“Never Let Me Go” by Kashuo Ishiguro

*Deep breath* I’m going to try to make this review as spoiler free as possible.


At first glance a book titled Never Let Me Go by Kashuo Ishiguro sounds like a typical romance novel about lost love but I certainly did not expect high school romance meets coming-of-age meets quasi-science fiction meets quasi-dystopia. You know something is off the moment you read the first few pages because the main character, Kathy, talks about carers, donors, guardians. I immediately thought she was working in at a nursing home or a hospital. It took me a several pages in that she and her classmates are not in any normal school and probably do not live in the same world as we do. I also found it odd that in their world, they were obsessed with art and not sports.

Their school appeared to be isolated from the main cities. I found it strange the students did not feel restless. Living Los Angeles, I’ve met a lot of transplants from all over who tell me they grew up in rural you-name-it and could not wait to get out. I would expect the students in Ishiguro’s world to feel that way.

What I found interesting was that I did not feel a pull of resistance about their fates throughout the book. I feel it’s due to the main character. If we followed another character’s point of view I’m sure we’d find at least a tinge of resistance early in the novel.

Like I said, I don’t want to give too much away. I was full of questions and I imagined every implication of what happened. I feel the story was about the power and dominance of culture which was why never there was no resistance nor a desire to break away from their fates.

Verdict: I thought this was one of the most unique books I’ve read. I’m not sure what it was that drew me page-after-page well after my bedtime. Maybe I kept playing with my imagination, kept asking questions at every scene figuring out what the heck was going on.

I said the magic word “dystopia”. Don’t expect it to be like the The Hunger Games, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

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