Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was published in 2005 and was a Man Booker, Arthur C. Clarke, and James Tait Black Memorial Prize Nominee. Though the novel didn’t win any of those awards it is one of Ishiguro’s most popular novels.
Last year I read Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day which I really enjoyed. I ‘discovered’ Ishiguro’s writing in that book and I liked it so much that I feel I would follow him into any story he wrote. This is why I decided to read Never Let Me Go. It felt a natural progression into the works of an author I intend to continue reading. The thing is, I wasn’t sure what to expect because the blurb, which you can read below, and its mention of boarding school ongoings didn’t really strike me as my cup of tea.
“From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day.” (GoodReads)
However, and this is a big however, I had no idea what I was in for. That blurb gives you absolutely no clue as to the world you are about to step into. And thank goodness for that. Not knowing beforehand is key to the surprise, especially together with the way Ishiguro tells this story.
As always, his writing is lovely and his characterisation is spot on. The pace and the sprinkling of breadcrumbs is well planned. I can not tell you what this is actually about, of course, because I won’t take the shock of the discovery away from you. It’s what makes this book. It’s what contrasts the normalcy of the rest of the story which is an important detail.
Never Let Me Go was a good book. My advice is read it, without reading any blurbs, articles, or conversations about it. Don’t let anyone spoil it for you.