Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

2 stars

In Never Let Me Go we meet Kathy, a carer, as she’s brought into the orbit of two of her old schoolfriends, Ruth and Tommy, prompting her to look back over their shared past and to contemplate their futures.

It’s soon clear that Hailsham, the school where Kathy and her friends were reared, isn’t your typical school but one where the students have no contact with the outside world and are driven to create by art-obsessed teachers who are forever dropping little hints about how special the students are. It takes a little while for the students’ special purpose to become clear – and it’s a very interesting special purpose – but sadly I can’t say the same for the rest of the story.

Whilst I enjoyed the bits set at school as we watched Kathy and her friends grow up along with the slow drip of information that slowly reveals the truth of the students’ situation, I found that once this was revealed the rest of the story – with the late love realisation and attempts at deferrals (I won’t say of what for fear of spoilers) - a little pointless and even a bit dull, and I’d often find myself putting the book down for something more interesting to do in between chapters.

Having spent so long on the lead up, the last third of the book also felt a little rushed, despite me finding it boring, with the bulk of the important missing pieces being revealed in one big information dumping speech right near the end. While I was glad that this meant that the love stuff was over pretty quickly, I felt that some of the things brought up in this speech – such as how students at other institutions were raised, and how they’re seen by society – would have been made for a much meatier story.


  1. I agree with you on this. I loved Remains of the Day. Have you ever read The Unconsoled? That is a real weird one.

    1. I haven't - nor Remains Of The Day. I can't say this made me ultra eager to seek more of his work out. Unless you're suggesting Remains really would be worth it...(and this is why my to-read pile is bigger than. My already-read pile!)

  2. Yes, it's too bad this is the first one of his you read. This one and in my opinion When We Were Orphans are not his best. He also has a new one out called The Buried Giant, which is very good. Remains of the Day is one of my favourite books. They are all very weird if you ask me.