Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Trevor's Review of Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go

I was disappointed in Never Let Me Go. I don't think it was one of the best books of 2005 nor was it quite what I expected from Ishiguro, not that I expect or want him to comply to my wishes.

Here is a compelling story about a unique group of friends who went to Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school, together. Now, several years later, looking back on that experience before they entered their vocation--a vocation that was chosen for them, a vocation, in fact, that they were in a way bred for. In their youth they were innocent. They had emotions that they wanted to express, but such expression was seen as unsafe by the authorities. Years later, having lost that innocence and knowing they did not have much time left together, they try to take the measure of their lives.

As always, Ishiguro's writing style is subtle and adept. However, I didn't think that made this book that profound. Sure, I liked discovering what the story was actually about slowly--it made the book all the more real and showed Ishiguro's confidence and supreme control over the plot. I just didn't really like the story. And while their were moments of heartache, where I supremely felt for the characters, in the end I did not truly sympathize with them. Where in The Remains of the Day the themes emerged out of the characters' interactions, in this book the themes seem to be at the forefront, the characters merely vessles to explore the themes. Consequently, even the themes felt less true. I am sad I do not care about this book's Kathy nearly as much as I do about The Remains of the Day's Stevens. In the end, this book definitely shows the Ishiguro's immense skill at subtle evocation--his skill is still breathtaking.
3 stars out of 5.

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