Review – Never Let Me Go

Posted September 9, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroNever Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Originally reviewed May 9th, 2010

(You may consider this review spoilery, if you read all of it. I state something explicitly that is below the surface of the book, at any rate.)

This book is a bit like having a one-sided conversation with the narrator. In consequence, it kinda feels like it rambles a bit — they digress to talk about something else and then a couple of pages later, wrench it back to the original point. In some ways that makes it feel very natural, like someone talking, but to read it, it gets irritating.

There’s a difficult tone to it… Very resigned, unemotional, and somewhat, I don’t know, superficial. The narrator skims the surface of the truths revealed. It’s natural to do that, in some ways, for a real person, but in a character, it’s hard to engage. The characters of Ruth and Tommy were much more vivid for me than Kathy: Ruth and her needing to be in the know, needing to be superior; Tommy and his anger issues and his struggle to be creative. Ruth felt especially real to me: I knew a girl who was very much like her, and I was pretty much the Kathy in our interactions, too.

The way it engages with the issues — with the idea of clones — without dragging out all the backstory is interesting, dealt with it in this way. Like it’s a fact of life, like what you’re reading is all very matter of fact. And you go along with it a little, and then you stop, and you think about it… It actually reminds me of the way Kathy describes being taught about what her life will be: somehow it builds up so you’ve known it all along, but you never have this big moment of revelation. Unfortunately, that deadens the sharper shocks, I think.

I enjoyed it, and it was very easy to just settle down and read it. It’s not racing action or anything, pretty leisurely, and not compelling in the sense that I couldn’t put it down. But I wanted to know — even suspecting what the end would be like, I wanted to get there and see.

Rating: 4/5

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