Saturday, 17 July 2010
Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is what happened when I went to buy this book in London’s Waterstones;
Shop assistant: “Oh my sister loves this writer; she’s read everything he’s written”
Me: “That’s good to hear” (feeling smug that I’m obviously on to a good’un)
Shop assistant “yeah, I can’t understand it myself. Personally I hate his writing”
OK so I picked myself up a writer that could go either way. I'm OK with that, sometimes I like seeing which side of the fence I sit on. I wasn’t going to read this novel so soon after buying it but when Christy from 'A good stopping point' left a comment letting me know the movie adaptation will soon be out I moved this book swiftly up my TBR list.
This is one of those annoying reviews where I am unable to give away any of the plot because it would spoil it completely. I can tell you that the main character Kathy reminisces back on her childhood at a very special boarding school in England and her relationships with two fellow students Ruth and Tommy.
The below film trailer gives a good hint of the plot and the general feel of the story if you feel you need more to go on.
The theme of this book is the inevitability of death; we all know that when we reach around 75 years we are coming to the end of our natural lives and we have perhaps years or perhaps months to live. It doesn’t matter how much in love we are with someone or how much we have left to achieve, when our natural life span is up, it's up. The characters in this book have a much shorter life span of around 30 years and as they come closer to that age they do what I suppose a lot of elderly people must do, they look back and reminisce, they prepare themselves and ask ‘what did our brief lives mean?'
I personally loved the narration of this book and found it pitch perfect for the subject and I was very quickly sucked in. The first three quarters of the book is Kathy reminiscing and is told in flashbacks and I was very impressed with the childhood scenes. I thought they perfectly captured some of the funny things and crazes children go through and it even reminded me of a few things from my days at school.
I have read criticism because some readers wanted the characters to try and rebel against their fate and I have to admit while reading it I wanted them to try and challenge it but of course I knew they never could. Aside from that not being the point the biggest dreamer in the group is Ruth who has a dream of one day working in a smart office; this is a dream which she tells the others about in great detail. Although this is a nice dream for her, this is hardly the dream of someone who has it in them to ‘rebel’ it’s simply not in them.
This book is about emotion, life, environmental upbringing, inevitability and ethics and it is lingering. This is a story I think will stay with me for a long time and I can’t wait until the film opens.
Would I recommend it? Yes as its certainly thought provoking and well written. Its a book with a slow pace considering its subject but this tone fits the book and characters perfectly.
Posted by Jess