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Never Let Me Go Paperback – March 14, 2006
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–The elegance of Ishiguro's prose and the pitch-perfect voice of his narrator conspire to usher readers convincingly into the remembered world of Hailsham, a British boarding school for special students. The reminiscence is told from the point of view of Kathy H., now 31, whose evocation of the sheltered estate's sunlit rolling hills, guardians, dormitories, and sports pavilions is imbued with undercurrents of muted tension and foreboding that presage a darker reality. As an adult, Kathy re-engages in lapsed friendships with classmates Ruth and Tommy, examining the details of their shared youth and revisiting with growing awareness the clues and anecdotal evidence apparent to them even as youngsters that they were different from everyone outside. [...] Ishiguro conveys with exquisite sensitivity the emotional texture of the threesome's relationship, their bonds of personal loyalty that overcome fractures of trust, the palpable boundaries of hope, and the human capacity for forgiveness. Highly recommended for literary merit and as an exceptional platform for the discussion of a controversial topic.–Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Just know that it's a good, creative read. It'll make you think, but not too hard. It's perfect for a casual reader looking to unplug & delve into something with a bit of substance.
Kath is a carer who is thinking of her life, especially her friends Ruth and Tommy. They were all residents at what appears to be an upscale boarding school, Hailsham. One wonders why Kath feels the need to think about this at this time of her life. It's almost as if she's trying to put the pieces of her life together. (At this point I have to interject with the personal belief that Kath is completely clueless about how awful Ruth is and it has me wondering if it's a symbol for Hailsham's residents view of the outside world.) As you read on about Kath's innocence and hopfulness and you begin to realize that Hailsham's residents are very different you begin to realize how tragic it all is. And at the end one wonders what if we had Kath's, Tommy's and Ruth's now? That's what makes this story so disturbing. That and Kath's seemingly easy acquiescence to her circumstances.
As I started to read it I found my attention span drifting for the first 60 or so pages, and then suddenly I was focused in on the story and could read for periods at a time. I don’t say that as a negative, just a factual account of how long it took me to get into the text.
There are moments in this novel, especially in Part Two, that anyone who has been in a close friendship that drifted apart will recognize. Kazuo Ishiguro does a nice job of showing, not telling, his readers the emotional life of his characters, and I appreciated his restraint in not telegraphing every emotion his character’s felt. On the opposite end, one of the most annoying aspects of the text was the constant obvious transitions between each section/chapter. Was there no other way to link chapters without using closing lines that directly state the link to the next section? It is a tired device and entirely overused in this book.
A highpoint of the text is in chapter 22 which contains some really interesting elements. Much to digest and think on, and if at any point “Never Let Me Go” gels it is in this section.
Overall, after the first 60 pages I found myself reading quickly, the writing is fine, and shows moments of really sharp skill. However, I feel it is overwritten at points and although a nice read it is not a great one.
Ambivalence is the best way to describe my feelings about this novel.