Friday, September 18, 2009

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pub. Date: March 2006
ISBN-13: 9781400078776
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy grew up in a boarding school called Hailsham in England. As an adult, Kathy became a carer and both Ruth and Tommy re-entered her life. Kathy remembers the bond they have shared and their life in Hailsham where they had been regarded as "special" by their guardians and teachers. This is a moving and unforgettble book about friendship, love, and betrayal.

Review: This was the first book I ever read by Mr. Ishiguro, and I loved it! Immediately, when I picked it up at the bookstore, I just had a good feeling about it. Based on the book blurb, I also knew that there was a little bit of a love story and a love triangle. I later discovered that I was right, but the love story here wasn't overbearing so I wasn't disappointed.

So what's this really all about? And what the heck is Hailsham anyway? Why are Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth "special?" Well, Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are human clones. In Hailsham, they and other children clones are raised like "normal" children so that they can become organ donors. But not all of them become donors. Kathy (the narrator), for instance, becomes a carer - someone who takes care of the donors.

Actually, it isn't surprising for Kathy to become a carer. Even as children, Kathy has that type of personality where she takes care of everyone. It becomes a disadvantage though since she seems to forget her needs over everyone else's, even when it comes to her love for Tommy. I do like Kathy, but at the same time, she irritates me because she lets Ruth take advantage of her. Ruth is suppose to be Kathy's best friend, but because of her selfishness and insecurity, she does things to ruin their friendship and even Kathy's friendship with Tommy.

What else did I like about this book? Well, the writing, of course. I think Mr. Ishiguro is just wonderful. I have a favorite scene where Kathy and Tommy were in Norfolk, and Tommy bought this old tape that Kathy had lost when they were in Hailsham. The scene just touched me. There was also a line that Tommy said to Kathy. It's a little sad but here it is:

"I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the river moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold on to each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end, it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart."

It was just beautiful. Sad, but beautiful.

Even though the ending left me disappointed, I gave this book my highest rating. I suppose it's the issue about cloning that made me wonder if it was right to give the clones hope to have a normal human life when their sole purpose was to become organ donors. It really made me think about what our society could be capable of. I guess that's why this book will stay with me.

Recommendation: Yes, I definitely recommend it to everyone. It was an eye-opener for me.


  1. I also loved this book; I much prefer the ethereal British cover though ;)

  2. I have this on my kitchen counter as we speak, and I'm thrilled to discover you loved it. I can't wait to open the cover!

  3. Hello, Tony. Thank you for stopping. I did see the book's Bristish cover. I thought it was lovely as well.

  4. Bellezza, I can't wait to hear what you think of this book! :D

  5. This book gives me a good feeling too just by looking at it. I am going through this phase where I am just loving to read about other areas of the world and other cultures.

  6. By the way I love the fall look of your blog!

  7. Hi, bookjourney. I love reading books that are set in other countries. :)

    As for my background, thank you!

  8. I have this on my to read list. It does look really good and just things about cloning fascinate me. Great review! thanks for the info

  9. Hi, okbolover. I thought the book was interesting to see how it was told from the clone's POV. I hope you will enjoy it when you get read it.

  10. Hi Helen. I've keep picking this book up and then putting it back again whenever I'm at a bookstore. Thanks for the review, I think I'll definitely get it next time I visit the store.

  11. Hi, Ms. Ulat Buku. I had trouble choosing between this and Remains of the Day (also by the same author. My instincts told me that I should get this one first. I hope you will enjoy the book.

  12. I actually already know how this book's going to end since I've (mistakenly) read the entire plot summary in Wiki. But I'm still interested in reading.

    That last passage you quote is just beautiful like you said. Thanks! You've just made me want the book more badly :)

  13. Mark David, I can totally relate to that. If I know the ending, I still read the story. It's the journey of getting to the ending is what counts. ;)