Quietly emotional, utterly depressing.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Genres: Fiction, Dystopia
Published: 31st August, 2010
Oh, dear… Where do I begin with this one?
I love dystopia, and had my eye on this one for quite a while. It’s been out for almost ten years, but I think I was very efficient with avoiding spoilers. Or so I thought. A few months ago we had a new guy join our team, and he takes his lunch the same time I do, and we often end up discussing books. Last month we were talking about Kafka, and he said the dude wrote a super depressing book about so-and-so. To me it sounded an awful lot like Never Let Me Go, even though I’ve never read it, so we came to the conclusion that this was it. I immediately felt like I just had the whole book spoiled, but my colleague ensured me he only read the first chapter before tossing it under the bed where it still stays till this day, so surely there must be more to it. Some big reveal, or a plot twist.
Well, there wasn’t… There really just wasn’t.
While I do appreciate the sentiment, and find the topic absolutely fascinating, the execution of the story left me exasperated. The story is told entirely by Kathy, and has this anecdotal feel to it that just got on my nerves really quickly. You see, she starts reminiscing about one thing, only to go off the track, and then circle back a few chapters later with an “as I said before”. I think I could have overlooked this if there was actually a lot happening, but to me it felt like we are just talking about nothing and running circles around something that is not the least interesting. Ya boring!
While seemingly there wasn’t much going on, it was emotionally draining. Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were so painfully passive, basically like human doormats. Of course, there was sort of the point of the story, but it didn’t make it any more enjoyable.
As a study on human nature it’s brilliant. Kazuo Ishiguro takes a sharp look at society and how people tend to treat others who are perceived inferior to them. It was heartbreaking, but entirely realistic and may I add truly scary. It’s so easy for morals to slip when humanity gets something that seemingly solves all their problems. Fuck consequences if they don’t affect you, right?