Posted by: Ele Quigan | December 30, 2010

‘Never Let Me Go’ Kazuo Ishiguro

In one of my random wanders into a book store, I picked this up on a 3 for 2 deal for something a bit interesting. I thought surely if it’s about to be released as a film, it should be good, right? I didn’t realise that a friend of mine had given it to me years ago, I’d just never read it (slackslack, cause it’s actually great.)

It’s part sci-fi, part school fiction, part Margaret Atwood ‘Cat’s Eye’ – and some how it gloriously carries it all. Centred around school children, who you realise part way through have only been born to donate organs – they gradually come to this knowledge throughout the novel, and you gradually pick it up through conversations and odd threads until you realise with horror, exacrtly what these children were born to do.

As per usual, there are several emotionally disturbing elements to the novel – which I hope wont spoil it for you –

1) They complete. Yes complete. Not die, not ‘end’ not expended, but complete. Is there some bizarro sense of Heaven in that? That they are complete so therefore die peacefully? I’m not sure why but it feels to me that there’s an emotional reason why they call it that. And my god it’s so freaking sad.

2) They know. Somehow they do. It’s not really mentioned or outlined or told, but they know they’re only there for what’s inside them. Somehow they’ve always known.

3) It’s just like an odd highschool novel – I get quirks of ‘Mean girls’ and other such teenage nastiness – but for some reason it feels just right?! And then you realise again how they are bred to complete, which sends the concept of being born to complete right they way round your head again.

It’s such a great novel, it really creeped up on me how much I enjoyed it. I kept thinking about it for days afterwards wanting to make other people read it to see what they thought – And now there’s a film out.

I haven’t had the heart to read any reviews of the film yet, but I’m sure it will be interesting – I shall come back and update once I’ve seen it – particularly if the general feel of the film stays true to the pervading sadness and grief within the novel.

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