I am doing this update primarily because I have been forced into it, courtesy my sister. This book was suggested to me by one of my friends who’s judgement on books I defer to. Well, usually. The cover said ‘Never Let Me Go’ and there was a photo of a girl, presumably dancing. I detest romantic novels with a religious fervour. And well as far as first impressions were concerned, I had to consume a bucket of salt to actually get myself to read the book. That I got blown over by the book is an understatement.
The story revolves around Kathy H, as she grows up in the enigmatic boarding school known as Hailsham House. As usual, Kazuo Ishiguro plays with his forte, which are strong character building and relationship dynamics. You can see that he focuses mostly on Kathy and her relationship with her friend Ruth and her longtime love interest Tommy. My last sentence with “her friend Ruth” and “her longtime love interest Tommy” would be a simplification because with Kazuo Ishiguro things are never that simple. Not that I’m complaining.
He follows the life of Kathy and her friends – Ruth and Tommy from their childhood. They grow up, as the book progresses, and so does the reader; as they learn about the dystopian Britain that Ishiguro is depicting through the eyes of his protagonist. As they grow up trying to figure out the mystery surrounding Hailsham House, their teachers and the outside world, they must contend with each other as people get progressively complicated, thereby affecting their relationship with each other. I could describe what kind of people Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are and how they affect the other, but to do that would be sacrilege seeing that that is exactly what the book is all about. The plot on the other hand is simple. As the main characters grow up, they come face to face with their fate and whether they can change it is something that they must find out.
The book belongs to what they say coming-of-age genre, something that’s explored in many Japanese movies and books. Kazuo Ishiguro has done a masterful work with this one. ‘Never Let Me Go’ is a book with many layers. At every second page you’ll be re-evaluating your notion about a certain character. This gives a sense of realism and allows you to emotionally connect with all the characters in the book, even someone as annoying as Ruth. As I was going through the book I felt as if Ishiguro had been painting beautiful pictures with words, such was the vividness of his writing. There are scenes where you can’t but help conjure up images in your head and be haunted by it thereafter. I especially remember that scene where Kathy is dancing with her doll while ‘Never let me go’ by Judy Bridgewater is softly playing in the background.
That and the ending. I was completely floored. A lot of people have said that the ending was nothing special, but I confess that I nearly broke down.
This book is a gem of English literature and if you haven’t read it, you most definitely should. It’s a must-read. I haven’t read ‘Remains of the Day’ yet, but I’m already awed by Ishiguro. This book is one of those that should be on your bucket list.