Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

genre: adult fiction

quote: "and if these incidences now seem full of significance and all of a piece, it's probably because I'm looking at them in the light of what came later..."

Kathy is nearing the end of one phase of her life and as she prepares herself emotionally for the change, she begins to look to her past to help her understand her present.  Growing up in an exclusive boarding school in the secluded English countryside, her world revolved around her many peers and a few guardians.  Interactions with two particular friends, Ruth and Tommy,  are the basis of this novel as minor incidents and conversations begin to reveal the enormity of the experience they've had and the implications of the truths Kathy learns.

This book is a lesson in "read between the lines."  The skipping-around narration, never spending more than a few pages in one time period, could be really jarring.  Sometimes when she'd say, again, that she first has to explain something else to me before she could tell me any more, I would have to actually sigh out loud. Sometimes interactions between the characters felt so scripted and stilted and other times so deeply real, I couldn't decide if it annoyed me or if it was clearly a device the author was using to teach me about the characters and I should just let it go.  It took a long time to get to the crux of this novel but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.  Kathy is mild and naive but she does feel things deeply.  Her humanity is compelling, especially as you reach the end of the novel and truths begin to be very apparent,  it's pretty fascinating what the author has created in this novel.  I would recommend NOT reading spoilers because I liked the figuring things out for myself.  I appreciated how it made me think through some deep and disturbing issues as well as make my brain work a little harder than the average novel.

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