Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > Never Let Me Go

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message 1: by Ann M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:17PM) (new)

Ann M | 39 comments This was the most boring book to come out of the most promising start I have read in my adult life (if that sentence makes any sense). Why don't they run away? Why doesn't the author let something, anything happen? What is the point of writing, much less reading this book? Might as well just say, "shit happens," and read something else instead.

message 2: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:17PM) (new)

Jessica (jes3ica) | 4 comments I will have to respectfully disagree with you. I thought this book was beautiful and heartbreaking. I admire and appreciate Ishiguro's subtle style, but I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone. As to why they didn't run away - they had been conditioned since birth to believe that donating was their destiny. As an example, I think Tommy's grave dedication to his drawings as an adult shows how much they didn't really feel like other options existed.

I can see people feeling the same way about Ishiguro's Remains of the Day. What really happens? He drives around the country for a few days. Yet it is one of my favorite books.

I'm interested to hear what other people have to say. Thanks for starting the discussion!

message 3: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments I read Remains of the Day and liked it but also thought it was strange and somewhat frustrating. I heard Never Let Me Go as a CD in my car and thought it was fascinating but also frustrating. I think Ishiguro's theme seems to be that people find themselves in situations and cannot find any way out. I actually disliked the heroine in Never Let Me Go but the premise of the book - that there could be a time when people are raised to be organ donors and that is their only value - was very interesting to think about. I liked both books but at the same time can understand how someone would hate them. There is a kind of ennui in the characters (I like that word a lot!) that makes you want to shake them until their heads snap off. Lol.

message 4: by Benjamin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

Benjamin | 3 comments I thought Never Let Me Go was terrible; Ishiguro's trademark ennui-filed characters wandering around a banal low-rent sci-fi premise. Plus the typesetting gave me a headache. Or maybe that was just from being clubbed repeatedly over the head with the Moral Message...

On the other hand, I really liked The Unconsoled. I feel like people wandering around a foggy and vaguely sinister Eastern Europe while filled with ennui is very appropriate.

Never Let Me Go and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale should be used in writing classes as examples of how /not/ to write a moral/political book. (Julian Barnes' England, England could be included too, but at least his book is funny.) Good examples? I'd suggest M.J. Engh's Arslan, and DeLillo's White Noise.

message 5: by Christy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

Christy I liked both Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. Both, as someone noted above, share in common that the narrators deny themselves a fulfilling life. The reader can clearly see how they have limited their own lives, and you do want to shake some sense into them, but in this case, at least, I didn't find it diminished my appreciation for the novel(s).

I must disagree with Ben as I didn't feel like the message was being clubbed into me. Some moral message stories are so filled with self-righteous indignation about x that it's unbearable, but Never Let Me Go, mostly due to its choice of narrator, sidesteps that. That is, after finishing the novel, I felt invited to question as opposed to being forced upon with the argument and answer.

message 6: by Benjamin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Benjamin | 3 comments I just can't imagine a reader thinking, "Hmmm, you know, harvesting people for their organs might actually be a good idea. It's a complex issue that I'll have to consider." And if it's a given that the fictional world is Wrong, then the characters--no matter how conflicted or interesting they themselves may be--exist narratively only to demonstrate that Wrongness to an audience that's already convinced. That's why I think it's difficult to write a good Dystopian novel. An author has to make the Dystopian world genuinely attractive, otherwise she's just preaching to the choir.

message 7: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Michael I enjoyed the book but I have to say that it's fairly derivative of some other works.

message 8: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments Ben, I didn't think that harvesting organs from people raised for that purpose is a good idea. I do think that it is an interesting premise on which to base a novel. There are families who have children so that they can provide stem cells for their other children. This occurs now. I once heard Mary Higgins Clark speak, and when she was asked how she came up with plot ideas she stated that she would ask herself "What if?". I like this concept a lot. I had no idea what Never Let Me Go was about when I started reading it. As I went through the chapters I realized that the author had asked himself "What if we actually raised people to later harvest their organs?". Morally I had never even considered such a thing. Ishiguro made me think about that question.

message 9: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments I loved the The Handmaid's Tale. I haven't read The Unconsoled and look forward to finding it. This web site is great; it's giving me good selections of books I haven't read. Thanks for the recommendations of Arslan and White Noise. I think I may have read White Noise but will have to check.

message 10: by Christy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Christy I would say that the book's thought-provoking power was not so much in the narrow debate of should or should we not clone people to use for their organs, but rather it made me think about how society chooses to ignore certain kinds of people, to prefer not to think about them. Kathy and those like her formed a kind of shadow population that most of society could not even think of as capable of human aspirations and creativity. So the book provoked me to think about what shadow populations already exist, how we ignore them, how they are exploited.

message 11: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Jessica (jes3ica) | 4 comments Yes! Absolutely, Christy!

message 12: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new)

Mark I hadn't seen this topic before, but I'm glad I did. I have found most Ishiguro books to be horridly boring. It does not seem like he has a life, i.e., it doesn't seem like he is acquiring many life experiences. I did like Remains of the Day because of its tone and what I know about the history of the British Empire, but nothing since then by him has seemed good to me. I deplore the fact that he is usually on the Man-Booker Prize lists, and I applaud that he is not on it this year. But when he publishes a book, it always makes it to the list. I hope (fingers and toes crossed) that he never wins the Nobel Prize. To write about harvesting tissue, wow, that's an original idea. Jeez, let me see, was that on TV?

message 13: by Cassiel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new)

Cassiel I had to give up on The Unconsoled. OK, I got the gestalt of the book, but I couldn't care less about it. I have Never Let Me Go sitting here gathering dust, and after reading the first few paragraphs, it appears to be another tedious, dull...oh wow so there is organ harvesting in the book?! I'll jump right in now.

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