Monday, 11 August 2014

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro // Review

"As children, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults, they find that they have to come to terms with the strength of the love they feel for each other, while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them. Never Let Me Go is an unforgettable story of love, friendship, and the fragility of life."

Whilst Never Let Me Go was sometimes ethically intriguing, I found it slow and hard to get into. I'll be honest, there were moments when I really had to force myself to pick the book back up - yet despite my best efforts I feel like I got nothing out of it. The plot is "haunting" in spirit. The subject of the book is more terrifying than the book actually is. 

At times there wasn't as much dialogue as I'd like, especially between Kathy and Tommy; whose relationship deserved to be established and explored a lot more than it ever was in this book. The film makes more of a "thing" out of the awkwardness and sexual tension between the characters, which is probably why I prefer it. However, the film does lead you to believe that Kathy and Tommy spent more time together than they were actually written to have. Another annoying thing about the film is that Kathy is portrayed as a virginal, shy type, whereas, in the books she has many fleeting relationships which, again, are never properly explored by the author.

As for "an unforgettable story of love," I'd argue against it. If it weren't for the film, I don't think this story would have touched me at all. The clones were very unsure about how to express themselves, and so there were periods when their relationships seemed forced and lacking in emotion. If Tommy had never said to Kath, "we loved each other all our lives," then you may not have realised that was ever the case. It was not made abundantly clear. Even when they do eventually (SPOILER ALERT) become a couple, there's a complete lack of romance - Tommy never pushes Kathy's hair behind her ear or anything like that which you would expect of two people who had longed to be with each other for so long - no, even then it was just, "sometimes, we had sex." And yes, that is an exact quote, which I believe is said more than once. 

Before I say this, I'm going to point out that this is the first Kazuo Ishiguro book I've read, and you'll have to forgive me for making this assumption if it's untrue, but it seems to me that his talent does not extend to creating complex loving relationships. It's all very minimalist and he's not really a big believer in description. I don't think we're ever told what the clones look like, although I'm not sure whether this is to emphasise their unimportance in the eyes of society. Ishiguro did not make me feel.

Rating: 3 stars

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