Saturday, January 21, 2012

Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Publisher : Faber and Faber limited
Pages : 282 (paperback)
Language : English 
ISBN : 978-0-571-27213-6

It's been a while since the last time I had the chance to jot down some thoughts on a book I've read, but Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go was just too moving for me not to write something here. I've been meaning to read something by him for a while now, so I picked this up on a whim the other day and finished it in one 5 hour sitting. A page-turner indeed.

Briefly, the novel centers around some students from a parallel society set in England. Right from the start, there is an aura of mystery surrounding the main plot and readers will be kept guessing as pieces of the puzzle are slowly unveiled. I made it a point not to read the blurb although I had a vague idea what the main topics would be since there's been so much hype about the book ever since the movie was released. There might be some spoilers ahead, but I'll try my best to keep the main twists hidden.

What I liked about the book was the way the author painted the entire picture in small parts, leaving the reader hanging on the edge of every word. Prose wise, he keeps the language simple yet precise.

" Madame was afraid of us. But she was afraid of us in the same way someone might be afraid of spiders. We hadn't been ready for that. It had never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel, being seen like that, being the spider..... It's like walking past a mirror you've walked past all your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange " 

The main themes in this novel surrounds that of cloning, humanity but mostly, the story centered around  friendship, love and relationships. A lot of attention went into character development and we get to know these characters right from their childhood experiences. Towards the end when the last strings are tied and double-knotted, I found myself questioning things that would otherwise not have crossed my mind. The book challenges boundaries in science and research and questions just how far humans will go in the name of self preservation. It's definitely a book in which the lines of right and wrong, black and white aren't clearly drawn and there's a lot of 'grey' thought-provoking questions put forth.

" There was no way to reverse the process. How could you ask a world that has come to regard cancer as curable, how can you ask such a world to put away that cure, to go back to the dark days ? There was no going back. However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children, their spouses, their parents, their friends, did not die from cancer, motor neurone disease, heart disease. " 

I find it enchanting that Kazuo Ishiguro was able to weave these serious topics into a novel that as a whole focused on very human needs, feelings and emotions placed into 'clones'. There were lots of sweet parts in the novel, but the tension and long buried longings of the main characters could very well be felt in the tone of the story. All in all, this is definitely a story that will stay with me for some time to come.

" It might be some trend that came and went " I said. " But for us, it's our life "