review might contain some plot spoilers. However I personally don't think that knowing the plot in advance will in any way diminish the enjoyment of this story. The beauty of this book is not in the plot, but in its execution.

Another friendly warning: Never Let Me Go is for some reason often classified as science fiction. This is why so many readers end up disappointed I think. This novel is literary fiction at its finest. So if you look down on literary fiction an
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Imagine a restaurant, London, mid-2003.

Publisher: Hey, K, we need another novel and we need it quick.

K: I know, I know.

Publisher: Another “Remains of the Day”. Something Hollywood can turn into a hit.

K: I’m working on it.

Publisher: Any ideas?

K: Well, I’ve been reading some Jonathan Swift.

Publisher: Who?

K: You know, “Gulliver’s Travels”.

Publisher: Oh, yeah, Jack Black. It's in pre-production.

K: Well, he had a modest proposal about how to stop the children of the poor being a burden…

Publisher: I’m
Dec 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Fonseca
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had this book on my TBR shelf for years without realizing that it was essentially dystopian science fiction.

The main character is a woman in her early thirties reflecting back on her life as a child at a private school in England. Kids in the school grew up in an isolated but almost idyllic setting; not knowing their parents but realizing somehow they were “special.” After finishing school they live together in small groups in cottages before heading out into the world on their own. The story
Sean Barrs
The thing I enjoy most about Ishiguro’s writing is the sheer level of depth he gets into his characters; he captures all the intensity of real emotions whether they are self-serving or destructive. His writing style is simple, plain even, but he builds up many layers within his storytelling to unleash the full symphony of conflicted feelings in powerful bursts.

However, I saw none of his brilliance here.

Indeed, for all his talent, I don’t think this novel was as effective as The Remains of the
Seth T.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I'm always excited when I run across a novel that is, so far as I can tell, essentially perfect. Never Let Me Go is one of those. There is not a single thing wrong with this book. Ishiguro is a master craftsman and it shows here.

The novel's characterizations are pitch perfect. Its narrative flow reveals things in exactly the right order. Mystery is preserved until it no longer matters and then, under the light of revelation, we discover the mystery was never the thing that mattered. Ishiguro pla
Esteban del Mal
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
1. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go, is a 2005 dystopian science fiction novel, by Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro.

The story begins with Kathy, who describes herself as a carer, talking about looking after organ donors. She has been a carer for almost twelve years at the time of narration, and she often reminisces about her time spent at Hailsham, a boarding school in England, where the teachers are known as guardians. Along with classes, they often emphasize the
Despair. That's what I felt after reading this book. The kind of despair that suffocates you, that makes you want to break things, or, at the very least, go out for a run so you can let out the agony bubbling inside you.

It's ironic, but Never Let Me Go is about three friends who are destined to let go of everything - their bodies, their dreams, their lives and the people they love. And there's NOTHING they can do to avoid that fate.

I hate what this book did to me. I hate the author for creating
Kevin Ansbro
Aug 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People with far more patience than me.
You know those irritating people who talk to children and old people as if they were babies, in a puerile, singsong voice?
Well, those idiots sprang to mind as I endured the narrative voice of this glacially slow yawnfest of a novel.

This is a book so plodding, so dreary and so pretentious that I gave up on it halfway through.
With a less-than-pleased harrumph, I shoved it into a slot on my bookshelf alongside The Remains of the Day, which I'd bought at the same time, anticipating dual sublimity.

Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
3 stars

The story is interesting but it is not exciting enough for me. I liked the main characters, their backgrounds and everything but something was definitely lacking and I can't figure out what.

Was it worth reading? - I don't know. Need more time to process it.
Will I read it again? - Highly unlikely.
Do I recommend it? - It didn't work for me. Maybe it will work for you.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: status-borrowed
As a child, Kathy H. attended Hailsham, an elite boarding school where children were raised to be both healthy and artistic and taught to believe that both their health and creativity were essential to themselves and to the world they would one day enter. Now an adult, Kathy reflects back on her life. She charts the very slow progression of her growth, her friendships with fellow students Tommy and Ruth, and her knowledge, as she herself gradually began to learn about her role in the outside wor ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit, reading a book that you love for the second time is a scary thing. I read Never Let Me Go for the first time 2 and a half years ago, and I loved it. I read it within 24 hours on a vacation, and it whisked me away from that trip I was on, taking me to 1990's England, and into the lives of these children growing up and learning the harsh reality of their world. But it also reminded me of the beauty of friendship, the complicated nature of relationships, the importance of art, and most ...more
L A i N E Y ~back in a bit~
My very first Kazuo Ishiguro's work. Certainly not the last.

This book aggressively provoked emotions in me without ever being that emotional at all. It didn't whine; didn't scream at me, just smoothly narrated the story to me, very matter-of-factly, even at times in a detaching way. And yet, the sadness I felt after finishing it, and even before that, was so disproprotionate, it took me wholly by surprise.

It wasn't a love at first sight by any means, I needed a whole month to finish it. The firs
Just announced as Winner of the Nobel Prize 2017!!! Well deserved.


I believe a good book transmits a feeling, happiness, sadness, outrage etc. Of i do not feel anything after I read a certain book I do no consider it was worth it. And this book defenitely made me feel something. What? I cannot put it into words. A feeling that made me take a break from the for two weeks but also made me return to it when I felt I was in the right spirits. I do not know why but I really liked this book. It is
Originality? Functionality? Individuality? Community? Friendship? Love? Justice?

What is the defining feature of humanity? And who is entitled to that definition? Raising harrowing questions in a dystopian England, "Never Let Me Go" seems to be one of those highly divisive books that you either love or hate with a passion.

I loved it, every single word of it, from the beginning to completion.

To complete, a word that implies a special kind of duty and function in the strange alternative post-19
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
i love rereads. not only do i get to revisit favourite stories, but i also get to see how i have grown as a reader. and comparing my previous review to my current thoughts, man. i have done a lot of growing.

the first time around, i solely focused on the sci-fi/dystopian aspects (i love how its set in an parallel universe) and the narration. this time, i found myself so much more invested in the characters themselves. i spent so much time thinking about their existence, their reasons to live, an
Very disappointing, despite a promising opening. It is a ridiculous story that is increasingly badly told. If you don't want to know the key plot point, beware of reading the back cover of some editions. :(

Although often classed as sci-fi, I think that's more because dystopian fiction is often categorised that way, rather than anything inherently sci-fi in the book itself. In fact, it doesn't even feel dystopian for a while. In many ways, it's more of coming-of-age novel: coping with loss o
Jen Campbell
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Still remains one of my all time favourites.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Um...I'm sorry but I just didn't like it. (Insert frowny face) A few times I thought "okay, here we go!" But then nope, nothing, nada. The majority of the book felt like an epilogue. ...more
Leonard Gaya
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I’m not sure why... There is something languid and at the same time shadowy about Ishiguro’s prose that reminds me of Franz Schubert. Something at once elegant and tense, lyrical and anguished, crystalline and autumnal. In the end, I confess that this novel moved me deeply.

It is not at once obvious what the story is about. It is composed in the form of a memoir, written by a young woman, Kathy H., who looks back on her experiences as a child and, later on, as a teenager in an outlying boarding s
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia, 2021
This book is scary. Not because it’s horror in the common sense of the word. But because it’s terrifying that we might reach a point in society where children and people are so violated and used. And worse, complying. This isn’t a happy book. There’s no rebellion. This is a harsh story from the perspective of someone so okay with how they’re regarded. Not because the characters are stupid but because this is what they’re told and raised to believe.

I recommend this book especially to the fans of
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel like an understated, wrapped in velvet iron fist right in the feels.
When I was 16 I focussed on the parse, plain prose, on world building and implausibilities; now I cried repeatedly because deep down, in a sense I feel our lives are how main character Kathy H. describes hers

But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.

Probably the first review here that I start with a youtube link, but this song (based on the book instead of the other way around) really does capture the style of this
What a fascinating book... at the start I had problems getting into the story, but when I picked it up again after some time, I was totally intrigued by the story. In these last times, I have been working long hours and had really little time to read. But when going to bed I read a couple of pages before going to sleep, two, three, four... and more. And I ended up really looking forward to reading these few pages at the end of the day, getting slowly to the end and in some wonderous way taking a ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There's no doubt about it, “Never Let Me Go” gives a picture of the '90s that isn't nearly as pretty as the folks on 90210. In the book, you’ll find a dystopia where everything seems perfect. But the sad truth is that this world isn't perfect for everyone. And it's definitely not perfect for Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. I don't want to spill all the beans here, so I’ll just say this: these three friends are in for a wild ride. Over time, they'll learn about their true (and dark) purpose in this funky ...more
A highly acclaimed best-selling novel that has now been made into a film, so I expected a lot from it. The concept from Kazuo Ishiguro is interesting with a slight twist from other science fiction books in this space. The focus is on Kathy and primarily her relationships with Tommy and Ruth, her childhood friends. They all attended Hailsham Boarding School, with no reference to their parents or any family connections. Life was peaceful and gentle, however, not everything seems nor
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Sir Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄), OBE, FRSA, FRSL is a British novelist of Japanese origin and Nobel Laureate in Literature (2017). His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from the University of Kent in 1978 and his Master's from the University of East Anglia's creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.


Articles featuring this book

Kazuo Ishiguro insists he’s an optimist about technology.  “I'm not one of these people who thinks it's going to come and destroy us,” he...
396 likes · 37 comments
“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.” 2822 likes
“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever.” 1752 likes
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