Margaret Atwood says Never Let Me Go is “a brilliantly executed book by a master craftsman who has chosen a difficult subject: ourselves, seen through a glass, darkly.”
The Undependent (UK) called it “an exquisitely nuanced, and extremely moving process of revelation. Never Let Me Go is a novel about love and goodness and the hopes and fears of the human heart.”
Time Magazine named it one of the greatest 100 novels since 1923.
Ishiguro’s novel tells the story of Kath, Ruth and Tommy three students at an exclusive English boarding school called Hailsham. There is something odd about Hailsham and the reader comes to undertsand its secrets at just about the same time as the story’s main characters. It’s actually quite difficult to say any more without giving away plot points which are essential to the novel.
Despite the fact that there is a sense of urgency to understand just what is going on at the school, Never Let Me Go is not a mystery story. Ishiguro does a great job of stringing the reader along, sure, but the true genious of this novel is what he says about hope where there can be none and love where there shouldn’t be. And despite the fact that it does tackle larger issues- of morality and the consequences of science- the novel is also about these three friends, their triangular love affair and their hopes and dreams for the future.
It’s a remarkable novel.
But I didn’t like it very much.
I found it somehow disorganized- the narrative was choppy. The novel’s climax was mainly expository. The novel’s themes are reiterated by a secondary character. I wanted to care for Kath and Tommy and Ruth- and I did- but I wanted to care more, I guess. Still- the final scene of the novel is haunting and if the novel were to be held up as an example of the extremes (both the cruelty and kindness) of mankind- I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find a book that does it better than this one.
So, I didn’t particularly enjoy the book, but I wouldn’t hesitate in saying that it is worth reading.