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Never Let Me Go
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > April 2018 - Never Let Me Go

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message 1: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14603 comments One of the group reads for April is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Please discuss the book in this thread.

Clément will be leading the discussion.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during April 2018.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread. Please refer to our group spoiler policy for further information.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions. See our spoiler policy
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


Eliestal | 255 comments Hello everyone and welcome!

If you want to use this book for your yearly challenge, I konw it fits the Gemini task, Copycat: Read a book from the dystopian genre, or set in the future. The word “Dystopia” needs to be listed as a genre on the main book page.
If you know other categories where the book fits, feel free to let everyone know!

I have read the first part already since I was unexpectedly free and not at home this morning. I will share my thought tonight since I am now busy and not at home!

I am looking forward to all of your comments!


Renee (elenarenee) | 1623 comments I am also looking forward to this discussion. It is a book that creates polarizing opinions.


TrudyAn | 1628 comments I will be reading this, and will hopefully start in three or four days.


Vicki | 944 comments I'll start reading it this week. I plan on slotting it in Scorpio-Anti-Venom: stand alone sci-fi. I've never read anything by Kazuo Ishiguro before so I am excited and hope I'll like it.


message 6: by Eliestal (last edited Apr 01, 2018 04:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eliestal | 255 comments Here are my thought on the first part of the novel spanning from chapter 1 to chapter 9 (I discuss things in order of interest so not necessarily in the chapter order):

Prepare for very long post, I had a lot of things to say since I read 9 chapters in one go. Sorry ;)

(view spoiler)

Here are some additionnal thoughts/theories regarding this question I asked myself: (view spoiler) If you don't want that, snce it might be indirect spoilers for the rest of the novel, don't open the next spoiler tag and feel free to read it when you finished the book!

(view spoiler)


Eliestal | 255 comments TrudyAn wrote: "I will be reading this, and will hopefully start in three or four days."

Welcome, you will have plenty of time to read it. Plus, I don't think a lot of people started it yet. It's fine by me since I like to be ahead a little since I read slowly ;)


Eliestal | 255 comments Vicki wrote: "I'll start reading it this week. I plan on slotting it in Scorpio-Anti-Venom: stand alone sci-fi. I've never read anything by Kazuo Ishiguro before so I am excited and hope I'll like it."

I stopped looking when I found the category I talked about. Yours is a perfect fit too. Thanks for the input!


Vicki | 944 comments I've read through chapter 3 so I haven't checked your spoilers yet, Clement.

Donations? (speculation in the spoiler)
(view spoiler)

Late 1990's
Why did the author choose this time period? I don't think it requires a specific time period. Is it to suggest that this may have been happening hidden, unbeknownst to the general public?


message 10: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Janice (jamasc) | 47241 comments I do believe that the late 1990's is significant, Vicki. Just continue with the story and it will become clearer.


Vicki | 944 comments Janice wrote: "I do believe that the late 1990's is significant, Vicki. Just continue with the story and it will become clearer."

ohhoh *intrigued*


Eliestal | 255 comments Vicki wrote: "I've read through chapter 3 so I haven't checked your spoilers yet, Clement.

Donations? (speculation in the spoiler)
[spoilers removed]

Late 1990's
Why did the author choose this time period? I d..."


I should have broke my spoilers a bit more since I read a lot in one go.

I'll second Janice on the importance of the 1990's. I am a little further than my first post, in the middle of chapter 13, and It is getting clearer ;)

Regarding your speculation about donation. It is a very interesting idea. It would fit with (view spoiler)

Why do you think Kathy was able to (view spoiler)


Vicki | 944 comments I'm somewhere in ch 5 now.

Clément wrote: "Why do you think Kathy was able to [spoilers removed] "

Oh I hadn't thought about that. (view spoiler) everything is still a mystery.


message 14: by Eliestal (last edited Apr 04, 2018 01:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eliestal | 255 comments Vicki wrote: "I'm somewhere in ch 5 now.

Clément wrote: "Why do you think Kathy was able to [spoilers removed] "

Oh I hadn't thought about that. [spoilers removed] everything is still a mystery."


Those are all valid points. I am intrigued by the situation as well. I hope we will get more about that after Chapter 5. Here are my thoughts about that question:
(view spoiler)


Renee (elenarenee) | 1623 comments I apologize if this was already posted. I had a confrontation between my computer and my cat. I think the cat won.

I have a couple theories why Cathy remained a carer for so long.

(view spoiler)


message 16: by Eliestal (last edited Apr 04, 2018 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eliestal | 255 comments Renee wrote: "I apologize if this was already posted. I had a confrontation between my computer and my cat. I think the cat won.

I have a couple theories why Cathy remained a carer for so long.

I think there ..."


In those kind of battle, cats always win but I think its fine as I don't see any double posts.

If Vicki is still around Chapter 5, do you think it's safe for her to read that spoiler?

(view spoiler)

I will post two spoiler about chapter 10 through 13 and through 14 to 16 tomorrow since what I talked about is, for me, linked heavily to the event that happened there.


Charlotte (charlotte9927) No spoilers here! :)

I read this book about a year or so ago, and at first I wasn't completely blown away by it. That's because it was my first time reading Kazuo Ishiguro.

I read it for the purposes of my English A Level coursework, where we chose a book from a list to read and write an essay of our choice on.

Once I started re-reading the book and really analysing it, I really saw the beauty of Ishiguro's work. He is so subtle in his writing; as if the characters don't want to admit what they know to be true, which seems to be a recurring theme in several of his books (I highly recommend The Remains of the Day).

I wrote an essay with the title: "Examine the view that human beings are 'lured not so much to the present, let alone the future, as to the past'.

Compare and contrast presentations of the past in Tennyson’s poetry and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go."

I chose this because of the nostalgic way in which Ishiguro writes. Analysing it and pulling it apart was so interesting and really gave me more depth and understanding of the characters and what they are going through.

Even if you haven't read any poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (you should!), I think this topic is really interesting and I'd love to discuss it with anyone who is willing to listen! If anyone wants to read the essay or part of it (it got an A, a few marks off of an A* I believe; not boasting, just telling you that I did put a huge amount of effort into it and am proud!) then let me know how I can get it out into this Goodreads group as I'm pretty new to Goodreads and don't know the best way to do it!

I'm excited to see what other topics come up on discussing this book, as I really did enjoy it and just writing this is making me want to re read it and talk about it!

Ishiguro has a beautiful way of writing books that get more heartbreaking each time you re-read or re-think about them and discover each deeper layer of the story. That is true writing skill.


message 18: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 1 star

Janice (jamasc) | 47241 comments Welcome to the group, Charlotte. Your essay topic is quite interesting. Congratulations on getting a great mark on it. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on this book as the discussion continues.

I don't think there is any way of posting or distributing your essay, if that is your intention.


Charlotte (charlotte9927) Janice wrote: "Welcome to the group, Charlotte. Your essay topic is quite interesting. Congratulations on getting a great mark on it. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on this book as the discussion..."

Thank you! Glad to be here :) Nevermind, I am happy to discuss the topic with anyone that wants to or brings anything similar up.

I think it says on your post that you rated NLMG with one star; if you did, could you explain why? I'd like to hear what you thought of it :)


Eliestal | 255 comments Feel free to comment on what is already posted! I plan to put two spoiler tag on Part II since I finished it this morning. I love it so far! ;)

I am curious to hear what you have to say about the book!

And, before I forget, welcome to the group! :)


message 21: by Sarah, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sarah | 18119 comments Welcome to the group Charlotte. Yes please do get involved in the conversation.

I am not reading this one with the group as I read it a few years back. I wasn't all that fussed about it and ended up rating it 3 stars I believe. I cannot remember huge amounts about the book now but I remember not liking the writing style and how it was narrated. It felt quite rambling when the narrator kept saying "before I explain this I need to go back and explain something else first". It drove me crazy. Also addressing the reader. I find this irritating. I want to be absorbed in a story to the point where I forget I'm reading. When this happens, it takes me out of the story.


message 22: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Apr 06, 2018 07:09AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Janice (jamasc) | 47241 comments Charlotte wrote: "I think it says on your post that you rated NLMG with one star; if you did, could you explain why? I'd like to hear what you thought of it :) "

My real life book club read it in 2009. The book elicited a strong negative emotional response from me. It made me angry.

I had to really think about what my rating system represents and decided that I generally rate my enjoyment factor. Did I enjoy this book? No. If I rated on the emotional impact (regardless of the favourability or negativity of that impact), I would give this 5 stars. This is the one book that I remember details even 9 years later. I have given 5 stars in the last year to books that I'm hard pressed to remember. It's also the one book that made me re-evaluate my rating system.

Of all the books my real life book club discussed, this one generated the most discussion. We all had similar reactions to the content.


message 23: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 2071 comments I am just starting chapter 12 now.
Until just recently, I have found myself being frustrated by the writing style, struggling to keep the hopscotching timeline straight.
Arrgh, So many questions . . . (view spoiler)
Too many questions, not enough answers . . .


Vicki | 944 comments Sarah wrote: " ... I remember not liking the writing style and how it was narrated. It felt quite rambling when the narrator kept saying "before I explain this I need to go back and explain something else first". It drove me crazy. Also addressing the reader. I find this irritating. I want to be absorbed in a story to the point where I forget I'm reading. When this happens, it takes me out of the story."

I agree with you completely, Sarah. I am not enjoying the way the narrator is remembering her past to us at all.

I've just finished ch 9/part 1 and I hope it will be better once they've left school.

Clément wrote: "Here are my thought on the first part of the novel spanning from chapter 1 to chapter 9 (I discuss things in order of interest so not necessarily in the chapter order):

Prepare for very long post,..."


About their Education
(view spoiler)

Speculation about Art (ch 9)
(view spoiler)


Vicki | 944 comments I just can't stand this trio
(chapter 15)

(view spoiler)

Other random things
(view spoiler)

Jenn wrote: "I am just starting chapter 12 now.
Until just recently, I have found myself being frustrated by the writing style, struggling to keep the hopscotching timeline straight.
Arrgh, So many questions ...."


(view spoiler)

Like you say, lots of questions still.


Charlotte (charlotte9927) Janice wrote: "Charlotte wrote: "I think it says on your post that you rated NLMG with one star; if you did, could you explain why? I'd like to hear what you thought of it :) "

My real life book club read it in ..."


This is so interesting to me!! This makes me wonder how books should be rate then; because to me, a good book elicits a strong emotional response, whether good or bad; it has meaning, conveys a message, or has some other purpose (some books are just entertaining/take you away from reality). This links back to a discussion with someone I was having recently about what defines 'art'. When is something art? When is something a good book? There's no answer, only opinion, but it's a really interesting discussion to have.


message 27: by Jenn (last edited Apr 07, 2018 03:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 2071 comments All spoilers based on a finished book

I just finished, and have no idea (yet) if I actually liked it, or not . . . based on Charlotte's criteria I would have to say yes. I know I had major issues following the timeline through Kathy's memory recollections, but that did get a lot less jerky in the last third of the book. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but (view spoiler)
Education (view spoiler)
(All spoilers based on a finished book)
Vicki made an interesting observation (view spoiler)
Moral/Ethical (view spoiler)


Vicki | 944 comments I've finished it.

I'm giving it 4 stars. I think I would give it 5 only I didn't like any of the characters which dulls the poignancy. I don't think it's particularly fair of me as (view spoiler) I know I also complained about the story jumping all over the place but I think it was true to the narrator and is how you often remember things/tell stories.

I'm not going into the other stuff just yet but one thing that just seems glaring to me. (view spoiler)


Renee (elenarenee) | 1623 comments Vicky here is my theory (view spoiler)


Vicki wrote: "I've finished it.

I'm giving it 4 stars. I think I would give it 5 only I didn't like any of the characters which dulls the poignancy. I don't think it's particularly fair of me as [spoilers remov..."



message 30: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 2071 comments Renee wrote: "Vicky here is my theory [spoilers removed]"
(view spoiler)


Casceil | 2613 comments Whole Book Spoiler follows.

I read this book in 2012, with another group. I had a very strong reaction to it. Today I went back into that other group's archives and pulled up my comments from 2012. Here they are: (view spoiler)


message 32: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 2071 comments Casceil wrote: "Whole Book Spoiler follows."
(view spoiler)
It's a hard book for me to try to dissect, the injustice gets in the way and just pisses me off.

I'm going back to my cemetery of forgotten books to cool off for awhile.


Eliestal | 255 comments Vicki wrote: "I just can't stand this trio
(chapter 15)

Ruth is right, she is made from a rubbish model. She is so conniving I do not understand Kathy's loyalty to her and how on earth Tommy puts up with her.

..."


Replying to message 24 and 25 since I have fallen behind. This will serve as my point of view up until the beginning of part 3 as there are a lot of point to speak about.
I am currently at (view spoiler).

Education
(view spoiler)

Meaning of art vs meaning of names
(view spoiler)

On freedom and manipulation
(view spoiler)

The trio
(view spoiler)

Moral and Ethic
(view spoiler)


Renee (elenarenee) | 1623 comments Casceil (view spoiler)


Vicki | 944 comments I've changed my rating to 5 star. The thing I keep thinking about is
(view spoiler)


TrudyAn | 1628 comments I finally began reading the book yesterday, and am the end of Part one. Reading spoilers ahead of where I am doesn’t necessarily spoil a book for me. But, this novel has such atmosphere and so much foreshadowing, I don’t want to know anything in advance. So, I haven’t read any of the spoilers above.

My comments and questions, so far: (view spoiler)


Renee (elenarenee) | 1623 comments TrudyAn , you are smart to avoid spoilers. I loved the shock of the stories twist. I hope you do too.


TrudyAn wrote: "I finally began reading the book yesterday, and am the end of Part one. Reading spoilers ahead of where I am doesn’t necessarily spoil a book for me. But, this novel has such atmosphere and so much..."


TrudyAn | 1628 comments I’ve finished reading the book and have read the comments above. The book is both disturbing and thought provoking. I enjoyed the first-person narrative, and thought the pacing was great, with Kath slowly revealing more and more detail to the reader.

(view spoiler)


Carla | 244 comments I just started the book last night and got to the end of Part One. I could not put this book down. I think the overall mystery and the questions that kept popping into my mind really made me keep reading.

I've read some comments but on my iPad spoilers are removed so I haven't seen any details. I do agree that some of the characters aren't very likeable (view spoiler)

The jumping around in the storyline hasn't bothered me since many people tell stories this way as they are remembering things. I wonder if she also does this as she puts the past puzzle pieces together for herself.

So many questions still (view spoiler)

It's a snow day here so I'm going back to reading. Will hopefully have this finished later today. If my spoilers didn't work please let me know.


Eliestal | 255 comments Carla wrote: "I just started the book last night and got to the end of Part One. I could not put this book down. I think the overall mystery and the questions that kept popping into my mind really made me keep r..."

Welcome! I hope you will enjoy it until the end. Regarding your questions, I can only say this for now: keep reading! ;)


message 41: by Eliestal (last edited Apr 16, 2018 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eliestal | 255 comments I finished the book this week end but it was difficult to collect my though about it. This is a very interesting book and the one that made me think the most. Even though, like most people pointed out, the characters were for the most part unlikeable, I still enjoy Kathy's point of view. I gave it 5 stars.

Since we talked a lot about this book during the book-choosing phase, after finishing it, do you still think this book fits the medical theme?
I think the book still fits the medical theme, even though (view spoiler)

First, about the narration. For me, I like the type of narration use here. The jumps between fashback and present time didn't bother me and it felt like Kathy (view spoiler). After finishing the book, do you think that we, as the reader, (view spoiler).

I was pleased that we had more explaination about Art. Those couple of chapters might have been the most important of the book. (view spoiler).

The talk about Art leads to important discoveries about Hailsham and (view spoiler).

Seeing the evolution of Kathy and other Hailsham student was very interesting as well. (view spoiler).


Carla | 244 comments Clément wrote: "Carla wrote: "I just started the book last night and got to the end of Part One. I could not put this book down. I think the overall mystery and the questions that kept popping into my mind really ..."

Thank you Clement. I didn't quite get finished last night but I'm almost there, and like you said, "just keep reading". Most of my
suspicions have been confirmed. (view spoiler)

I thought the explanation of the art was an important element. (view spoiler)

I really really disliked Ruth's character by the time they were in the Cottages but that didn't change my opinion of the book. You can love a book without loving the characters. I think having a character that you feel strongly about either way means the author has done something right.

I'll post again when I finish the book.


Carla | 244 comments Jenn wrote: "I am just starting chapter 12 now.
Until just recently, I have found myself being frustrated by the writing style, struggling to keep the hopscotching timeline straight.
Arrgh, So many questions ...."


I felt the same way at that point Jenn. I was enjoying the mystery of it but at the same time thinking, Wow I have a lot of unanswered questions for being this far along in the book. It does become clearer although you may not be satisfied with the answers.


message 44: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14603 comments Clément, just wanted to say you're doing a great job on your first time as discussion leader! I hope you're enjoying it :)


Renee (elenarenee) | 1623 comments I agree with Peggy. This has been a very enjoyable discussion. Thank You Clement.

>Peggy wrote: "Clément, just wanted to say you're doing a great job on your first time as discussion leader! I hope you're enjoying it :)"


message 46: by Eliestal (last edited Apr 22, 2018 11:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eliestal | 255 comments @Peggy and @Renee:

Thanks! I try my best I am glad to know that at least some people enjoyed what I had to say.
I think it would have been harder to keep up if I hadn't started the book a little before. I am glad I finished the book I was reading at that time at the perfect moment :)


Eliestal | 255 comments Carla wrote: "Clément wrote: "Carla wrote: "I just started the book last night and got to the end of Part One. I could not put this book down. I think the overall mystery and the questions that kept popping into..."

(view spoiler)


Carla | 244 comments Clément wrote: "Carla wrote: "Clément wrote: "Carla wrote: "I just started the book last night and got to the end of Part One. I could not put this book down. I think the overall mystery and the questions that kep..."

Oh I agree with you regarding Tommy. I felt that part was very moving. Overall I give the book 5 stars. It kept me reading and made me feel some very strong emotions and made me really think about the issues the characters were facing.


message 49: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14603 comments Only a few people have posted in the reporting thread so far. Don't forget to do so in order to get your badge!


Sharon (alynor) | 298 comments I regret coming late to the discussion because there is so much to unpack in this book. I just finished last night.

First, I will add my praise to Clément for excellent discussion leadership! Thank you. I'm not sure I have much to add, but I'll try.

I read without benefit of any advance preparation aside from the description on the back cover, and the genre categories of science fiction and dystopian on the goodreads listing. As the story unfolded, I kept thinking of its parallels to (view spoiler)

Morality was such a dominant theme of the book that the absence of (view spoiler)

I'm also thinking of the discussion about ratings. I've generally been in the same place as Janice, downrating a book if I didn't enjoy it. Sometimes I've been impressed by the quality of the writing and viewed the book as a literary achievement, but held back a star because it gave me no pleasure. Most recently, The Underground Railroad fit into that category. I'm tempted to do the same here, except that I'm so in awe of Ishiguro's skills as a novelist that I just can't do it. 5.


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