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June 2016- Never Let Me Go > June 2016- Never Let Me Go

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message 1: by Candice (new)


message 2: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments Hi everyone I'll be the discussion leader this month for the first time! I'm really excited to discuss Never Let Me Go. I'm about halfway through. How many of you have started it or read it before? It was adapted into a movie in 2010, though I've not seen it and don't plan to until after I've finished reading. Was anyone familiar with the plot before they started reading? (no spoilers yet).

message 3: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) Hi Marnie, I just finished the book and really enjoyed it. I am generally not a fan of this kind of dystopian story but Never Let Me Go felt different to me. It is a sad but gentle story, rather dreamlike and while thought provoking on scientific advances it is not preachy or political. I knew nothing about it before I started. I have not seen the movie yet but want to. Thank you for leading the discussion. I am looking forward to it.

message 4: by Sam (new)

Sam Campbell | 35 comments I'm about 3/4 through the book. I have read a few dystopia books and this isn't really in the same class. I'm finding it a bit weak with the story line slowly trickling through the various chapters. I'm hoping for a big dramatic ending but I'm not going to hold my breath. Looking forward to hearing others views.

message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul Fouche | 11 comments Mmm...learned a new word..."dystopia":-). Halfway through so no dystopian world yet. I have to say the author uses simple English language brilliantly!

message 6: by Rita (new)

Rita (belgiansewandgrow60) Loved this book!

message 7: by Vavita (new)

Vavita I read it at the beginning of the year and found very interesting.
I would be interested to see what you think of it and if you found it surprising.
In general I think it is very well written and very sad. It gave me at the end a sense of inertia because I had the feeling I wanted to change the situation and couldn't

message 8: by Rita (new)

Rita (belgiansewandgrow60) Yes! very upsetting.

message 9: by Martin (last edited Jun 03, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Martin Waterhouse I just noticed that "Never Let Me Go" is being read as part of BBC Radio 4's Dangerous Visions season: Should be good. :-)

message 10: by Reija (new)

Reija Oh, this is one of my favorites. I wish I could have time to re-read it again. Thanks for link Martin I think I'm gonna try it.

message 11: by George P. (new)

George P. I started Never Let Me Go early, listening to the e-audiobook. My time ran out on the audiobook and I couldn't renew and finished with the paper book. a couple days ago. I can't think of the readers name - Stevens or Stevenson perhaps – but I liked the audio version a lot. I would like to see the film version now.

message 12: by Rita (new)

Rita (belgiansewandgrow60) it is not as good as the book

message 13: by Rita (new)

Rita (belgiansewandgrow60) I felt it lost a lot of the subtlety which is so amazing in the book. story was a bit different too as usual with films.

message 14: by Vavita (new)

Vavita I did not even know there was a movie! I have to search for ti in netflix or amazon!

message 15: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments The subtlety of the book is the real beauty of the story, it's a shame the movie didn't capture it. ( I'll still watch it though).

message 16: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments I had heard someone describe the book a bit so I knew something strange would pop up in the story, but I didn't know exactly what. I was surprised a bit as the story started unfolding, but I'm sure I would have found it more so if I'd never heard anything about the book. The normality of the characters keeps you feeling like all this is all normal, just like they were taught at Halisham.

message 17: by George P. (new)

George P. I didn't really know anything about the story before starting except what it says in my Boxall "1001 Books You Must Read..." 2006 edition- it is the last entry, being published in 2005. I noted that (like many of the books from 2000-2005) it hasn't been retained in later editions. It says the students of Hailsham are destined to make a sacrifice "for the collective good".
Reading it, I felt somewhat frustrated that Ishiguro had chapter after chapter, well into the book before ever telling us a little more about the process of the donations they were to make. But that was his method.

message 18: by Sahbu (new)

Sahbu (sahbugomez) | 1 comments Hi! A cousin brought Never Let Me Go in one of our sleepovers. I took it because she wasn't reading it anyway. I had no idea what the book was all about but it was one my bitter-sweet reads that opened me to scifi.

First time here.

message 19: by Blueberry (new)

Blueberry (blueberry1) I've never enjoyed Kazuo Ishiguro's writing. I find it to be cold and detached.

message 20: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments Speaking of his writing style ... How did you guys feel about the way he lead into things with teasers? Such as when Kathy says "What happened after that row over the chess illustrates pretty well the point I'm making" at the end of the first part of ch 5. The "row over the chess" hasn't been mentioned yet at all, so the reader has to continue to find out what's she's talking about. Ishiguro does this in several places. It reminded me of mystery writing.

message 21: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) I'd say that was one thing I didn't care for. Overall, I really enjoyed the book but the teasers were excessive. At first they built some tension but after awhile it lost the effect for me. The revealed info did not live up to the teasers so after awhile I felt like the writer was crying wolf. I got weary of "what happened next was shocking, totally unexpected, life changing". It never was. I think the story would have been effective without these empty promises of "something big is about to happen, ... just kidding" moments.

message 22: by Valerie (last edited Jun 08, 2016 10:02AM) (new)

Valerie Brown That's interesting, Beth. I had the same feeling about 'the teasers', but then I thought that I was approaching it from the wrong perspective. The narrator (and all of her friends) have such limited experience + knowledge of the world that to her the 'life changing occurrences" would be just that (even though to us they are trite).

Overall, I found this to be a very slow moving, quiet, and sad book (although not hard to read at all). I think it/Ishiguro does a good job of raising moral and ethical issues (which you realize fully by the end of the book).

message 23: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) Valerie, you bring up a good point. I had not considered that Kathy was telling the story and these teasers were pivotal moments for her in her sheltered world.

message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 09, 2016 06:05AM) (new)

Valerie wrote: "That's interesting, Beth. I had the same feeling about 'the teasers', but then I thought that I was approaching it from the wrong perspective. The narrator (and all of her friends) have such limite..."

Beth and Valerie, I agree with you with respect to the "teasers." I thought it would have been a much more effective device if it was utilized less frequently. As it was, they definitely got a bit old toward the end of the book.

That said, this book was just wonderful. It was lovely, delicate and heartbreaking, and yet grotesque and dreadful all at once. It really made an impression on me emotionally.

Marnie, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the subtlety was what made it so beautiful! A very haunting experience to be sure.

Also, Beth, the "pivotal" moments Kathy chose to remark upon were certainly trivial in comparison to the true horror that no one ever really allowed themselves to acknowledge. Perhaps Ishiguro purposely chose to highlight that disparity to make the reader even more unsettled and upset about the situation.

message 25: by George P. (new)

George P. Reading this book, I felt as though I had met a group of people who seemed mostly normal, but somehow odd. And I wasn't allowed to ask them any questions to find out more about them ("Did you have some sort of parents when you were younger, or what?") I wanted to ask them if they were really ok with being donors, or if they thought about running away and changing their names. But all I could do was listen to their conversations and wait to see what they did. Frustrating in a way but curiosity-provoking.
I'm not quite sure that the adjective "dystopian" is fitting, because their world seemed so normal except for their own experience, their destiny.

message 26: by Weng (new)

Weng (hungrybookaholics) | 4 comments I've read the book a couple of years back and loved it. I used to shy away from anything "dystopian" but this one's different. Its gentler and sad and I felt a lot of longing. Because of this book which has been classified as dystopian, I am all the more hesitant to pick up anything from that genre.

message 27: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Brown In my mind this novel shouldn't be classified as dystopian. It is much closer to Ian McEwan's Amsterdam, which is classified as fiction. It could just fall into science fiction (just), but maybe 'dsytopian" is the trendy genre now!

message 28: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) It still feels dystopian to me because it is set in a place/time where there is do much chronic "old" illness that the "donation program" was implemented. But, I definitely feel a little differently having read a lot of other comments. This is such a great discussion book.

message 29: by Colleen (last edited Jun 10, 2016 05:29PM) (new)

Colleen I wish I were joining you for this one. Looks so good. Unfortunately, I am way behind in my reading schedule and have much to catch up on. Hopefully I'll get to comment in soon. And see the movie. :)

message 30: by George P. (new)

George P. Colleen wrote: "... Unfortunately, I am way behind in my reading schedule and have much to catch up on. Hopefully I'll get to comment in soon. And see the movie. :)"
You just have to make time for it each day. I've finished this one and am reading five more at once- which is probably at least 1 too many, I'll admit (I've vowed not to start another until I finish a couple of them).

message 31: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments How does everyone feel about the characters' likeableness? I think I disliked Ruth since the imaginary horse-play when she and Kath met. Occasionally she did something redeemable but it seems more often then not her actions annoyed me. Thoughts?

message 32: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Brown I agree Marnie. Generally, I don't need to like a character (after all that's how the author made them) - but Ruth really annoyed me. I disliked her throughout the whole book.

However, it brings up an interesting question - is her behavior that same as her "mother"? To me, that was one of the more interesting aspects of the novel - that the characters all have different personalities. I would say this is contrary to how most sci-fi about this subject (trying not to spoil it for anyone who hasn't finished) has portrayed it.

message 33: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Wow George, that takes talent and commitment! I wonder if I would get more read that way...unfortunately I am pretty loyal to one book at a time.

message 34: by George P. (last edited Jun 16, 2016 09:43AM) (new)

George P. The character Ruth definitely had her faults, but she seemed to have a bond of friendship with Kathy despite that. She seemed to have a real problem with envy particularly and she may have stolen Kathys tape- the one that gives the novel its title. She does express some remorse later which redeemed her somewhat in my mind though. Generally you need some conflict between characters (or the main character and some entity or cultural force) to make a story interesting and Ruth serves that purpose.

message 35: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments That's a good point George, Ruth does serve that purpose well.
Also, I'm definitely a multi- book reader myself. I always try to make them different genres or time periods so I can keep them separated in my mind.

message 36: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Brown That's a good point George. Perhaps this was a way to drive home the point that they 'had' to be friends with each other because they weren't accepted into the rest of society.

message 37: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) I neither liked or disliked Ruth. She struck me as a teenager with a mean streak within the norm but in a very abnormal world. She let her secret go on way too long but once the school years were over and there was physical and emotional distance between the friends, it became easier to supress any disclosure of past wrongs. Ruth obviously harbored guilt and remorse over doing so but it may have taken maturity and facing her own mortality to get her to that place.

message 38: by George P. (last edited Jun 16, 2016 09:52AM) (new)

George P. Have some of you read Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, and if so, did you enjoy it?
I have had it on my to-read list for a while- moved it lower in my list because of reading this novel, I generally don't like reading 2 novels by the same author in a period of a year or so. It got the Man-Booker prize in '89 (perhaps it was still called just the Booker prize then). It has over 100,000 ratings on Goodreads and an avg of 4.1- both very high numbers.
There was a good movie made from it.

message 39: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments George, I haven't read it but I do want to read it now, I'm interested I seeing the style similarities. I did see the movie and I thought there were things that probably were explained better in the book and seemed unfinished in the movie. It's definitely on my too-read list now

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Marnie wrote: "George, I haven't read it but I do want to read it now, I'm interested I seeing the style similarities. I did see the movie and I thought there were things that probably were explained better in th..."

I too have been hearing nothing but good things about The Remains of the Day, and am interested in checking it out. If anyone is interested, perhaps in a month or two we can read it as a buddy read!

message 41: by Paul (new)

Paul Fouche | 11 comments "Never let me go" is a deeply disturbing and sad, very sad book. Don't get me wrong, Ishiguro is a master writer, but I want to feel good after I have read a book and not the way I feel now.

message 42: by George P. (new)

George P. Ishiguro also has 3 other novels (besides The Remains of the Day) in the 2012 "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die": The Unconsoled, An Artist of the Floating World, and A Pale View of Hills. So the critics/literary experts think very highly of his writing.

message 43: by Rita (new)

Rita (belgiansewandgrow60) Yes Paul must say I agree with you!

message 44: by Leo (last edited Jun 21, 2016 02:31PM) (new)

Leo Walsh (llleoll) | 17 comments First book I;ve read with theis group... and the time I've read the book. But as a reader of both SF/ Fantasy and literary fiction, I love it when a superior writer writes in the genre. Because they bring the focus on character. And when that writer also has a first-class mind like Ishiguro, they use the plot to trace some amazing ideas.

This is reminding me of both David Mitchel and Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale." It seems chilling that these people are being raised like cattle, and only for their organs. It has resonance of slavery or extreme Free-Market capitalism, where people are reduced to what they can produce.

Cannot wait to get to the end.

message 45: by Leo (new)

Leo Walsh (llleoll) | 17 comments George wrote: "Have some of you read Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, and if so, did you enjoy it?

Never having seen the movie, I read"Remains of the Day" about a year ago on the recommendation of a creative writing teacher. It is spectacular, and I added it to my favorites list. It's a tragic tale about a man realizing he had forgone much in his pursuit of his profession.

Heartbreaking and profound, IMHO. And much different than and superior to "Never Let Me Go."

message 46: by Marnie (new)

Marnie | 20 comments Tara- I all for doing a buddy read of Remains of the Day. I think Leo's review definitely pushed it up in my queue of books to read.

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Marnie wrote: "Tara- I all for doing a buddy read of Remains of the Day. I think Leo's review definitely pushed it up in my queue of books to read."

Leo, you make it sound very intriguing! And Marnie, I'm glad to hear you'd be up for a buddy read. We'll have to set something up, perhaps toward the end of summer?

message 48: by Christine (new)

Christine I really enjoyed this book but not in the feel good way. At first the conversational style of writing annoyed me but as I got to know the narrator I enjoyed hearing her story and looked forward to how her relationship with Tommy and Ruth would unfold. I felt like it was one of those movie scenes where something tragic has happened and Kathy was in a small room telling her side of the story with the tape player recording. I did like how the author walked the balance between (view spoiler)

One of the most tragic things that hit me the hardest was that the society was ok with the (view spoiler)

Also, Ishiguro does an excellent job of developing the characters without being obvious. Overall a beautifully written book.

message 49: by Joyce (new)

Joyce While I was reading this book, I had a reminiscence of reading The Great Gatsby. Maybe because of the love triangle, or maybe because of the complicated relationships, but also the similar style of writing. The slow, well-developed atmosphere and the details of the children's environment that provide more than just a backdrop for the story. Now that I think more about it, both of the stories also dealt with "class" and "status" within society, even though the stories didn't follow the same path.

Did anyone else think that the donors were perhaps representative of a current day minority group? There are groups out there today that are limited in their opportunities and the expectations by others is such that they are to act and play out their lives in a prescribed way, so much so that no one even questions or tries to break out of the status quo.

message 50: by Christine (new)

Christine | 3 comments Paul wrote: ""Never let me go" is a deeply disturbing and sad, very sad book. Don't get me wrong, Ishiguro is a master writer, but I want to feel good after I have read a book and not the way I feel now."

Paul, I absolutely agree. I thought Ishiguro was very clever at the beginning - how he used seemingly innocuous words in a way that was just a little off and left my skin crawling. But like Beth said, the teasers got old after a while and I found he was testing my patience dragging things out. Then, for me, when he finally revealed the full extent of their world, it just fell flat. I found the ending and their complacency about it really depressing.

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