Cover Image: Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

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Member Reviews

This book is not for the squeamish, but I highly recommend it.

I found the narrator, Kathy H., and her friends Tommy and Ruth, authentic and endearing, even though Ruth was somewhat a mean girl. They grew up at Hailsham, a boarding school somewhere in an alternate reality English countryside. Kathy reminisces about their school days, and there is something a bit off about their experiences and the way they understand their lives. It is what is in store for the students after Hailsham that caused me so much discomfort. It is a sad story and a hard novel to read. It is no wonder Ishiguro won a Nobel Prize in literature. His writing gets to me in a very personal way, makes me feel all the emotions. 

This was a rereading of one of my favourite books. I received a free copy of this edition of Never Let Me Go from NetGalley and Faber Books in exchange for my review.
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sorry wasnt a major fan!
The storyline seemed so interesting, twisty and unique but in the end was a bit boring!
while yes the ending did make me sad honestly i just didnt enjoy the book itself!
i just simply did not care for this book at all
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Love Ishiguro's writing and this book is not short of perfect. Absorbing from the beginning, emotional, and engaging. Writing is amazing. 
Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
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I think it’s best not to know too much about this book before you start reading.   Set in a typical English country boarding school, we get to know three characters in particular, whose lives end up having the potential to resonate with all of us.  The relationships between the three main characters are touchingly depicted and you become completely involved in their conflicts and dilemmas.
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i'm happy I read this book because is excellent.
I love Kazuo Ishiguro style of writing and I loved this mix of different genres, a dark and gripping story that made me think.
Even if it was publisher more than 10 years ago it aged well and the dark atmosphere it's so similar to those of our time.
Great character development and storytelling.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Kazuo Ishiguro does sci-fi - badly. The sci-fi is all in the ending, which takes an age to get to, so that we're stuck with tedious high school students waffling on about projects they're doing and dealing with their petty interpersonal squabbles. Never interesting, always a slog, I didn't like this one in the least. The most mundane sci-fi novel I've ever read.
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I read Kazou's The Unconsoled over twenty years ago, and loved the dreaminess and confusion, a tale of a man unsure what his life held, and where he was and where he was going. Never Let Me Go has similar themes - how despite your dreams in life, you're still moulded by your environment and your future is determine by other people's expectations of you.

I liked the concept, liked the theme, but the pace was very slow, and none of the characters really grabbed me, so it did become a struggle to read.

Better than a 3*, so rounding up to a 4!
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What else I can add about this Booker-shortlisted book from a Nobel prize-winning author?

Fifteen years after its initial release, one can still understand the awards attention. Over time, its themes have only increased in relevance and, though subtle, the writing packs a real punch to the soul.

I think this book is most fascinating because of what it's not. Though it contains elements of sci fi, it is not science fiction as such. The technology of this world is the foundation for the plot, yet its workings and implications are kept in the background.

It could also be a tale of confronting injustice. This society has chosen to overlook the dubious activities which are morally murky yet crucial for their continued health and security. Ishiguro doesn't lead us down a path to uprising and action-packed rebellion against the status quo, though the ethical abdication of the people is laid out clearly and implicitly condemned.

In the book, Kathy H looks back on her life at Hailsham, a boarding school for children who have a very specific purpose. Along with her best friends, Tommy and Ruth, she comes to understand the world in a distorted way. Naivety and innocence give way to a passive acceptance of their fate. They never fully understand their place in the world until the novel's close and this robs them of any real chance to resist, to fight. Their lives are heartbreaking and society is damned simply because they accept their roles so readily.

The story's strength lies in its characters, rather than this gradually revelation of the truth. It always surprises me how Ishiguro is able to jump around so much in his books without them unravelling. He did a very similar thing with The Remains of the Day, where the story takes the form of one character reminiscing. So it is here; the narrative follows the strands of Kathy's various scattered thoughts to let these episodes show the true humanity and tragedy of these characters. It really ought not to work nearly so well as it does. 

The book has a lot to say about loss, love, fulfilment and achieving one's dreams. It's difficult to articulate just why this book is so effective, but definitely worth giving a shot!
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My thanks to Faber & Faber for a review copy of their 2010 edition via NetGalley of ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro. Since its original publication in 2005 it has been highly acclaimed, even though some critics were rather snobby about Kazuo Ishiguro writing science fiction. Clearly those making such remarks do not appreciate the scope of the genre and that it’s not all spaceships and jet packs. 

Narrated by Kathy, who at thirty-one is looking back at her younger years spent at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School. The truth of the situation facing Kathy and her friends, Tommy and Ruth, in the wider world is slowly revealed to the reader.

‘Never Let Me Go’ is both a coming-of-age tale and science-fiction set in a dark, alternative Britain. Acclaimed British horror author Ramsey Campbell also described it as horror because it is a “classic instance of a story that's horrifying, precisely because the narrator doesn't think it is".

This is very evident as Kathy and the others accept their place in society. There is no resistance, no outrage. 

While I had seen the 2010 film adaptation, this is my first reading of the novel. It is powerful, thought-provoking, and deeply moving. 

Overall, clearly a novel worthy of its modern classic status.
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I've heard of this book a number of times and often wondered exactly what it was about so was glad to finally read it. For such challenging, provocative content it was surprisingly easy to read and I raced through in less than 2 days. Ishiguro's genius is in approaching such questions from a child's point of view, even when Kathy is an adult she still speaks with a child's voice, both in memory and present. This simplicity fools you into reassurance and before you know it you are questioning your own morality, when you thought you'd just been reading a narrative about childhood friendship. Highly recommend.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Publishers for this copy

This is one of my favourite books ever and one of my favourite authors. Unique and outstanding i wont spoil it with an explanation buy it and dive in you’ll thank me for it once you start the book
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This is a gripping and emotional read.  I was hooked from the first page.  A masterpiece from a brilliant writer.  I strongly recommend it.
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Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were all students at the rather 'select' Hailsham school. Raised there from early childhood, their lives were free from outside influences and stress; in many ways it was an idyllic time. Now in her early thirties, Kathy reminisces about their years together, at Hailsham and afterwards, and the gradual realisation that their lives, and deaths, have been planned out for them.

This must be the fourth or fifth time I've read Never Let Me Go and it never fails to pull me in, to enfold me in its parallel world; one which seems so normal on the surface but is dark and dystopian underneath. 

At different times, it strikes me in different ways. Sometimes it's a coming of age tale, A fairly normal one of childhood tiffs and squabbles, of 'queen bee' Ruth who must be humoured else she'll make everyone's lives a misery, of the obvious differences of being brought up in an institution, even if it's one as supportive as Hailsham, Sometimes, it's far more sinister - a chilling tale of  human clones being bred to become organ donors. Or it can be nostalgic for the past, in which Hailsham represents a more caring world which no longer exists.

However it strikes me, Kathy's narrative plays out carefully, hinting at, but never outright declaring, the fate which awaits her, Ruth, Tommy and their classmates. Expressions such as 'donations' or 'completion' are bandied about as if both the children and the reader know what they fully entail; then the full enormity is revealed, and it's not quite a surprise, just a dreadful acknowledgement of what we'd suspected, but ignored, all along. That implicit acceptance leads to a far more chilling ending than if Kathy had raged against her circumstances throughout.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Faber and Faber Ltd for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Never Let Me Go was such a pleasant surprise for me. I felt so emotionally engaged with this book from the very beginning and didn't want it to end, I wasn't ready to leave this world and I'm genuinely amazed that Kazuo Ishiguro never revisited this world (as far as I know) 

Just from this book I've fallen in love with Ishiguro's writing style and will definitely be on the lookout for more of his books in the future. His writing is incredibly poetic and engaging, and his characters are incredibly deep and fleshed out as well as still having their own developing characteristics throughout the story, whilst keeping them vulnerable and human. 

The world building in this book is incredible, with the story being set in a dystopian Britain I found it really engaging and believable due to the authors descriptions.
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Kazuo Isiguro is a justifiably renowned author . "Never let me go" could only be written by someone, such as he, who is a master of projecting emotion and empathy through the written word. The story takes us through the lives of Ruth, Kathy and Jamie who are ever constant in the strong feelings they share for each other. Firstly, it supports them through their initial years at Hailsham residential facility and then on through their years at The Cottages. Moving out in the wider world, they separate into different roles as either  "Donors" or "Carers" which means their paths cross less frequently. But the bond remains and although, on occasions it causes them heartbreak, their mutual empathy never lets them lose their love for each other.  A perceptive novel which tests the boundaries of humanity
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I’ve read this book twice now, once when it was first published and more recently through NetGalley. For me this is one of those novels that gets even better the second time around, as there is much more to it than its page-turning, intriguing dystopian plot. It is also a heartbreakingly moving coming-of-age novel with universal themes such as childhood and loss. It’s one of the most touching, beautifully written novels I’ve ever read and would give 6 stars if I could.
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Completely out of my comfort zone - but strangely enjoyable!

Thirty-one year old Kath reminisces about her childhood and how it's all brought her to where she is now. We learn about her life up until now and the friends who have featured in her life.

This is my first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Sometimes, you get to the point of actually reading one of those novels which are labelled 'one day' in your mind! I wasn't quite sure what to expect but once I had begun, I found this to be simply compelling. It wouldn't have surprised me to find out this one was set in Gilead but, no, it definitely takes place in the U.K. which gives the story a sinister edge. Beautifully written, there is a simple truth to the characters and how they interact with each other. Totally believable - and all the creepier because of it! Very different to my usual type of novel but not one I'll forget in a hurry. If you enjoy something different, then this is one for you. I'm happy to give it four stars.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
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The characters are so well written in this story that you really feel like you know them. For me though this story was a bit slow and I was expecting more.
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Not sure how I feel about this book really. There is no denying that the writing is powerful and the story will certainly stay with you long after the last chapter has ended. However, its entirely dystopian plot can leave you feeling quite drained.
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A subversive work of art that both shocks, and delights within a dystopian narrative. The melancholy tone builds to a slow reveal, from a writer who never feels pushed to show his hand. A deliberate, functioning build up with emotional turns separates Never Let Me Go from many of its contemporary predeceases.

We’re All Different
The narrative is told from Kathy’s perspective, a clone growing up in an English boarding school known as Hailsham. Here the teachers are their guardians, and decide critical aspects of their lives, focusing on creative activities.

In the current day, Kathy is a carer looking for organ donors, which leads her to crossing paths with some of her former school friends. As conflicting feelings begin to rise, she must come to terms with her own imminent conclusion.

The title, Never Let Me Go is taken from a song by fictional singer, Judy Bridgewater. A cassette of her work becomes obsessed over by Kathy during the story’s narrative.

Futuristic Reality
Never Let Me Go is one of the best novels I’ve read in recent years. It’s about much more than a dystopian future – it’s about the predictability of death, along with the evils in everyday life. With the trivial persistence’s and the crushing defeats, the theme of malevolent runs deep.

There are similarities to Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, which alters American politics to fit its narrative. However, Never Let Me Go begins by changing the very foundations of science. By imagining a world in which genetic cloning is commonplace, the once familiar grounds of 20th century England are transformed.

Whilst the story is dystopian and futuristic, there are no flying cars a la Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The environments are distinctly unaffected by this new phenomenon.

'…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.' - Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

This shows the switching of perspectives used in the book to convert completely different opinions on a situation. On one side, the children are joyous and running around, on the other, Madame, who doesn’t want any interaction with them.

The changing of viewpoints is also employed to bring comedy value in certain bleak situations. It’s a reminder that we never quite know what another person is thinking; even less their motives. In the case above, it turns out that Madame is not afraid of the children, but fearful of getting too close to them on a more personal level.

Lost Property
Setting up vital moments, such as Norfolks’ lost property, is another of Ishiguro’s strengths. Casting Norfolk is where all mislaid items go, waiting for their original owner to pick them back up.

Later, when travelling through Norfolk, Kathy realises this isn’t the case. Consequently, this shatters her emotional intelligence; making her question everything else she thought she knew growing up.

Similarly, it’s in these moments that we have a chance to connect to the characters further.

'Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.' - Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

We’ve all been led to believe things as a child because it makes things easier, often for the parents involved – The Easter bunny / Santa Clause, or the way an ice-cream van only plays its music when it’s run out of ice-cream.

In this instance, we learn the truth; it’s only natural to question the trust that was previously formed.

Kathy, ever the unreliable narrator, is both subjective and contradicted. Only her perspective is told, however, other character’s dialogues suggest alternative truths. She frequently starts off talking about one memory, only to interrupt the flow by talking about another. This flittering of chronological order serves to reinforce her instability as a storyteller.

They also show how memory can become clouded, and often manipulated by its user. Viewing a past as either entirely negative or entirely positive is a defence mechanism, often used to shroud harsher times.

All of these points show how adept Ishiguro is as a writer. His characters all interact, learn and progress through life; passing over roadblocks and ravines, garnering bruises along the way.

Closing Thoughts
Ishiguro has created a versatile, yet grounded dystopian world that pushes science laws whilst still maintaining its sensibilities.

Characters are dimensional, the plot is twisting, and the pace is quick. There was never a moment that I didn’t want to read on and find out the end truth. If you enjoy a slow-building plot with diverse characters, then definitely check out Never Let Me Go. As I said earlier, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time; up there with Ask the Dust.

This is the first Ishiguro novel I’ve read, but certainly not my last. I have Buried Giants sitting on my shelf, and I’ve subsequently pre-ordered his upcoming book, Klara and the Sun (March 2nd 2021).
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