reading: Never Let Me Go

February 3, 2016


Never Let Me Go combines the futuristic tensions of a world that raises clones to be organ donors and the the slow character development of three clones growing up, falling in love, and dealing with the approach of their deaths.

“We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro

This book explores issues of cloning, morality, and human mortality. It turns a calm eye to the questions created by the world that the characters inhabit, in which they are born and raised to begin organ donations until they complete and die. Some of the questions include: What right does a clone have to its own life if it was born for a specific purpose? What is the purpose of art in life- what does it reveal about the artist? What is the purpose of life if it must inevitably come to an end? The questions were very universal, and reached outside of the story, partly because of the humanity exhibited by the main characters- Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth.

The book moved through their lives at a tranquil pace, narrated by Kathy, and sliding between past and present as she tells stories about her life. The identity of the characters is calmly revealed to the reader, and their destiny never feels like a mystery to be solved- their fate is inevitable. This book moves through the plot without the flash, and intensity of many science fiction stories. It just tells the story of Kathy, who loves Tommy, but cannot be with him.

It is the humanity of the clones that makes the book haunting. To the reader that sees them grow up, and navigate love, they are human. The idea that they must die before they reach their middle age is disturbing and tragic.

“What I'm not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro

Overall, this story left me with a strong need to enjoy my own life, to appreciate creating things, and connecting with other people. No one gets as much time as they would like. This book reminds me that life is not fair, but it can still be beautiful.




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