By Kazuo Ishiguro.
Never Let Me Go was first published in 2005 and released as a film in 2010. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and received many plaudits and outstanding reviews. For once, I agree with the reviewers assessments. It’s not just a good story, it’s a book that will give you pause for thought.
Three friends, Kathy, Tommy and Ruth grow up and are educated at Hailsham school together, apparently a place for pupils who are special in some way. We never learn the surnames of anyone, pupils and teachers, called guardians, alike are all designated by a single letter after their first name.
It’s true, the pupils are special, though you might get quite a surprise, maybe shock when you realise quite what is meant by “special” at the school.
We follow the three friends, with Kathy telling the story, through their schooldays and out into the world, to make their way as adults. Shortly after leaving Hailsham Kathy loses contact with Ruth and Tommy. They re-enter her life some years later, bringing back old feelings and memories. As Kathy tells us about herself and her two friends, at the age of 31 and with a big change coming to her own life in a few months time, she starts to try to make some sense of her past.
Never Let Me Go raises interesting moral and ethical questions about how human beings treat each other. The questions, which were relevant when the book was written, are becoming ever more pertinent in today’s world, with the scientific advances.
In the novel we are never given a date but it seems it could be set in a time about a generation earlier than it’s publication date. Some readers might find aspects a little unsettling. It’s a powerful tale.
I don’t often read a book a second time. This is one that I might.