Sunday, 25 July 2010

CBR2 Book 66: "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Page count: 304 pages
Rating: 2 stars
Date begun: July 5th, 2010
Date finished: July 7th, 2010

The book is narrated by Kathy H., who reminisces about her time growing up in a boarding school, Hailsham, in the English countryside with her friends Ruth and Tommy D. Kathy H. is a carer, and has been for a long time. She takes care of and helps donors, and make life and their donations (as the book progresses it becomes clear they are organ donors), and has been doing this for an unusually long time for a carer. Once she retires, she herself will become a donor.

As the novel progresses Kathy H. recounts more of her school days at Hailsham, and it is clear that there is something more going on with the way the children there are being entirely sheltered from the outside world. Every term the children have to produce various types of craft or art which if they are lucky gets taken away to a mysterious gallery. Once they are old enough, they spend two years acclimatizing to society before they become carers, and then donors.

Who the children of Hailsham (and other similar schools around the country) are, and what their "purpose" in the world is, is gradually revealed throughout the novel. The book is set in the early 1990s, and works as a coming of age novel, but is clearly also a science fiction story and a subtle exploration of racism. I read it mainly because I heard it is being turned into a film with Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan, and I was curious. I thought it was rather slow going, and while some of the ideas explored were quite though-provoking, it did very little for me.

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