Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

I stole some time during lunch to finish Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, and I am left feeling a bit weepy and melancholic. Ugh, an unbearable mood to be in, right after lunch, in a freezing cold office. So, I had to write this review as an exorcism.

Basically, I am also feeling abit nonplussed, as I come away without a grasp of what this book is about, if there really is a "purpose" to the story.

With some books, you know right away, the writer's agenda or focus. Some others, like this one, the "meaning" is obscured. Normally, I'm not keen on fiction with an agenda. Afterall, stories are meant to be enjoyed as they are, stories of possibilities and imagination. However, I have a sense that Never Let Me Go has a larger meaning but I'm just not getting it.

I think this has to do with the heavy themes in the book: death, ethics in science, morality, the existence of a soul, etc. They linger and are hinted at. In fact they are actually central to the story but are never really addressed. Maybe that's what frustrated me. On the surface, it appeared to be simply a story about a typical love-triangle. Except, seriously folks, there isn't anything typical about the 3 people in this love story!

Never Let Me Go is told from the point of view Kathy H, who is 31 years-old reminiscing about the past. Her memories focus on the relationship between herself and 2 other people, Tommy D. and Ruth (I can't find her initial). The memories are roughly divided into 2 periods: When they were growing up in a sort of boarding school called Hailsham, and after they left Hailsham.

Hailsham is not an ordinary school, and the students there are not ordinary either. This fact becomes clearer as the story progresses with clues coming from references to "donations" and the students' lack of surnames or parents. If you'd like to read the book, I'd leave you to figure the "mystery" out yourself, although I would think, if you're like me, you'd have figured it out already, once book reviews make references to those clues I mentioned.

For me, the enjoyment of the book comes from Kazuo Ishiguro's writing, the way he phrases sentences, chooses words and creates scenes. There is such a sense of loss and longing in the book, that maybe a less melancholic soul might find it hard to finish reading it. However, I would say I enjoyed this book tremendously and would recommend it to anyone who is keen on a quiet and meditative reading material.

© Copyright. All rights reserved.

No comments: