From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.
- Man Booker Prize for Fiction
- National Book Critics Circle Awards
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
Like Ishiguro's previous works (The Remains of the Day; When We Were Orphans), his sixth novel is so exquisitely observed that even the most workaday objects and interactions are infused with a luminous, humming otherworldliness. The dystopian story it tells, meanwhile, gives it a different kind of electric charge. Set in late 1990s England, in a parallel universe in which humans are cloned and raised expressly to "donate" their healthy organs and thus eradicate disease from the normal population, this is an epic ethical horror story, told in devastatingly poignant miniature. By age 31, narrator (and clone) Kathy H has spent nearly 12 years as a "carer" to dozens of "donors." Knowing that her number is sure to come up soon, she recounts-in excruciating detail-the fraught, minute dramas of her happily sheltered childhood and adolescence at Hailsham, an idyllic, isolated school/orphanage where clone-students are encouraged to make art and feel special. Protected (as is the reader, at first) from the full truth about their eventual purpose in the larger world, "we [students] were always just too young to understand properly the latest piece of information. But of course we'd take it in at some level, so that before long all this stuff was there in our heads without us ever having examined it properly." This tension of knowing-without-knowing permeates all of the students' tense, sweetly innocent interactions, especially Kath's touchingly stilted love triangle with two Hailsham classmates, manipulative Ruth and kind-hearted Tommy. In savoring the subtle shades of atmosphere and innuendo in these three small, tightly bound lives, Ishiguro spins a stinging cautionary tale of science outpacing ethics. Agent, Amanda Urban at ICM. 100,000 first printing; 9-city author tour. (Apr. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . Not for everyone but a very touching story
Posted February 22, 2012 by Alex Brown , PlattsburgIt;s a bit slow, it takes some time before you understand what the story is about. But the wait cab be rewarding. Great literature, simple but so effective dialogues. A short story that reminds you that it`s still possible to dream. I have not seen the movie based on this book: I prefer to stay with my own perception of that strange but so marvellous world
2 . Beautiful!
Posted December 08, 2010 by Mapiva , NY, NYThis book is so beautifully written. No extraneous words, no unnecessary information, just pure story. I love the juxtaposition of science fiction against the backdrop of an old fashioned British boarding school. This book made me think and empathize. I can't wait to read it again in a few years. I'm so sad it's over. The reading guide in the back was also very good and helpful.
3 . Sad and Beautiful and Gripping
Posted October 31, 2010 by Karen , Cleveland, OhioI could not put this story down. It took me two sittings to read it because I just got lost in the story. The narration is very understated but powerful. The story goes to the heart of how easily we can ignore the humanity of others in the name of survival. And these clones are very human in the fullest sense of the word. But this is a story of all mortal beings, not just the clones.
4 . Not good.
Posted October 29, 2010 by Renee , HiawasseeI did not like this book. I didn't even finish it. All it is is a woman reminiscing about her life and she jumps from one memory to another throughout the entire thing. It didn't make any sense to me either. I couldn't finish it because of how confused and bored I was with the whole thing. The story line could have been good if the actual writing were better.
April 03, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
My name is Kathy H. I ' m thirty-one years old, and I ' ve been a carer now for over eleven years. That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the end of this year. That ' ll make it almost exactly twelve years. Now I know my being a carer so long isn ' t necessarily because they think I ' m fantastic at what I do. There are some really good carers who ' ve been told to stop after just two or three years. And I can think of one carer at least who went on for all of fourteen years despite being a complete waste of space. So I ' m not trying to boast. But then I do know for a fact they ' ve been pleased with my work, and by and large, I have too. My donors have always tended to do much better than expected. Their recovery times have been impressive, and hardly any of them have been classified as ' agitated, ' even before fourth donation. Okay, maybe I am boasting now. But it means a lot to me, being able to do my work well, especially that bit about my donors staying ' calm. ' I ' ve developed a kind of instinct around donors. I know when to hang around and comfort them, when to leave them to themselves; when to listen to everything they have to say, and when just to shrug and tell them to snap out of it.
Anyway, I ' m not making any big claims for myself. I know carers, working now, who are just as good and don ' t get half the credit. If you ' re one of them, I can understand how you might get resentful ' about my bedsit, my car, above all, the way I get to pick and choose who I look after. And I ' m a Hailsham student ' which is enough by itself sometimes to get people ' s backs up. Kathy H., they say, she gets to pick and choose, and she always chooses her own kind: people from Hailsham, or one of the other privileged estates. No wonder she has a great record. I ' ve heard it said enough, so I ' m sure you ' ve heard it plenty more, and maybe there ' s something in it. But I ' m not the first to be allowed to pick and choose, and I doubt if I ' ll be the last. And anyway, I ' ve done my share of looking after donors brought up in every kind of place. By the time I finish, remember, I ' ll have done twelve years of this, and it ' s only for the last six they ' ve let me choose.
And why shouldn ' t they Carers aren ' t machines. You try and do your best for every donor, but in the end, it wears you down. You don ' t have unlimited patience and energy. So when you get a chance to choose, of course, you choose your own kind. That ' s natural. There ' s no way I could have gone on for as long as I have if I ' d stopped feeling for my donors every step of the way. And anyway, if I ' d never started choosing, how would I ever have got close again to Ruth and Tommy after all those years