April 16, 2018, by Words on Words

Book review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This blog post was written by second year English and Philosophy student, Emily Patel.

I don’t read much for pleasure outside of my studies, sadly, but going on holiday recently gave me the chance to delve into a book. I got a few books for Christmas, and I decided to start with ‘Never Let Me Go.’ Although it is a well – known book and film, I had never read or watched it before. Ishiguro has won a Nobel Prize in literature, so I had high expectations for the novel – and I was not disappointed.

Due to the title, I thought it would be a more romantic novel. Romantic relationships were explored, but it was not what I had expected (in a good way!). Instead, it is a dystopian, science fiction novel which followed the story of Kathy and her friends (particularly Ruth and Tommy), who grew up together in a school named Hailsham. The reader soon discovers that the school is in fact isolated from society, and there were a few strange aspects of their lives; for example, their parents were never mentioned. This left me wondering why these children were in the school, away from the ‘outside’ world. Without giving too much away, it is revealed that they were brought into the world for a certain purpose.

It is clear why Ishiguro has won awards, as it was written incredibly well. The novel is split into three sections, each following different stages of their lives. ‘Never Let Me Go’ is a very emotional book, exploring friendship and love. The students seem strangely accepting of their fate when they find out the truth. This novel really made me think about the situation, questioning whether it is ethical for people to suffer if it means helping a larger number of people. Another issue that was raised is whether or not the students should be told what would happen to them, or if they should remain in a blissful state of ignorance. Also, in terms of how groups of people have been divided and segregated from society, scarily the novel is not far from reality in some ways.

I would highly recommend ‘Never Let Me Go’, and I look forward to reading Ishiguro’s other novels. I also plan to watch the film as I enjoy comparing it to the book, but in my opinion the book is always better than the film!

Image: Author’s own

Posted in Book reviewStudent Words