Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee|
One of the creepiest boarding school stories ever, Never Let Me Go follows the lives of Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth through their school years, and into their lives as young adults. Ishiguro's Hailsham school is not exactly what it seems — it's a school, yes, but it has a "higher" purpose. Trying to find answers to the questions that plagued their entire lives, the three begin to investigate the school and the people involved. By turns chilling, melancholy, and unsettling, Never Let Me Go asks the big questions: What is human? What are we for? What is this life? Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day
and When We Were Orphans
, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.
Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.
Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.
"Never Let Me Go is a fantasy so mundanely told, so excruciatingly ordinary in transit, its fantastic elements so smothered in the loam of the banal and so deliberately grounded, that the effect is not just of fantasy made credible or lifelike, but of the real invading fantasy, bursting into its eccentricity and claiming it as normal. Given that Ishiguro's new novel is explicitly about cloning, that it is, in effect, a science fiction set in the present day, and that the odds against success in this mode are bullyingly stacked, his success in writing a novel that is at once speculative, experimental, and humanly moving is almost miraculous." James Wood, The New Republic
"The beauty in this novel must be carefully distinguished from its power to distress. Ultimately, there is a connection: the depth and quality of the relationships between Kath, Tommy and Ruth certainly accentuate the cruelty of their deaths. From under the shadow of their fate, Ishiguro draws warmly compelling vignettes of love and friendship that cumulatively establish an urgent and engrossing narrative pace." Ruth Scurr, Times Literary Supplement
"Perfect pacing and infinite subtlety.... A masterpiece of craftsmanship that offers an unparalleled emotional experience. Send a copy to the Swedish Academy."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Ishiguro's elegant prose and masterly ways with characterization make for a lovely tale of memory, self-understanding, and love." Library Journal (starred review)
"Suffice it to say that Ishiguro serves up the saddest, most persuasive science fiction you'll read....With its fantastic, inky bleakness, Never Let Me Go itself mutates the meaning of 'Ishiguroish,' or 'Ishiguroesque,' or whatever epithet sticks to this wonderful writer." Joseph O'Neill, The Atlantic Monthly
"In this luminous offering, [Ishiguro] nimbly navigates the landscape of emotion the inevitable link between present and past and the fine line between compassion and cruelty, pleasure and pain." Booklist
"A page turner and a heartbreaker, a tour de force of knotted tension and buried anguish.” Time
“A Gothic tour de force....A tight, deftly controlled story....Just as accomplished [as The Remains of the Day] and, in a very different way, just as melancholy and alarming.” The New York Times
"Elegaic, deceptively lovely....As always, Ishiguro pulls you under." Newsweek
“Superbly unsettling, impeccably controlled....The book’s irresistible power comes from Ishiguro’s matchless ability to expose its dark heart in careful increments.” Entertainment Weekly
From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day comes a devastating novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.
As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special — and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is a modern classic.
About the Author
Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and now lives in London, England. Each of his understated, finely wrought novels has been published to international acclaim. He was in both of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists anthologies, and won the Booker Prize at thirty-four for Remains of the Day.