Never Let Me Go: A Book Review

December 30, 2005 at 2:53 pm

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.

Book Reviews – The Da Vinci Code, Five point someone, Wise and otherwise & A piece of cake

June 23, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Books

The Da Vinci Code (Author: Dan Brown, Previous books: Angels and Demons, Deception Point etc.)
My Rating: 9/10

Dan Brown crafts a thriller which is gripping to say the least. Robert Langdon, a Historian and a symbols-researcher, becomes the main-accused of a chain of murders of 4 prominent French citizens. The route Langdon adopts to escape the Police and at the same time prove his innocence is what forms the basic strand of the book. Takes us through many interpretations of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings. The most startling of them being the presence of a lady in “The Last Supper”. The book also throws some light on why “Monalisa” is smiling. The book sounds very “anti-Christian”. How would you react if you were told that Lord Jesus was actually not God, but a mortal who was happily married?

I have already included lot of spoilers in the above paragraph. Let me not spoil the fun any further. Buy the book and read it! I saw a hardbound edition (A collector’s edition kind of) of the same book with photographs of all the places mentioned in the story. It gives you a super feel while reading the book. If you can afford, Rs. 900/- for the book, then go ahead! I will buy it sometime in the future, not now! The normal paperback book costs Rs. 350/- if I remember right. It’s worth every penny.

If you are planing to read the book skip the paragraph below
I have taken one point (in my rating) away because I feel the ending was a letdown. Not that I expected Dan Brown to reveal all the secrets that people have spent years researching to lay their hands on. But atleast expected a decent ending that kept up with the substance of the remaining part of the story.

Five Point someone (Author: Chetan Bhagat, Previous books: None, This is his first book)
My Rating: 8/10
Chetan Bhagat is an IIT-IIM graduate. Five point someone refers to his life at the IIT or so we are made to believe. He claims its a work of fiction, but then also mentions that he has written this book based on his friends. Well, whether it’s fact or fiction or ‘fact’ion, one thing is sure, the book is a pucca timepass!

Humour seems to come naturally to the author. Writing style is good. The flow of the chapters is so good that I couldn’t put the book down once I started. For Rs. 95/- it’s a steal! Lay your hands on it, and you won’t take your eyes off the book till you are done with reading it completely.

Wise and Otherwise (Author: Sudha Murthy, Previous books: Dollar Bahu, Mahashwetha)
Rating: Cannot rate, as I have not yet read the book fully.
This is a collection of short stories written by Sudha Murthy. From her vast experience of having visited 1000 villages all over the country and doing lots of philanthropic work, she puts down her experience in the form of short stories.

Lessons on humility, righteousness, honesty, etc: the virtues that we thought were lost in the today’s world still exist in the rural confines of our country. That’s what she tries to convey in the first few stories that I read. Liked her style of writing. Simple and straightforward. Can be used as a moral science text book in schools . Her description of the Indian way of life doesn’t match RK Narayan’s but then I musn’t be comparing apples with oranges! ;-)

A piece of cake (Author: Swati Kaushal, Previous books: None, this is her first book)
Rating: 6/10
Have read 200+ pages as of now. Nothing great about the book. Written well but syle is loud and garish at times. It talks about how a 29-year old female, who is doing well in the corporate world, tries to get herself married. So far it’s been about it. Don’t know if the course is steered away at a later point!