Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


“ROBOTS WILL take over Earth, says royal astronomer.” Daily Mail. April 2017.
He follows Professor Stephen Hawking who has said that artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. (Victoria Allen. Science Correspondent)

And on this premise, this is where I begin. Perhaps the author’s name seems familiar? One of his well-known books is “Remains of the Day.” The book under review was published in 2005, a sad and haunting book presenting a dystopian society. Deeply disturbing and frightening.

“We demonstrated to the world that if students were reared in humane, cultivated environments, it was possible for them to grow to be as sensitive and intelligent as any ordinary human being.”

Organ donations, cloning, artificial intelligence, gene editing and robotics interested Ishiguro who believed that they could transform the way we live and interact with each other over the next thirty years and he presents to us very simple, unambitious and uncomplicated people interested in discovering their “possibles” and fulfilling their destinies: being carers, donors and ultimately reaching completion.

Were they meant to be just “shadowy objects in test tubes” so repulsive and disgusting to the human race as indicated by their Guardians? Pawns in a game? “There are people who shudder at the very thought of you-how you were brought into this world and why-and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs.” Take, for example Madame who visits the school to collect work for her Gallery and distances herself from the students as if they are inhuman.

Kathy reflects on her childhood at Hailsham, a special institution where the clones were reared and allowed some privileges whereas others were “reared in deplorable conditions.”

We learn about her fragile relationship with Ruth and Tommy and their love triangle, following them from the Hailsham days through to the Cottages where they developed study skills prior to begin training to be carers to the hospitals where it all ended. Kathy survives for a time, at least.

She has been a carer for more than eleven years and soon she will be a donor like all of her Hailsham friends. As children growing up they seemed to behave just like normal children with their petty jealousies and anxieties, bullying Tommy for being a bit of a misfit and exploding with temper tantrums. But perhaps he was more human than we gave him credit for?

Ruth suffers with insecurities which closely reveals human emotions and concludes that she, just like all the other clones are modelled from trash. Perhaps a junkie or a prostitute, a tramp or a convict?

“If you want to look for possibles, then you look in the gutter. You look in rubbish bins. Look down the toilet, that’s where you’ll find where we came from.” Who tampered with nature and created people with souls who were capable of experiencing love but not grief? Their pain and suffering was real to save the lives of others as their bodies shut down for good.


It will leave a lasting impression.

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