Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: Review

My mentor recently brought to my attention that I have not read many, or any really, recent, dytopian novels. My solution: reading and reviewing at least one dystopian novel every week. My first read, as is pretty blatantly obvious, is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

As Presenting Lenore mentioned in her recent review of this book, Never Let Me Go is beautifully subtle. It's not overly wordy or overly emotional. It

You find yourself connecting with the characters, though barely knowing why. They're not physically described in great detail. They're not touchy-feely at all. In fact, the narration is mostly very matter-of-fact. But despite all of this, there's an underlying pull that keeps you going. An understated and disconcerting thread that you just keep trying (and usually failing) to grasp.

This isn't one of those dystopian novels where you know the situation almost immediately--know who the good and bad guys are and what the issue is. For the first third of the novel, I could barely figure out what the problem or point of the novel was to begin with.

Kazuo does a stunning job of slowly unveiling the truths and stories of the characters. He gives you just enough to keep you reading, but never too much that you feel like you know exactly what's going to happen. You find that, as the reader, you feel the emotions that the characters can't or don't yet realize that they feel. And if you don't cry by the end (out of happiness or not, I will not say), you probably need go to the doctor for some sort of chemical supplement.

I have difficulty giving "star" ratings, because I feel it's nearly impossible to rate all books on the same scale; however, it's definately a must-read for dystopian writers and readers and, well, pretty much everyone else.

Now, there have been some reviews pondering why the characters did not escape. I did question this towards the end of the novel, but I think most who have read this book eventually realize that it's really just wishful thinking. Deep down, it seems clear that the world that the characters live in is all that they know, and they could never possibly imagine going against it. Yes, they probably could of escaped successfully, but they'd never heard it done before, so why should they to rebel? This is not a novel focused on rebellion, it's focused on innocence and relationships and ethics.


  1. Hi fellow crusader group member :-)

    I also am interested in dystopian, having started a book which includes it.

    I have never read this boo though. I have popped in on my "to be read" on good reads.

    Thanks for the post and happy crusading


  2. Hello. I write gay fiction so you and I should totally be friends :)

  3. I can't wait for the movie to come out. I wonder how it'll do.
    Stopping by to introduce myself as a new follower and fellow crusader. Did you find out what group you're in yet?

  4. Hello, fellow crusader here. I write erotic romance so this should be interesting!

  5. very good book - hi I just popped in to fellow crusader - am wandering around the long long list and introducing myself - i write dystopian novels and ordinary (well not quite ordinary) short stories - have fun