Amy Reads Books

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (3.5 stars)I first wanted to read Kazuo Ishiguro's novel in the wake of the announcement of a film adaptation starring Carey Mulligan, Keria Knightley and Andrew Garfield in the three central roles of Cathy, Ruth and Tommy. However, work load and a load of other books got in the way, and so I only managed to pick up the book some time after the film was released.The story is told from the perspective of Cathy who is looking back at her past first at Hailsham, a kind of boarding school and then at the Cottages, a kind of university/holding pen before the students go and train to be carers or are called to become donors. Whilst I pretty much knew who the characters were from all the film promotion, Ishiguro doesn't come straight out and tell the readers the nature of Hailsham and why the characters have very strange lives. The novel is set in a strange parallel England, the practices shown in Hailsham are certainly not taking place now, but stores such as Woolworths still exist. Whilst the book is generally a kind of sci-fi novel, but Ishiguro doesn't go into explaining the world so the emphasis is not on the world, but the lasting, complicated friendship between Cathy, Ruth and Tommy. Their relationship is only seen through the eyes of Cathy, so Ruth is generally a kind of cipher throughout the novel, although she really does seem to be a rather fascinating character. Then there is Tommy, who is viewed as quite volatile and not necessarily normal for much of his time at Hailsham; he becomes the boyfriend of Ruth as a young person but Cathy remains his main confident. Ishiguro's lack of explanation of the world around him is in part due to his narrative technique, which is a very informal dialogue from Cathy, who makes the assumption that the reader is the same type of person that she is and thus doesn't explain the intricacies of the world, rather only the things that she understands. I did quite enjoy this form of storytelling, as it made the novel pretty accessible, an also meant that we occasionally had tangents of Cathy's thinking that make her a really fleshed out character.All in all, I quite enjoyed 'Never Let Me Go'; I just sort of wish there had been more of a dynamic plot, as it seems to peter out a little towards the end and there is quite a great deal of things that are skipped out (I'd have liked to know more about Cathy's training as a carer), but in general it was a really good tale of friendship.