This is my first Ishiguro read, although I’m also reading The Buried Giant at work in my free-time, which reads entirely differently from Never Let Me Go.
Never Let Me Go is not action filled, yet I was fascinated throughout the entire read. My partner, although he enjoyed the story overall, had a different experience and found the pacing far too slow for him. Ishiguro leaves a lot unsaid in this story, although everything unfolds over time. Kathy is our narrator, and as an older woman she spends much of the story looking back on her time as a student at a private school called Hailsham and then her experience of growing up after she left. I loved the English countryside setting.
Throughout much of the story, Kathy conveys to readers that there is more to her tale than meets the eye, although she mainly focuses on her relationships with two dear friends and lets the omitted facts come out where they may. She begins by sharing that she has been a carer for both of her friends, and then looks back on how they came to be friends and how she came to be their carer. She has cared for others for twelve years, but why?
I did listen to a podcast that talked almost exclusively about this book, and there’s a lot to unpack in there. I think it would make a great book group read. I also did have the main plot points spoiled for me, and although I didn’t mind and still enjoyed the read immensely, I don’t want to give away the experience of that unfolding before you as a reader. I think I spent much of the book looking for key give away factors and speculating more on the social emotional implications of such an underlying fact, which for me was quite enjoyable.
Much of this book is rather uncanny, a feeling of being on the inside of an experience you’re not meant to experience. And in that way, I appreciate Ishiguro’s masterful writing that created such a surreal experience for me. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to feel a bit out of place or to question larger social emotional ramifications of ethical decisions.