Misty's Reviews > Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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May 07, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: bookclub
Read from May 07 to 20, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I thought I liked this book until about five minutes ago (I just finished it), when I found myself speeding through the last 20 pages or so, just wanting to be done with the book already. Then I recalled that I told a friend that I could've lived without ever reading this book and realized that, despite the good writing and the author's impressive reputation, I didn't like the book after all. I then found myself composing my one-line review of this book, which has now extended to several lines -- "Really great if you've ever wondered about the emotional life of clones." I, for one, have not. This book is the best at the beginning when it is focused on the emotional life of children, before we discover the mystery of Hailsham. But ultimately, I didn't really care deeply about any of the characters, nor did I care about the central conflict of the book, which is the love triangle. Now that I think about it, there was oddly no reflections on life and death that stick out for me -- seems like an obvious theme for a book about children who are created and harvested for their organs.

I'd still like to read Remains of the Day sometime though.
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Kingstoncassidy Cassidy So, I came at the same book form a completely different direction- as a science fiction dork who wanted to see what a real live literary fiction author could do playing in my sandbox. And it's a total failure as science fiction, because the logic of the world doesn't hold together. I mean, we'd create clones and feed and house them for 18 years just to harvest their organs? Like that's cost effective. And the bigotry against clones was both too subtle (I mean, they get to drive around in cars and have beach vacations and stuff) and too dire ( I mean, we kill them for meat). I get that there's something clever the author is doing by having this love triangle play in front and the institutional horror of clone harvesting occur in the background, I mean that's the way it is with people, their personal concerns outweigh their political ones even when their political ones have a greater impact on their lives, but it makes the main characters seem kind of, well, stupid. And clone harvesting makes everybody else seem sort of unbelievable- a practice so horrible would have to go greater lengths to dehumanize it's victims in order to be allowed to exist.


Misty Interesting point - I hadn't really thought of the political implications of the cloning and how the characters react to that. I read another review that said -- Even in the part of the book where the characters learn that they are royally screwed and there is nothing to save them for a fate, they don't really react with much emotion at all.

BTW, is all science fiction inherently political?


Kingstoncassidy Cassidy I guess the idea is that the're so socialized to think it's okay for them to be harvested that they don't bother to rebel except in rare scream-y personal outbursts.

I don't know if it's all inherently political, except in the way that all fiction is inherently political. A lot of non serious sci-fi is just Dan Dare with rocket ships. And a lot of serious science fiction is too metaphysical, about the nature of consciousness or time or whatever, to be properly political.


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