From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.
Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day.
All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny. Kazuo Ishiguro's sixth novel, Never Let Me Go, is a masterpiece of indirection. Like the students of Hailsham, readers are "told but not told" what is going on and should be allowed to discover the secrets of Hailsham and the truth about these children on their own.
Offsetting the bizarreness of these revelations is the placid, measured voice of the narrator, Kathy H., a 31-year-old Hailsham alumna who, at the close of the 1990s, is consciously ending one phase of her life and beginning another. She is in a reflective mood, and recounts not only her childhood memories, but her quest in adulthood to find out more about Hailsham and the idealistic women who ran it. Although often poignant, Kathy's matter-of-fact narration blunts the sharper emotional effects you might expect in a novel that deals with illness, self-sacrifice, and the severe restriction of personal freedoms. As in Ishiguro's best-known work, The Remains of the Day, only after closing the book do you absorb the magnitude of what his characters endure. --Regina Marler
Shellie (USA: MS) (2007/02/13):
One of the best books I have ever read. I still think of it all the time.
Kirk (USA: OH) (2008/04/19):
As a college English major reading this book I was not impressed. I had figured out the plot of the book by 20 or so pages in. It is supposed to be a shocker given how Ishiguro uses the terms "carer" and "donor" and glosses over details as he starts the opening of this novel. The inspection of the characters Kath and Tommy through the progression of the story is boring.
I am assuming that if you had not figured out the plot so early that later when Ishiguro drops the hammer and lets the readers in on the secret that it is supposed to have a profound impact on them. If you take the story as a symbolic development of isolated children into adulthood you might get something out of it. Otherwise the "lives" of these children are the fault of society and the callousness to which the advancement of civilization is the intended faulted party according to the author.
Personally I would recommend a book like Emile Zola's "Germinal" over this one. The overall development of characters is better and the ending does not jump out at the reader in the beginning.
rose deniz (Turkey) (2008/05/29):
Eerie and interesting, beautifully written. Left an impression on me long after reading it.
Diane P (USA: NC) (2008/07/25):
I read this book for an English Literature class and really enjoyed it. It only took a few hours for me to read the whole thing, as I found it quite interesting. The author slowly drops clues as to what is going on throughout the book, but lets the reader unravel the mystery for him/herself. Truly an interesting book.
anita (USA: NY) (2008/08/29):
Mesmerizing and heartbreaking. Couldn't put it down.