Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro explores an alternate reality in which the technology of cloning was developed during and after World War II. The book is set in the late 1990s in England. Narrated by the protagonist Kathy H., the plot follows the story of three Hailsham students: Kathy, her best friend Ruth, and Tommy. The plot is fairly linear, with Kathy’s narration beginning with her Hailsham years, then her time at the Cottages, and finally her life as a ‘carer’. At its root, Never Let Me Go examines the human condition and our acceptance of fate. The characters are slow to challenge their fate as ‘donors’ (in which they are required to donate their vital organs), and, even then, they only apply to have their donations deferred rather than what would be logical- to escape.
A lot of the negative reviews I’ve read about this book seem to stem from the fact the book doesn’t have a ‘happy ending’. I found that I have more respect for this book because of how it ends; I think it makes the story more realistic. Furthermore, despite the tragic fate of the book, the protagonist Kathy H. finds peace at the end, which if anything is, in its own way, a happy ending.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers who love science fiction, drama, or romance. The style of writing felt very mature, making the reading experience more enjoyable for me than the more amateur ‘young-adult’ styles that drown contemporary popular fiction. Additionally, the uniqueness of the first person narration style really added to the enjoyability of this novel.
Rating: 5/5. Give it a read – this is a book you won’t regret!