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From the Booker Prize winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge of your seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be humanHailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with itWithin the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school as they always knew they would that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I had previously avoided this book, having heard it referred to as British science fiction And when I hear British science fiction, I think of Dr Who Then I think about all those childhood snuff film fantasies where Captain Kirk zaps him Phasers set to kill, dammit Inter dimensional traveling dandies in phone booths are the exception to Federation regulations What is it about the British, anyway A phone booth That s Superman s bag, baby Superhero envy much The sun may have never set I had previously avoided this book, having heard it referred to as British science fiction And when I hear British science fiction, I think of Dr Who Then I think about all those childhood snuff film fantasies where Captain Kirk zaps him Phasers set to kill, dammit Inter dimensional traveling dandies in phone booths are the exception to Federation regulations What is it about the British, anyway A phone booth That s Superman s bag, baby Superhero envy much The sun may have never set on the British Empire, but we Yankees have a guy who can fly faster than the speed of light But then I found myself alone in a big bookstore in a big city trying to divine what the angelic face on the book s cover was looking askance at itself manipulated, no doubt, like the fictional clones whose story it was fashioned to sell and thinking of Kurosawa s definition of art being about the ability to look at humanity in its entirety without flinching.Mulligan I flinched.But Kazuo Ishiguro hasn t And he doesn t think much of me Or you And he s probably correct in that judgment Imagine the most genteel, tea sipping people gathered around fine china in a flowery patterned drawing room somewhere in the English countryside A shaft of midday sun shines through drawn curtains as they politely discuss the day s happenings Then imagine Leatherface, Jack the Ripper, Lex Luther, Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson s dad ransacking everything around them, starting at the furthest perimeters of the house, slowly working their way toward our happy people and ultimately cannibalizing them Then imagine both groups acting as if this is completely normal Nary a word of protest or questioning, mind you That s what this book is like to me.It was very difficult to read, in the psychological sense of read The pathos was too overwhelming I had to take a break from it, about two thirds of the way through I tried to tell myself that it was because I had read the bulk of it as I was hidden away in some claustrophobic hotel room, or that I found the prose tedious at times In truth, though, it succeeds in shining a light on human nature, and I just couldn t bear to look The story made me uncomfortable, and I hated myself for returning to it after having put it aside I was irked by the characters, my inner Kirk screaming, SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING The lethargic creepiness made me realize that no, not only was nobody going to do anything, but that neither I, nor you, nor any of us, are all that different from the people who harvest these poor souls for their organs After all, I m a fat and happy first worlder who less and less has a care or thought for all those who are exploited to make my life possible.We homo sapiens adapt to anything and hang our hats on the most contorted and worn rationalizations.I would grind my teeth and ask, Where is their Marx Their Malcolm X Fuck, I d have settled for Stalin or Benedict Arnold But maybe the revolutionary gene had been isolated and bred out of their clone bodies a distinct possibility, owing to the imperfect knowledge of the first person narrator What s worse is that whereas science may have manipulated them to be docile, we, all of us, have been likewise manipulated by the inertia of history.As I have written, I grew tired with what I saw as tedious prose, the catalog of details about everyday life cited by the narrator But then it dawned on me that this cataloging is exactly the sort of thing a dying person would do Life would take onurgency What you and I may take for granted is pregnant with wonder to the condemned In fact, happy serendipity, this view is supported by a study cited in the November 2009 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin researchers have found that those who profess to be in love areanalytical And what is someone condemned to die other than someone in love with life I winced at Ishiguro s condemnation of liberal half measures in the face of social norms The narrator and her group of friends are raised in an almost humane manner educated, encouraged to cultivate personal friendships with one another, encouraged to pursue art And while they represent the exception, an experiment to demonstrate that clones have souls, they are condemned nonetheless All the petty jealousies and transcendent friendships that framed their short, beautiful lives, are consumed by larger society And while there is never a mention of God, the closest they come is looking up a former instructor who is only mildly repulsed by them and who bids them eat from the Tree of Complete Knowledge.Repeat after me I am pathetic I am powerless.Kirk, succumbing to the Borg after all This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here It is a pity that people are told this is a science fiction book before they read it I feel the least interesting thing about it is that it is science fiction I mean this in much the same way that the least interesting thing one could say about 1984 is that it is science fiction As a piece of literature I enjoyed it muchthan Margaret Atwood s Oryx and Crake and eventhan Huxley s Brave New World The themes that make this book most interesting are to do with the social alienation o It is a pity that people are told this is a science fiction book before they read it I feel the least interesting thing about it is that it is science fiction I mean this in much the same way that the least interesting thing one could say about 1984 is that it is science fiction As a piece of literature I enjoyed it muchthan Margaret Atwood s Oryx and Crake and eventhan Huxley s Brave New World The themes that make this book most interesting are to do with the social alienation of groups of people on the basis of inherited genetic characteristics In fact, as a critique of racism this book is utterly brilliant Those being racially alienated are genetically identical they are in fact clones to those attacking them.Plato believed those in the know should tell lies to those who do not know so as to protect them from the all too horrible truths about life I have always hated this aspect of Plato, always finding it grotesque and frightening in its implications Those implications are drawn out in all their disturbing horror here This book has much to say about the nature of illness and how those inflicted with an illness use the scars of that illness as the badges of truly belonging to the group So that those less advanced in the ravages of the illness don t really know or really belong to the group As a portrait of victims adopting to being victims it says much about us as humans thoughtful readers may find it says far too much I write this on World Aids Day.Ishiguro writes the most nightmarish novels I ve ever read In others, such as The Unconsoled orWhen We Were Orphans the nightmare feeling is due to the dreamlike oddity of the interconnection of events in the story One reads these books in much the same way that one wakes from a disturbing dream, with feelings of disorientation and anxiety Even though this is the most literal nightmare book of his I have read the world he creates being literally a nightmare, and made all the worse by being set in the recent past it is a book totally lacking in that strange dreamlike quality so characteristic of these other novels In this sense it seemed less of a nightmare than these others If you struggled with these, you will not struggle with this in quite the same way.He also has fascinating and quite painful things to say about the nature of love and how love has a proper time, a time that may be lost or missed As someone who has loved, lost and missed I found this particularly challenging The relationship between sex and love and illness is perhaps something people may find simply too much not because this is handled in any way that is too explicit, but because I do believe we like to think that sex, as a manifestation of love, has curative and redemptive powers A book that questions this, questions something we hold very dear and some readers may find this too much to ask.This is also a book about betrayal The betrayals we commit against those we love the most and yet that we barely can understand or explain after we have committed them these are constant throughout the book He is a writer all too aware of the human condition The scene which gives the book its title is a wonderful example of the near impossibility of our being understood by others and yet our endless desire for just such an understanding.There is nothing easy about reading this book although it is written in the simplest of prose It has an honesty of feeling that brands one s soul.I loved this book and have thought about it a lot since I finished reading it and will think about itThere is muchI would like to say, but there is no space May we all be good carers before we complete I can see Never Let Me Go being great for book clubs because it will generate a lot of discussion.That being said, I didn t care for the book, for a couple of different reasons The writing style is very conversational very much like you re having a discussion with the protagonist The thing that annoyed me the most about this was the fact that the things that happened so bob and I went walking to the store and we had a fight about the tree at school and then the writer would tell you abou I can see Never Let Me Go being great for book clubs because it will generate a lot of discussion.That being said, I didn t care for the book, for a couple of different reasons The writing style is very conversational very much like you re having a discussion with the protagonist The thing that annoyed me the most about this was the fact that the things that happened so bob and I went walking to the store and we had a fight about the tree at school and then the writer would tell you about the tree and why it was significant, then tell you about the fight This sort of device is interesting the first few times you see it, but it started to annoy me over time Maybe because I talk like that, and get off into tangents and anecdotes.Also, at the heart of the store is the purpose fate of the main characters I get the impression that the author wanted to drop clues about it, and then reveal it so that it is a shocking twist who s Kaiser Soeze The thing is, the references really aren t that subtle, so by the time the twist is reavealed, it s not all that exciting Not only that, but I had so many questions at the end Like these people know their fate, but they never think to question it, and, in fact, seem to be glad for it.This was supposed to be a coming of age story Generally coming of age involves people growing up and moving forward with their lives often they need to overcome some obstacle to reveal their potential However, the characters seem to be stagnate the whole way through their fate doesn t change The blurb on the back of the book mentions that the characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, all have a shared background that s special, and implies that they re lucky When two of the charaters confront someone to see if they can defer their fate they don t even bother trying to change it , we find out a little bit of what makes their shared background special, but we aren t given anything to compare it to we re just told that similar people have horrible existences, but not how And they find out that they can t defer their fate, but they don t really seem to care they don t even seem to be particularly glad that they tried.I ve seen a couple of reviews compare this to book to Aldous Huxley s classic Brave New World and Margaret Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale Not even close In both of these books we re exposed to an alternate reality, and we see how the main characters deal with their situations Kazuo Ishiguro tries to sneak the alternate reality into the story, to take us by surprise.I could go on, but I won t Let s just say that I didn t care for this book and leave it at that It s very important, if you re intending to read this book, that you don t read any reviews or listen to any talk about it first I had no idea what this book was about before I read it and the blurb gives you a very different impression, actually and so I slipped easily into a story that was as engrossing as it was revealing.If you know something about what to expect, though, I don t think you ll enjoy it nearly as much It s a bit like an art installation that requires audience participati It s very important, if you re intending to read this book, that you don t read any reviews or listen to any talk about it first I had no idea what this book was about before I read it and the blurb gives you a very different impression, actually and so I slipped easily into a story that was as engrossing as it was revealing.If you know something about what to expect, though, I don t think you ll enjoy it nearly as much It s a bit like an art installation that requires audience participation you have to do your bit, too, to make it work, so it makes sense, so it tells the story it was meant to tell Keep yourself in the dark, that s my advice Because of this, there s no point in writing an actual 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