“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.”
If you think that quote is disturbing, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go was like joining a battle mid-way through and having to fight to gain and keep any ground. I never felt like I fully understood what was going on until the very end, and by the time I did understand I was so numb to the horrors of it that I can’t say I even really felt anything. Rather like the ending, I was left with a dull sense of acceptance, and a whole lot of implications to ponder over.
This is a dystopian sci-fi novel, and it is blood-curdling and current, though this is not [as of yet] happening in our world. It’s about the children who attend a special boarding school called Havasham, where they learn all about art and are told constantly that they’re special. The only thing is, the professors are strange and secretive, and there are plenty of questions that no one wants to ask or answer hanging around in the wings, waiting to make the horrible truth a part of their waking lives.
By the time you understand why these children are special it’s too late, until, eventually, you realize, as the narrator does, that it was too late long before the story even began. Their fates were sealed before they were born, and you’re fate was sealed the second you picked up this book. It’s a great, if morbid, novel, and it’ll leave you with plenty of conversation fodder for all those awkward water-cooler conversations you find yourself in. Think Those Who Walk Away from Omelas meets Stem Cell Research in the extreme, and you’ll sort-of have this one. It’s hard to put down, impossible not to finish, and it never really does let you go.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Overall Reaction: “What is going on? Oh no. No. That can’t be it. Oh. That is it. Well, freak. Life is meaningless.”