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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 
3rd-Aug-2006 11:26 pm
So. I have ex-library copies of The Unconsoled and When We Were Orphans. Should I start on one of them, or should I wait and read Ishiguro's first two novels (A Pale View of the Hills and An Artist of the Floating World) first?

Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. 2005. New York: Vintage, 2006.
Summary: Human clones destined to give their organs and lives to science Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are raised at the exclusive Hailsham boarding school. Though, ultimately, in spite of their hopes, they cannot escape their final fate, even through love, they do after all have their good memories and the good arts education they received to help them cope with the injustice of their lives.
Comments: *sighs* I guess it was too much to hope for another novel as great as The Remains of the Day. The reviews when the novel first came out said as much, but...dammit. Well, anyway, both novels sport a similar structure (unreliable first person narrator, story that jumps from back and forth between the present and memory, etc.) and opposite messages about how to live one's life. Unfortunately, Ishiguro's sixth novel also boasts weaknesses that his third did not. For example, a naive, sheltered girl/young woman isn't exactly the most exciting narrator/protagonist to have passed through literature, and her conscience is comparatively clear of torment and regrets. She is, after all, the victim, and nothing she could have done in her life would have made the end (presumably on the operating table) any different. Speaking of operating tables--the medical/sci-fi elements were a liability. Though arguably there was no other convenient way to give the threesome a suitable inescapable doom to prove that what they HAD had was worthwhile, it needed to be 100% believable, and it WASN'T. What, for example, would--in the real world (as opposed to Ishiguro's narrative imperatives)--justify staggering donations? Not to mention...what three major organs (or parts of organs) could you donate and still be mobile enough to go on roadtrips? Sorry, dude. I'm blanking. >_< Suffice to say that it's decent literary fiction but AWFUL science fiction.
Notes: trade paperback, 7th printing
Rating: 5.5/10 - If a hundred years from now Kazuo Ishiguro goes down in the annals of great English literature, this novel will be a footnote, not a centerpiece.
4th-Aug-2006 11:08 am (UTC)
Don't do this to me!!!

I've been dying to read this book since it first came out late last year. I had such high expectations. I heard an interview with Ishiguro on NPR and he read passages of the book; it sounded so moving. Urgh.
4th-Aug-2006 12:05 pm (UTC)
Heh. Have you read The Remains of the Day already? If you haven't, well, THAT one is honest-to-God affecting. I wanted to give the butler a hug the entire time I was reading, for starters. Err...I could go into more detail, but I'll restrain myself in case you haven't read it. ^^;
1st-Sep-2006 05:25 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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