Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

3.8 794
by Kazuo Ishiguro
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0307740994

ISBN-13: 2900307740990

Pub. Date: 08/31/2010

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.

As a child, Kathy-now thirty-one years old-lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the

Overview

From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.

As a child, Kathy-now thirty-one years old-lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed-even comforted-by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood-and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance-and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900307740990
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/31/2010
Series:
Vintage International Series
Edition description:
Paperback Movie Tie-In Edition
Pages:
304

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Never Let Me Go 3.8 out of 5 based on 3 ratings. 794 reviews.
poosie More than 1 year ago
This amazing, intriguing novel really works the mind and is intricately plotted and very well thought-out. A group of human clones are trapped in a society devoid of moral conscience. The characters grow, blossom, fight and love. There are so many human emotions to deal with. At one level this is a deeply moving and sad love story told by a young woman, the sole survivor of a love triangle. At another level, it's an accumulative horror story. In a special boarding school where, in total isolation, they are being prepared for an early death by organ donation to the terminally ill. The plot is rather simple, a woman in her 30s starts recalling her youth at this boarding school after meeting up again with an old friend and her friend's ex-boyfriend, who she had a crush on. Through her work, she cares for both of them and learns more about why they were born, and what is in store for them. There is sorrow, poignancy, mystery and suspense, not to mention totally unique!
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
The thing about Never Let Me Go is that it is best to go in completely blind. I had no clue what the book was about, I wanted to see the movie, so I figured I'd read the book first. Going in blind about the plot, about the entire novel, made it that much better for me. Told by Kathy, a thirty one year old 'carer,' in reverent back and forth memories from her present to all the tiny, yet meaningful moments that spattered her life in the past, makes the book feel very conversational which makes it more personal; like Kathy is reliving her past with the reader. She recalls her days at Hailsham, the boarding school that she shared with others like her; with Tommy and Ruth, her two closest friends. Getting to know these three is like getting reacquainted with an old friend, but the fact that they are special never eludes the reader. The plot for the book is not hard to guess once you begin reading it. The hints about what is going on are not very subtle at all, but the execution of getting to the final reveal is done so beautifully and delicately. Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy's fate is inevitable. They know it, but we, as readers, will understand it more than they ever seem to. We are the ones who feel the ache of innocence lost and the heartbreak of the future to come. Life, love, and death are all monumental moments in our lives, but this book tackles the brevity of life and the notion that we are stuck in our roles, in the lives that have already been forged for us. Hailsham students have a purpose and it may not be one we are all comfortable with. Ishiguro goes beyond the loss of innocence and makes you question the meaning of life, who deserves it, and just how large a role fate plays in life. Never Let Me Go is a powerful, moving portrait of humanity at its best and worst; with all the splendor of childhood innocence and the harsh reality of the cruelties the world has to offer. It's not simply a book about human mortality and loss; it is about the nature of human beings and the ethical dilemmas that could easily arise in the world we are developing. This book will make you feel something and only the best ones can do it so well. It's been hailed as the best novel of the decade and I can only agree because this is truly a masterpiece. Opening line(s): My name is Kathy H. I'm thirty-one years old, and I've been a carer now for over eleven years. ~ pg. 3 Favorite lines/passages (I've got two): "One day, maybe not so long from now, you'll get to know how it feels." So you're waiting, even if you don't quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don't hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you - of how you were brought into this world and why - and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. ~ pg. 36 And this one: It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we'd understood that back then - who knows? - maybe we'd have kept a tighter hold of one another. ~ pg. 197
ScarlettTe More than 1 year ago
To start off, this book is not about clones, or stem cell research. I cringe when I read reviews that focus only on the Sci-Fi aspect of this book. IT'S NOT ABOUT THAT! If that was the only thing you noticed about this book, then you only read it superficially. The reason everything surrounding the clones and program was so laid out for the reader, was so he or she could focus on other, more pertinent points of the book. The author is not trying to make a point of whether or not something such as these 'clones' is ethical, but the book is supposed to provoke you into thinking of humanity, and how you live your life. This book, by the end, will make you want to have someone to talk through the book with, to better comprehend and realize the majesty of this great novel. It's also necessary to point out to the reader that the author is Japanese (though also English). Therefore his story does not have the Northern American "can-do" attitude. Many readers argue that the students should have rebeled, and escaped their fate. That's what any U.S. citizen would have done. But, in Japan, it is thought more noble and heroic to accept your fate. You can kick and buck against this novel, but it's useless. Never Let Me Go is a beautifully worded, thoughtful book. I GREATLY recommend this book to anyone who is over the best-selling fluff out today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What makes this book a page-turner (I read it in two-days) is the way the author lets the details of the story unfold so gradually, constantly making the reader want to know more. The book is very well written, and though I've not read anything else of Ishiguro's, my interest in his work has been piqued by this novel. My only complaint is the rushed ending, which seems rather staged and hollow, not at all in keeping with the rest of the book. Still, a fascinating read, incredible subject matter (I won't give anything away, because for me, at least, it was perfect going into this read with no preconceived ideas) and a must on your bedside reading table!
fL0ssi3 More than 1 year ago
This book was an absolutely devastating read. I knew after the first or second chapter exactly what the "reveal" was, but it isn't a story meant to conclude when you learn what happens behind the curtain. It also isn't science fiction, which, upon learning the substance of what challenges the characters, one would assume it to be. It's hard to pigeon-hole it as anything definite - neither political, dramatic, etc; it seems, instead, to explore a number of themes. The story itself has a life and no life can really be explained away as being mono-thematic. I was particularly disturbed after finishing the book, having never felt such sadness and loss after reading something. It was a loss that seemed irreconcilable and irredeemable, and I didn't know quite how to feel about it. I had a lot of questions that I felt were purposely ignored, that bothered me throughout the book, and yet that didn't seem to ruin the story for me. I think the question that will pop up for whomever decides to read this - where is the survival instinct? how are these people so expressive in their humanity, and yet without the will to escape? - is meant to leave you feeling the way you do, as you can assume it probably leaves the characters you are reading about feeling the very same way. There is the question of nature versus nurture (are we born believing we possess certain rights innately? or is this something we are taught? are we born to believe we must strive to live on and on, even if someone tells you that is not the case, from the very moment you are born?) and the question, cliched as it seems, of what it means to be human, but more importantly, what it means to live, what is a life, what events define it, what must occur for one to definitively say "I have lived a life in full."
Monica Escobar More than 1 year ago
Felt like I was waiting for something that never happened. Confusing at times regarding organ donation since he leaves a lot of it to inference. Mostly slow. Wouldn't recommend, but watching the movie helps answer some questions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NEVER LET ME GO stands out as one of the most remarkable books I have ever read. It is difficult to say whether this book is sci-fi or plain fiction. Whatever, it is unique in the sense that it would satisfies any high-minded reader who is versed with present day developments and what could happen in the future. The lesson learnt is that the meaning of life is best achieved when we find joy, joy which comes from the soul. That joy from the soul surpasses blind faith, unsubstantiated materialism and an idealistic purpose of life that is based on discrimination. Ishiguro successfully weaved this story through characters that we can easily relate to, characters who in their pathetic states mirror man at the height of his false sense of achievement. In its portrayal of the futility of life, I got reminded of Disciples of Fortune, Frankenstein. This is a recommended read for a deep-thinking person.
VAshby More than 1 year ago
I truly wanted to like this novel... However, it reads like it was written by a fifth grader and is a series of very boring recollections of their childhood. All the "stories" are mundane and trivial... ruining a favorite shirt, loosing a cassette tape and where did my friend get their new pencil case. I kept waiting and hoping for it to get better (I like to give every book a chance) but it just didn't. I was skimming after the first 10 pages... Don't bother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first heard about the movie then learned it was adapted from a novel so I thought I read it first. It was an interesting novel, definitely never read anything like it before. The ending was sad, though for some reason I couldnt get attached to the novel, I found myself at times forcing myself to read it because I wasnt really into it. But still a nicely done book.
sfsd More than 1 year ago
Other readers have more endurance than I do. Got through 100 pages and couldn't go any further. Nothing about any of the characters made me care about them or want to read another word.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Never Let Me Go is the sixth novel by Japanese author Kazuo Ishiguro. It is narrated in an almost conversational style by Kathy H., a thirty-one-year-old carer. Kathy reflects back on her life so far: her childhood at Hailsham School, a transitional period at The Cottages with her closest friends from Hailsham, and her working life caring for donors. In many ways, Hailsham resembles a typical English boarding school, giving its residents a sheltered upbringing, although it is soon apparent that this is no ordinary academic institution, and these students are, in fact, destined for a vastly different fate. Kathy’s narration concentrates on interactions between the students themselves and with their guardians, dwelling on incidents, conversations and reactions; it sounds, for a woman of her age, quite immature. It may have been shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize, and has been described as brilliant. Never the less, some readers will find the characters unappealing and the whole execution rather tedious.
StacieRosePittard More than 1 year ago
A short and easy read, yet very enjoyable. There was never a point where I felt bored, and I was practically glued to the pages as I tried to gather more and more clues as to the mystery of what was taking place in this dystopia-like society. Although it was very simple, I felt that my emotions were significantly impacted, which I love in books. The only criticism I had was that the writing style was not a particular favorite of mine. It read more like young adult fiction than I prefer, but the overall story made up for it. Every now and then it was hard to keep up with what the narrator was talking about, since it tended to switch focus rather quickly, but whenever that happened it was easy to get back on track. I'd say it's worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is crushing in a way that will have you thinking for a very long time. How much of who we are is moulded by our culture? Individual freedom is a fantasy? Very disturbing and much more than cloning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book i am about to be a freshmen and 1 book was a requirement to read so I choose this book because the cover looked interesting and when I got into it I actually stared liking it and I must say this book is for 13 year old and up I recomend it to you guys I know it seems ife to get but trust you will like it :p
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I hadn't watched the movie first I think the mystery would have been really good if i hadn't known all the little secrets already. I love this book it is so haunting and really puts perspective on life and living it. It is dark and moving book that has left an impression. Read it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for a college english class and i absolutely loved this read. It will have you asking the same question brought about through Frankenstein: "what does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to one another based on our own premise of humanity?" I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good psychological read, or anyone who wants an interesting yet concept challenging novel in their collection.
MaximusTheGreat More than 1 year ago
This book reminds me a lot of the Giver, at least what I can remember of that book back in elementary school. Overall, Never Let Me Go is a very impressive narrative that hooks you. The characters are fantastic, and the details of this possible future are revealed at the perfect pace.
jenpalombi More than 1 year ago
Never Let Me Go is a somewhat surreal novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, the award-winning author of The Remains of the Day. It is an unusual tale told in the first-person by a 30-something woman named Kathy. Kathy reminisces throughout its pages about growing up as a young person in Hailsham, an unusual boarding school for "special" children. Here, the children have no parents, no last names and only a shadowy understanding of what it is that makes them so "special," yet they are continually reminded of their uniqueness by their guardians. Health and creativity are strongly encouraged, a mysterious woman periodically appears to take away the students' best art and one troubled teacher seems to want to tell the children more. but cannot bring herself to do so. Meanwhile, the author does a splendid job of relating the mundane complexities of juvenile friendship, bonding and growth so familiar to any reader. The central characters are well-developed and the small details of their inexplicably sheltered lives keep the reader turning the pages with enthusiasm. Never Let Me Go is a well-told story that quickly draws the reader in to an atypical world that is, at the same time, very ordinary as it follows the familiar trials and growing pains of a small group of young people passing from childhood to adulthood. Any reader will doubtless identify with the commonplace details of the lives of these seemingly typical children. Yet a sense of secrecy and an implied ominous fate hang over the entire narrative, only to eventually lead the reader to a revelation of just how atypical these young people really are. Ultimately, the reader is challenged to consider the lines between scientific progress and scientific ethics, between what is right and what is wrong in the preservation of our very lives. Sometimes touted as a modern mystery, Never Let Me Go is unlike any mystery in the traditional sense. The mystery here lies in the journey of self-discovery upon which the three central characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, embark, as they grow up together and progress with their peers toward the fulfillment of their unusual purpose in life. In other words, the mystery lies not in "whodunit?", but in "what does it all mean?". The final unveiling of these answers, while bordering on science fiction, may leave the reader feeling a little empty. This is perhaps partly because the author is a bit heavy-handed with his earlier cues and partly because a lot of questions remain unanswered. But the reader will likely forgive this in thanks for an otherwise flowing and engaging read, full of well-crafted characters caught up in a somewhat disturbing tale. This review originally appeared in both the Midwest Book Review and on The Lit Witch: A Book Blog.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Expertly crafted and paced, NEVER LET ME GO is nothing like the other author's book, REMAINS OF THE DAY. I loved the character development and way that all the people reacted to situations. It was at once real and at the same time atmospheric and surreal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book,in addition to being boring and repetitious, is extremely derivative. Furthermore, it takes a stance on an issue, cloning, that requires complex consideration. I am sure that if Mr. Ishiguro had relatives or close associates who might benefit from stem cell research, that he might have reconsidered his approach to this trendy topic. If you want literate science fiction, read Margaret Atwood or Doris Lessing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Required to read Never Let Me Go for a book club, I began reading Monday and finished Wednesday. Lest I give the impression the book was a page turner, it was not. I found the early years of the children overloaded with endless details. Without arousing curiosity as to why the children's daily lives and art participation are such big deals, the story drags endlessly on. The few adult years are less detailed, but at least more interesting. A more dramatic ending might have helped. Instead, the author abandons the main characters, one by one, leaving the reader to dangle in a vacuum of 'completion'.
Anonymous 28 days ago
I've read this book a few times and it's one of my favorites! It took me a while to get into, but the themes and the ideas behind it make the book worth it. I love this book completely, and I definitely recommend it.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Han2198 8 months ago
This novel, written relatively recently and near the beginning of the never-ending onslaught of mediocre young adult dystopian fiction novels, rises from the thicket in a manner that both questions the ever-popular genre, and even manages to answer it’s own inquiries in a brilliant way. In stark contrast to action-packed adventures such as The Hunger Games, or Divergent, Kazuo Ishiguro presents us with an almost tranquil setting and narrative. It is tranquil in the sense that it is not comforting to the characters alone, such as the vastly futuristic and off-putting society presented in Brave New World, but it is comforting to the reader as well. Even the protagonist, Kathy H., has a highly docile and empathetic personality unlike the fiery heroines that frequently populate other less than idyllic fictional worlds. As such, she does not opt to rise against the system in any way. Instead, she is merely a carer, watching her peers and friends die, or “complete”, and offering psychological comfort as they go through organ donation after organ donation, as it was predestined for them at birth. Through her eyes, we are not exposed through their world through the lens of defiance, but of acceptance. This crucial difference, essentially, is what makes the novel so exceptional. Within the pages of most dystopias, the reader often lives vicariously through the hero, imagining themselves combatting injustice and being the “chosen one” out of a meek mass of conformists. However, in actuality, heroes do not populate a true dystopia, nor are the lucid so eager to fight. Instead, the injustice is often disagreed with, but accepted as an unfortunate facet of reality. Of course, there may be a protest here and there, or a small rant on social media, but at the end of the day, injustice is largely written off as a product of a flawed world. Hence, “Never Let Me Go” is largely excellent not because it preaches the dangers of ignorance, but the dangers of acceptance.
archetype67 More than 1 year ago
Ishiguro's a master of subtle and understated prose, has another excellent novel in Never Let Me Go. The narrator, Kathy tells the story of her friendship with Ruth and Tommy, from their earliest days at their private boarding school, to adulthood, through its ups and downs, until only Kathy is left. While many know what makes these characters special when the novel begins, even those who don't have some prior knowledge should figure it out with little difficulty, early on. While never stating things explicitly, the clues are in plain sight. What is the true focus and brilliance of Ishiguro's novel isn't the what, but rather, the how these three have been raised to this purpose, and what they eventually find out about what makes the special. That revelation has far more impact on the audience than it does the characters. That reveal takes what is disturbing and makes the alternative, or rather, the more common practice horrifying. The characters are well drawn and Kathy's narrative draws us in, paints a detailed picture of their world, connecting to us, yet it is also an unfathomable existence. Strangely, I empathized with their experience, but at same was frustrated by their unquestioning acceptance, despite understanding their upbringing's goal was precisely that. Ishiguro's work is always thought provoking, always based in the complex emotional inter-personal relationships and the individual's relationship to their status in the world. Never Let Me Go adds the layer of a possible ethic quandary that our innovations of science may present sooner than we'd like.