Book: “Never Let Me Go”
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Reviewer: Anuradha [My friend]
Set in England, Never Let Me Go is about clones who are raised with the specific objective of becoming organ donors.
The book is in a first person narrative style and starts with a boarding school environment. While right at the beginning you are given to understand that this is no ordinary boarding school for ordinary children, the real `speciality’ of these children unfolds only towards the end. Over the pages the reader is given some glimpses of the underlying theme, but the absolute revelation is reserved for the last few pages of the book.
While dealing with this basic theme of cloning and organ donorship, the author does explore some interesting areas in the lives of the protagonists – are they supposed to feel or not? what is the `limit’ to their feeling, given that they all know they have a limited purpose of life and survival? Are they or aren’t they really human? and so on….
The moral debate related to cloning and organ donation is briefly touched upon in the final pages and provides a lot of room for thought.
I found the concept of the book interesting, thought provoking and extremely disturbing. The universe that Ishiguro paints is quite inhuman, though you don’t really understand the reason till you have finished. Contrary to his earlier books like Remains of the Day, Artist of the Floating World or When We were Orphans, Never Let Me Go lacks pace. It was sometimes quite difficult to keep turning the pages. But once you get to the stage of discovering the real theme of the book, it picks up speed.
Perhaps it is the theme, but Ishiguro’s writing style in Never Let Me Go seems bleakly precise and lacks the humour, anger or cynicism of his earlier books. The style seems almost as inhuman as the theme.
Though I was expecting something more in keeping with his style and hoped for a book more like Remains of the Day, I am unable to say I am disappointed with this book. It is exactly the reverse. Somehow Ishiguro has managed to convey the fragility of what we define as `human’. It is an interesting but disturbing question, especially when you do relate to some of the moral debates raised in the book.
The author has refused to be drawn into any moralising about scientific advancement nor does he resort to theology. This is purely a book which explores what is really human and thereby lies it beauty and ugliness.
This is perhaps not what I can personally define as a favourite or a lovely book, but it is definitely a very interesting book and would be on my list of recommended reading.