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Hailsham aparenta ser un agradable internado inglés, lejos de las influencias de la gran ciudad. La escuela se ocupa bien de sus estudiantes, enseñándoles arte y literatura y todo lo necesario para que se conviertan en el tipo de persona que la sociedad espera. Pero, curiosamente, en Hailsham no se enseña nada sobre el mundo exterior, un mundo con el que casi todo contacto está prohibido. Dentro de Hailsham, Kathy y sus amigos Ruth y Tommy crecen indiferentes ante el resto del mundo, pero será solamente cuando finalmente dejen la seguridad de la escuela que se darán cuenta de lo que Hailsham en realidad esconde.  
 
Nunca me abandones rompe con los limites de la novela literaria. Es un misterio conmovedor, una hermosa historia de amor, una crítica mordaz de la arrogancia humana y también una investigación moral de cómo tratamos a la gente más vulnerable en nuestra sociedad. En su exploración del tema de la memoria y el impacto del pasado en un posible futuro, Ishiguro ha creado su libro más conmovedor hasta la fecha.
 


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Published: VintageAnchor an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780307794154
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Amazon summary: All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny - to be harvested for body parts, and ultimately die. Like the students of Hailsham, readers are "told but not told" what is going on and should be allowed to discover the secrets of Hailsham and the truth about these children on their own.Offsetting the bizarreness of these revelations is the placid, measured voice of the narrator, Kathy H., a 31-year-old Hailsham alumna who, at the close of the 1990s, is consciously ending one phase of her life and beginning another. She is in a reflective mood, and recounts not only her childhood memories, but her quest in adulthood to find out more about Hailsham and the idealistic women who ran it. Although often poignant, Kathy's matter-of-fact narration blunts the sharper emotional effects you might expect in a novel that deals with illness, self-sacrifice, and the severe restriction of personal freedoms.more
recommended for: people who enjoy novels that delve into ethics, sci-fi fansI read a professional review of this book and heard some things about the book before I read it, and I wish I had read it without knowing anything about it. I still enjoyed it, even though I knew some of the plot ahead of time. I found myself depressed throughout, because the topic is dark and I really felt for Kathy and her friends. The story is narrated by Kathy, and I loved her voice as I think it fit the kind of person she was, but I can see others possibly not enjoying the book because of her style of writing about her life. Sci-fi told as though telling a realistic tale, and very thought provoking. Worth the read!more
This book is written in a gentle, unpretentious manner. The plot is doled out in tantalizing bits and pieces. The pace is relaxed, the feeling a kind of gentle bleakness.

As I came to the end of the book, I felt my first urge, ever, to throw a physical tantrum, a la Tommy. I was reminded of a review of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure," who said that upon finishing the book he hurled it across the room. His anger unsatisfied, he ripped it in two. Still angry, he threw it in the fire. And the next day went out to buy copies of everything Hardy had written. I understand, in reading this book, where he was coming from.

- - - - SPOILER ALERT - - - - - - - - -

Ishiguro has said that the cloning was not, to him, the most interesting aspect of the book. I think that he's managed to produce more than a wrenching reminder of the potential human cost of some applications of technology. It also works as an excellent example of contemporary fiction.

I'm glad I read it, but it has left me feeling harrowed and hollow. I fear that the bleakness of the book will stay with me for some time.more
!! SPOILER ALERT !! Hey, the movie is out already…In this world created by Kazuo Ishiguro, we are challenged with the ethical question of breeding humans for the sake of their organs – “for donations”. Their lives are pre-ordained, and there is only one path ahead of them. They grow up in schools that are similar to orphanages, except there is no one coming to adopt them. They carry the same self-doubt as an orphan – what are their roots, who are they modeled after – their “possible”. They have mixed feelings and semi-thoughts that they don’t say out-loud, as they are not taught or exposed to ideas that suggest they will have a normal life, nor are they told everything explicitly, i.e. their future. These are ‘students’; the official C word is not introduced until very late in the book. They are genetically created to not be able to pro-create, as though pro-creation is what makes a human ‘human’. In the school where the main characters grew up, Hailsham, they are encouraged to create art, to be creative, thereby proving they have a soul and deserve better treatment. They don’t have last names, only a first name and a letter for the last name. This anonymity provided a cushion to their existence in society. This society wants them, needs them, but alternately loathes them or pities them, and ultimately would rather not know they exist. I felt such bigotry in selected passages. The entire book has such a haunting dreaminess. Rather you do or do not immediately comprehend the concept of donation from the beginning, the ‘acceptance’ of the situation is what haunts me the most. The book is written primarily as a monologue from the narrator, Kathy H. It’s flat paced, and it’s not meant to raise your heart rate. To me, this ‘flatness’ projected the acceptance of their lives from Kathy and in extension of all the students. They may have questions, they may get angry, but they don’t run away from their duty, the reason they existed. They may even choose to start their training sooner, thereby ‘completing’ sooner. The lives of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy growing up in Hailsham reveal to us the possibility of this new human category; how would you view them? Mr. Ishiguro treads lightly on the ethics, but ultimately leaves it to us, the reader, to draw our own conclusions.Some Quotes:From Kathy – Describing the feeling of bigotry:“So you’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realize that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you – of how you were brought into this world and why – and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.”From Kathy – On Friendship and Betrayal, and I’ve made this mistake:~~ I’m sorry. ~~“And what made these heart-to-hearts possible – you might even say what made the whole friendship possible during that time – was this understanding we had that anything we told each other during these moments would be treated with careful respect: that we’d honour confidences, and that no matter how much we rowed, we wouldn’t use against each other anything we’d talked about during those sessions. Okay, this had never been spelt out exactly, but it was definitely, as I say, an understanding........ I wasn’t just cross. To me, it was a betrayal.”From Ruth – Bursting out with all her anguish and self-doubt about where they come from:“We all know it. We’re modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps. Convicts, maybe, just so long as they aren’t psychos. That’s what we come from. We all know it, so why don’t we say it?......If you want to look for possibles, if you want to do it properly, then you look in the gutter. You look in rubbish bins. Look down the toilet, that’s where you’ll find where we all came from.” From Madam – “Never Let Me Go” – The song:“When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, ye. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go. That is what I saw….”From Tommy – On Love:“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how I think it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”more
I cannot think of another story that so effectively entwines the best of humanity with the most base inhumanity. I'm docking it a star because of the number of questions it leaves unanswered, but in truth that may be part of the point. A haunting, horrifying, beautiful book.more
One word that comes to mind weirdly enough is this word: Gorgeous! What a gorgeous book. I was sucked in, tried to read it slowly just to enjoy it even more and I succeeded. Check my friend Milan's review. it says it all. Yes I ended up with more questions but I can appreciate that. I love it when I am done with a book and I can't let go. ;)more
It's not like SF writers haven't been thinking about cloning and identity for, oh I don't know, fifty years? This is a beautifully written book, sure, but Ishiguro's total disregard for the literary conversation he's entered makes his writing seem naive.more
(You may consider this review spoilery, if you read all of it. I state something explicitly that is below the surface of the book, at any rate.)

This book is a bit like having a one-sided conversation with the narrator. In consequence, it kinda feels like it rambles a bit -- they digress to talk about something else and then a couple of pages later, wrench it back to the original point. In some ways that makes it feel very natural, like someone talking, but to read it, it gets irritating.

There's a difficult tone to it... Very resigned, unemotional, and somewhat, I don't know, superficial. The narrator skims the surface of the truths revealed. It's natural to do that, in some ways, for a real person, but in a character, it's hard to engage. The characters of Ruth and Tommy were much more vivid for me than Kathy: Ruth and her needing to be in the know, needing to be superior; Tommy and his anger issues and his struggle to be creative. Ruth felt especially real to me: I knew a girl who was very much like her, and I was pretty much the Kathy in our interactions, too.

The way it engages with the issues -- with the idea of clones -- without dragging out all the backstory is interesting, dealt with it in this way. Like it's a fact of life, like what you're reading is all very matter of fact. And you go along with it a little, and then you stop, and you think about it... It actually reminds me of the way Kathy describes being taught about what her life will be: somehow it builds up so you've known it all along, but you never have this big moment of revelation. Unfortunately, that deadens the sharper shocks, I think.

I enjoyed it, and it was very easy to just settle down and read it. It's not racing action or anything, pretty leisurely, and not compelling in the sense that I couldn't put it down. But I wanted to know -- even suspecting what the end would be like, I wanted to get there and see.more
I had previously avoided this book, having heard it referred to as British science fiction. And when I hear "British science fiction," I think of Dr. Who. Then I think about all those childhood snuff film fantasies where Captain Kirk zaps him. (Phasers set to kill, dammit! Inter-dimensional traveling dandies in phone booths are the exception to Federation regulations. What is it about the British, anyway? A phone booth? That's Superman's bag, baby. Superhero envy much? The sun may have never set on the British Empire, but we Yankees have a guy who can fly faster than the speed of light.) But then I found myself alone in a big bookstore in a big city trying to divine what the angelic face on the book's cover was looking askance at (itself manipulated, no doubt, like the fictional clones whose story it was fashioned to sell) and thinking of Kurosawa's definition of art being about the ability to look at humanity in its entirety without flinching.

Mulligan. I flinched.

But Kazuo Ishiguro hasn't. And he doesn't think much of me. Or you. And he's probably correct in that judgment.

Imagine the most genteel, tea-sipping people gathered around fine china in a flowery patterned drawing room somewhere in the English countryside. A shaft of midday sun shines through drawn curtains as they politely discuss the day's happenings. Then imagine Leatherface, Jack the Ripper, Lex Luther, Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson's dad ransacking everything around them, starting at the furthest perimeters of the house, slowly working their way toward our happy people and ultimately cannibalizing them. Then imagine both groups acting as if this is completely normal. Nary a word of protest or questioning, mind you.

That's what this book is like to me.

It was very difficult to read, in the psychological sense of "read." The pathos was too overwhelming. I had to take a break from it, about two-thirds of the way through. I tried to tell myself that it was because I had read the bulk of it as I was hidden away in some claustrophobic hotel room, or that I found the prose tedious at times. In truth, though, it succeeds in shining a light on human nature, and I just couldn’t bear to look.

The story made me uncomfortable, and I hated myself for returning to it after having put it aside. I was irked by the characters, my inner-Kirk screaming, "SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!" The lethargic creepiness made me realize that no, not only was nobody going to do anything, but that neither I, nor you, nor any of us, are all that different from the people who harvest these poor souls for their organs. After all, I'm a fat and happy first-worlder who less and less has a care or thought for all those who are exploited to make my life possible.

We homo sapiens adapt to anything, and hang our hats on the most contorted and worn rationalizations.

I would grind my teeth and ask, "Where is their Marx? Their Malcolm X?" Fuck, I'd have settled for Stalin or Benedict Arnold. But maybe the revolutionary gene had been isolated and bred out of their clone bodies -- a distinct possibility, owing to the imperfect knowledge of the first-person narrator. What's worse is that whereas science may have manipulated them to be docile, we, all of us, have been likewise manipulated by the inertia of history.

As I have written, I grew tired with what I saw as tedious prose, the catalog of details about everyday life cited by the narrator. But then it dawned on me that this cataloging is exactly the sort of thing a dying person would do. Life would take on more urgency. What you and I may take for granted is pregnant with wonder to the condemned. In fact, happy serendipity, this view is supported by a study cited in the November 2009 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin -- researchers have found that those who profess to be in love are more analytical. And what is someone condemned to die other than someone in love with life?

I winced at Ishiguro's condemnation of liberal half-measures in the face of social norms. The narrator and her group of friends are raised in an almost "humane" manner -- educated, encouraged to cultivate personal friendships with one another, encouraged to pursue art. And while they represent the exception, an experiment to demonstrate that clones have souls, they are condemned nonetheless. All the petty jealousies and transcendent friendships that framed their short, beautiful lives, are consumed by larger society. And while there is never a mention of God, the closest they come is looking up a former instructor who is only mildly repulsed by them and who bids them to eat from the Tree of Complete Knowledge.

Repeat after me: I am pathetic. I am powerless.

Kirk, succumbing to the Borg after all.more
haunting story so well done scary with the possibilities that this could be a part of our futuremore
Always wonder when I watch the movie before reading the book how much it changes my experience good or bad. I liked the movie so much I wanted to read the book. The movie was very faithful to the story so I knew what was going to happened so I think that took away some of the emotional punch. It's still a very well-written book about growing up and changing but also in a larger sense of place in the world especially when society had a rigid and inescapable structure. Still highly recommend both the book and movie.more
Wow. Okay I wasn't sure what to think about this one but wow. I think it is the way that everything appears so ordinary and yet there is this other layer that gets to me.more
Absolutely painful reading. This book should have been edited down to a 40-page short story. I never cared about the characters and their actions, despite pages upon pages of being told how they felt each time the light shifted slightly. Finished this book only because it was part of a reading challenge.more
A very sad story, but it is a very good one. The narrative, by Kathy H, takes you through her life and you get to understand quite well what is happening with her life, even if at the very beginning you feel a bit confused.
It is a very emotional book, tugging at your heart strings with every new memory Kathy gives you, and the way she tells it, it's almost as if you're there with her, just watching everything and being a part of it.
So all in all, it is a very good book. A must read!more
I love how Ishiguro can point a nuanced, true moment of the way people really think and feel with just a few sentences. I think he's pretty amazing.

When I recommend this to people I have to tell them yeah, it's science fiction but not like that!more
I was mesmerized and enthralled by the waves of minutiae in the face of the enormous stakes they were all facing. In the week since finishing it I've found my thoughts returning to it again and again. But ultimately I felt let down by the denouement. Things which were built up with such promise weren't followed through with any level of conviction. Very disappointing, although deeply affecting in places.

I'm intrigued to see the film, as I am assuming there must be something which has gone straight over my head, but will become clearer onscreen.more
I found this book to be sort of boring. Some interesting ideas were presented I guess, but none of it created any real emotional or intellectual resonance for me. But it is possible I just didn't "get" it... Either that or I'm dead inside... I'm hoping the former.more
This book was very well written, but it just didn't ring true for me. Every living thing has the will to live, including the housefly it took me fifteen minutes to chase down and mash, but these people didn't seem to have it at all.more
I can't write this review without spoilers...sorry. If you keep reading, you will be spoiled... (like a bad cheese!)


Ok...this book is incredibly creepy and it's really hard to imagine it was written by the same author who wrote The Remains of the Day. Anyhow, taking place in rural England, it's written from the first person female perspective of a woman looking back on her life. At first, we sense something is subtly wrong with the equation because we feel like information is missing and the terms used-donor, carer...seem odd. At the same time, I thought maybe it was just a British thing for awhile.

The premise is that these kids are really clones who are raised to be organ donors. In most of these kinds of facilities in England, the conditions are deplorable but at their particular boarding school, they are raised in a sort of ignorant bliss for most of their childhoods. They are allowed, so to speak, to grow up as normally as one can without a mother or father. Just as the reader learns more in very slow increments, we begin to learn more and more. But it isn't until over halfway through the book that we realize the full extent of it.


It's funny how even though Ishiguro doesn't get into the organ donations and the specifics, this still created quite a visceral reaction in me...just to think of these kids (who are really also clones) growing up to be harvested...it made me so nauseous and faint. There were portions of this book I could only read about 8 pages at once. It just affected me so much. And when I finished it, I actually cried while at the same time reminding myself that it was just fiction.

I will say one of the major flaws of the book is the lack of information. You can explain some of it by the fact that it's written from the perspective of one of the clones but there really is no explanation of what exact time frame this is or how these clone organ harvesting facilities came to be. You could easily think this isn't happening too far in the future and it isn't written like your standard science fiction book at all. At the same time, the few cultural references provided already seem outdated. It's possible that the boarding schools (or rural England in and of itself) is stuck in a sort of time warp. The other thing is that a war is briefly alluded to but it's not fully explained why all of a sudden clone organ harvesting becomes so high in demand that the British government would be turning out so many .

Then, at the end of the book we become aware of debates about whether the clones have souls or not...That makes it feel predictable but, even though the clones are scared, they never try to run away or revolt as is typical for most plots evolving them. They completely accept their fate as clones.


So...all in all it provides some interesting ideas...what if our society does develop in this manner...and cloning becomes widespread and this occurs...I'd have to be against that, myself but mainly because I read this book and feel bad for the main character, who is of course a clone...it's a work of fiction I'll keep telling myself this!
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The entire time I listened to this book, I waited for one and/or some of them to run away, start a new life, get a job in "the office of their dreams",pass as a regular person, rebel, do ANYTHING. Instead, I enjoyed the book less than I could've because none of this ever happens.more
'never let me go' is slow and soft and quiet and utterly heartbreaking. in anyone else's hands, this would have been a tale of extraordinary people railing against their fates, fighting to change the world to a more just place. in other words, it'd be more like a michael bay movie, with plenty of explosions. it's not. instead, we have very ordinary people living what to them is an ordinary life, not even so much as noticing it as a situation in desperate need of change, and that is the tragedy of the tale. what's actually going on unfolds slowly, and when it does, absolutely nothing changes. while the reader might be horrified, it's just an ordinary day to the narrator.

a much quicker read than you usually expect from "high literature" type stuff. highly recommended for a melancholy rainy afternoon.
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 Interesting premise. There's a threatening air that is never fully explained, a sense of an impending doom that faces them all but is hidden behind half truths. Ultimately sad, but still a tale of friendship and lovemore
I wanted to love this book, but I couldn't. While the characters are interesting and more than two-dimensional, the plot twists are a little too basic, and there are some very large flaws in the basic premise that kept me from suspending my disbelief and entering fully into the book's world.more
I found this book more than a little frustrating. This book is short, but a longer read because it takes time to get through. It’s a book of ideas and not actions, the world and story are explored through the people in the book. No dramatic explosions or gripping action scenes, but there’s still a lot going on inside. The characters are ok, the idea is good, and it makes sense that nothing happens, but it’s still unsatisfying. I wasn’t a fan of the delivery; it was very dry (even the sex was boring), but if you can get past that, the writing is decent. There’s emotional programming, and there are cultural implications that are huge in this book, but it’s all treated so mild and unalarming that I can’t quite grok what’s going on.

And just to talk about it I have to get spoilery:


So sometime in the future or past or in an alternate world, we have purpose bred humans. They’re bred and raised to first be caregivers for donors, and then become donors themselves. That’s their whole purpose in life. To donate organs and tissues to ‘real’ people. These kids/people/whatever are kept apart from the population, live their own emotionally encrusted lives and then are sent off to slaughter, and basically have no rights to their lives (which makes me feel like I want to turn this into some pro-life statement: Here! You get to act as someone else’s life support and you have no choice about it! /digress). They give as many times as they can before they “complete” and are totally harvested, and they just accept it. Which makes sense from a cultural perspective... cultural/societal programming happens, but I just have a hard time believing that these people, who are fundamentally human, don’t snap a chip at some point and scream “Enough!” and run off into the night. I mean, yes, emotional/social programming works... to an extent. And these people are never locked away - they drive around and vacation and live like anyone else. There are no fences holding them in, and yet, there they stay, in their little herd.


It’s effing Frustrating.

But I get it. And I don’t. And I agree and I don’t... which is why this book gets stars. I don’t necessarily “like” it, but I can’t give it less, because it makes me think and feel, which is what I love best about spec fiction.more
Kazuo Ishiguro is a very cool writer; this is the third novel I've read by him and I definitely enjoyed it. However, he's definitely gotten into a formula. It's not a bad formula, and it means he has fascinating themes that unite his novels, but I would love to see him use his literary powers to do something different.

Like the other novels I've read by him, Never Let Me Go is about complicity and indoctrination and letting personal opportunities go by as the world takes away larger freedoms. It was definitely creepy and moving, and the political message, while a little over-explicit, was cool. It's also not-so-secret science fiction masquerading as literary fiction, which is always awesome.

Besides the fact that I felt like I'd read it before, the biggest flaw I found in this novel was the fact that the different threads of the plot never quite came together, particularly where the character of Ruth was concerned. She dominates the plotline, but I never felt she was crucial to the themes of the novel, which makes her feel like she's just there to make the story work. Generally the plot felt just a little clunky (a lot of the sci-fi aspects, for instance, didn't quite work for me in terms of plausibility.)

Still, a beautifully written book full of wonderful psychological complexity. Even if Ishiguro keeps writing the same novel, I'll probably read more.more
I started reading this and realized it's a dystopian novel. I'm so sick of dystopian novels! But it's well-written, so I kept on. There's a bit of a mystery, a hook that's not revealed right away. So I'm thinking, "well, it seems like it might be this, but it's not really going to be that, it can't be." And then I read further and it IS! IT IS THAT THING I WAS AFRAID IT WOULD BE. I had a huge mental tantrum. The reader who lives in my brain was face down, thrashing her arms and legs. But I'm still reading it because the writing is good. Good writing always wins out.

Now that I've finished it, I'm glad I read it. There's a lovely, sad, sweet "message" to the story that kind of breaks your heart, but it's true and beautiful, too.more
I was so unimpressed by this one. I really thought I would enjoy it but it turned out to be nothing like I had assumed it would be. Kathy- the narrator- did not sound anything like a thirty-one year old and I found her narration pretty dull. There was no emotion in the writing and the characters were all very underdeveloped. The plot about the donors felt so far in the background that I kept forgetting that's what the book was supposed to be about. The whole story seemed to focus on Tommy and Ruth- two characters who I felt absolutely nothing for. I really just don't see the appeal of this book. Despite it's promising premise, this book failed to deliver and the whole thing was just very forgettable.more
Never Let Me Go is a simple read, but it is not a simple book. It is about, and from the perspective of, children who through the course of the novel grow into young adults. And therein lies its simplicity: Ishiguro treats these characters as they should be treated--their focus is on popularity, sex, pranks, and the like. Yet throughout the novel, there is a feeling that something darker lies beneath the surface. Who, or perhaps what, these characters are is never hidden; there is not a twist which reveals the truth. It settles in slowly from page one and makes complete sense by the end. But by the end, the complexity has set in. These characters who had seemed so normal were exactly that. And the reality of their fate drops like a hammer on the skull of a lab rat.

This is one of those books which seemed good while I was reading it. I felt interested in the characters' stories, but never really felt entirely connected to them. But as I met those last few pages, I noticed my heart began to speed up and my eyes grew teary. Finally, I began to care. Never Let Me Go is a book which may seem inconsequential at first--an easy read with little backbone--but its resonance lasts long after the final page.more
I enjoyed this book, but I agree with every single person who told me that it is best enjoyed without knowing the twist.more
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Reviews

Amazon summary: All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny - to be harvested for body parts, and ultimately die. Like the students of Hailsham, readers are "told but not told" what is going on and should be allowed to discover the secrets of Hailsham and the truth about these children on their own.Offsetting the bizarreness of these revelations is the placid, measured voice of the narrator, Kathy H., a 31-year-old Hailsham alumna who, at the close of the 1990s, is consciously ending one phase of her life and beginning another. She is in a reflective mood, and recounts not only her childhood memories, but her quest in adulthood to find out more about Hailsham and the idealistic women who ran it. Although often poignant, Kathy's matter-of-fact narration blunts the sharper emotional effects you might expect in a novel that deals with illness, self-sacrifice, and the severe restriction of personal freedoms.more
recommended for: people who enjoy novels that delve into ethics, sci-fi fansI read a professional review of this book and heard some things about the book before I read it, and I wish I had read it without knowing anything about it. I still enjoyed it, even though I knew some of the plot ahead of time. I found myself depressed throughout, because the topic is dark and I really felt for Kathy and her friends. The story is narrated by Kathy, and I loved her voice as I think it fit the kind of person she was, but I can see others possibly not enjoying the book because of her style of writing about her life. Sci-fi told as though telling a realistic tale, and very thought provoking. Worth the read!more
This book is written in a gentle, unpretentious manner. The plot is doled out in tantalizing bits and pieces. The pace is relaxed, the feeling a kind of gentle bleakness.

As I came to the end of the book, I felt my first urge, ever, to throw a physical tantrum, a la Tommy. I was reminded of a review of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure," who said that upon finishing the book he hurled it across the room. His anger unsatisfied, he ripped it in two. Still angry, he threw it in the fire. And the next day went out to buy copies of everything Hardy had written. I understand, in reading this book, where he was coming from.

- - - - SPOILER ALERT - - - - - - - - -

Ishiguro has said that the cloning was not, to him, the most interesting aspect of the book. I think that he's managed to produce more than a wrenching reminder of the potential human cost of some applications of technology. It also works as an excellent example of contemporary fiction.

I'm glad I read it, but it has left me feeling harrowed and hollow. I fear that the bleakness of the book will stay with me for some time.more
!! SPOILER ALERT !! Hey, the movie is out already…In this world created by Kazuo Ishiguro, we are challenged with the ethical question of breeding humans for the sake of their organs – “for donations”. Their lives are pre-ordained, and there is only one path ahead of them. They grow up in schools that are similar to orphanages, except there is no one coming to adopt them. They carry the same self-doubt as an orphan – what are their roots, who are they modeled after – their “possible”. They have mixed feelings and semi-thoughts that they don’t say out-loud, as they are not taught or exposed to ideas that suggest they will have a normal life, nor are they told everything explicitly, i.e. their future. These are ‘students’; the official C word is not introduced until very late in the book. They are genetically created to not be able to pro-create, as though pro-creation is what makes a human ‘human’. In the school where the main characters grew up, Hailsham, they are encouraged to create art, to be creative, thereby proving they have a soul and deserve better treatment. They don’t have last names, only a first name and a letter for the last name. This anonymity provided a cushion to their existence in society. This society wants them, needs them, but alternately loathes them or pities them, and ultimately would rather not know they exist. I felt such bigotry in selected passages. The entire book has such a haunting dreaminess. Rather you do or do not immediately comprehend the concept of donation from the beginning, the ‘acceptance’ of the situation is what haunts me the most. The book is written primarily as a monologue from the narrator, Kathy H. It’s flat paced, and it’s not meant to raise your heart rate. To me, this ‘flatness’ projected the acceptance of their lives from Kathy and in extension of all the students. They may have questions, they may get angry, but they don’t run away from their duty, the reason they existed. They may even choose to start their training sooner, thereby ‘completing’ sooner. The lives of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy growing up in Hailsham reveal to us the possibility of this new human category; how would you view them? Mr. Ishiguro treads lightly on the ethics, but ultimately leaves it to us, the reader, to draw our own conclusions.Some Quotes:From Kathy – Describing the feeling of bigotry:“So you’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realize that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you – of how you were brought into this world and why – and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.”From Kathy – On Friendship and Betrayal, and I’ve made this mistake:~~ I’m sorry. ~~“And what made these heart-to-hearts possible – you might even say what made the whole friendship possible during that time – was this understanding we had that anything we told each other during these moments would be treated with careful respect: that we’d honour confidences, and that no matter how much we rowed, we wouldn’t use against each other anything we’d talked about during those sessions. Okay, this had never been spelt out exactly, but it was definitely, as I say, an understanding........ I wasn’t just cross. To me, it was a betrayal.”From Ruth – Bursting out with all her anguish and self-doubt about where they come from:“We all know it. We’re modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps. Convicts, maybe, just so long as they aren’t psychos. That’s what we come from. We all know it, so why don’t we say it?......If you want to look for possibles, if you want to do it properly, then you look in the gutter. You look in rubbish bins. Look down the toilet, that’s where you’ll find where we all came from.” From Madam – “Never Let Me Go” – The song:“When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, ye. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go. That is what I saw….”From Tommy – On Love:“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how I think it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”more
I cannot think of another story that so effectively entwines the best of humanity with the most base inhumanity. I'm docking it a star because of the number of questions it leaves unanswered, but in truth that may be part of the point. A haunting, horrifying, beautiful book.more
One word that comes to mind weirdly enough is this word: Gorgeous! What a gorgeous book. I was sucked in, tried to read it slowly just to enjoy it even more and I succeeded. Check my friend Milan's review. it says it all. Yes I ended up with more questions but I can appreciate that. I love it when I am done with a book and I can't let go. ;)more
It's not like SF writers haven't been thinking about cloning and identity for, oh I don't know, fifty years? This is a beautifully written book, sure, but Ishiguro's total disregard for the literary conversation he's entered makes his writing seem naive.more
(You may consider this review spoilery, if you read all of it. I state something explicitly that is below the surface of the book, at any rate.)

This book is a bit like having a one-sided conversation with the narrator. In consequence, it kinda feels like it rambles a bit -- they digress to talk about something else and then a couple of pages later, wrench it back to the original point. In some ways that makes it feel very natural, like someone talking, but to read it, it gets irritating.

There's a difficult tone to it... Very resigned, unemotional, and somewhat, I don't know, superficial. The narrator skims the surface of the truths revealed. It's natural to do that, in some ways, for a real person, but in a character, it's hard to engage. The characters of Ruth and Tommy were much more vivid for me than Kathy: Ruth and her needing to be in the know, needing to be superior; Tommy and his anger issues and his struggle to be creative. Ruth felt especially real to me: I knew a girl who was very much like her, and I was pretty much the Kathy in our interactions, too.

The way it engages with the issues -- with the idea of clones -- without dragging out all the backstory is interesting, dealt with it in this way. Like it's a fact of life, like what you're reading is all very matter of fact. And you go along with it a little, and then you stop, and you think about it... It actually reminds me of the way Kathy describes being taught about what her life will be: somehow it builds up so you've known it all along, but you never have this big moment of revelation. Unfortunately, that deadens the sharper shocks, I think.

I enjoyed it, and it was very easy to just settle down and read it. It's not racing action or anything, pretty leisurely, and not compelling in the sense that I couldn't put it down. But I wanted to know -- even suspecting what the end would be like, I wanted to get there and see.more
I had previously avoided this book, having heard it referred to as British science fiction. And when I hear "British science fiction," I think of Dr. Who. Then I think about all those childhood snuff film fantasies where Captain Kirk zaps him. (Phasers set to kill, dammit! Inter-dimensional traveling dandies in phone booths are the exception to Federation regulations. What is it about the British, anyway? A phone booth? That's Superman's bag, baby. Superhero envy much? The sun may have never set on the British Empire, but we Yankees have a guy who can fly faster than the speed of light.) But then I found myself alone in a big bookstore in a big city trying to divine what the angelic face on the book's cover was looking askance at (itself manipulated, no doubt, like the fictional clones whose story it was fashioned to sell) and thinking of Kurosawa's definition of art being about the ability to look at humanity in its entirety without flinching.

Mulligan. I flinched.

But Kazuo Ishiguro hasn't. And he doesn't think much of me. Or you. And he's probably correct in that judgment.

Imagine the most genteel, tea-sipping people gathered around fine china in a flowery patterned drawing room somewhere in the English countryside. A shaft of midday sun shines through drawn curtains as they politely discuss the day's happenings. Then imagine Leatherface, Jack the Ripper, Lex Luther, Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson's dad ransacking everything around them, starting at the furthest perimeters of the house, slowly working their way toward our happy people and ultimately cannibalizing them. Then imagine both groups acting as if this is completely normal. Nary a word of protest or questioning, mind you.

That's what this book is like to me.

It was very difficult to read, in the psychological sense of "read." The pathos was too overwhelming. I had to take a break from it, about two-thirds of the way through. I tried to tell myself that it was because I had read the bulk of it as I was hidden away in some claustrophobic hotel room, or that I found the prose tedious at times. In truth, though, it succeeds in shining a light on human nature, and I just couldn’t bear to look.

The story made me uncomfortable, and I hated myself for returning to it after having put it aside. I was irked by the characters, my inner-Kirk screaming, "SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!" The lethargic creepiness made me realize that no, not only was nobody going to do anything, but that neither I, nor you, nor any of us, are all that different from the people who harvest these poor souls for their organs. After all, I'm a fat and happy first-worlder who less and less has a care or thought for all those who are exploited to make my life possible.

We homo sapiens adapt to anything, and hang our hats on the most contorted and worn rationalizations.

I would grind my teeth and ask, "Where is their Marx? Their Malcolm X?" Fuck, I'd have settled for Stalin or Benedict Arnold. But maybe the revolutionary gene had been isolated and bred out of their clone bodies -- a distinct possibility, owing to the imperfect knowledge of the first-person narrator. What's worse is that whereas science may have manipulated them to be docile, we, all of us, have been likewise manipulated by the inertia of history.

As I have written, I grew tired with what I saw as tedious prose, the catalog of details about everyday life cited by the narrator. But then it dawned on me that this cataloging is exactly the sort of thing a dying person would do. Life would take on more urgency. What you and I may take for granted is pregnant with wonder to the condemned. In fact, happy serendipity, this view is supported by a study cited in the November 2009 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin -- researchers have found that those who profess to be in love are more analytical. And what is someone condemned to die other than someone in love with life?

I winced at Ishiguro's condemnation of liberal half-measures in the face of social norms. The narrator and her group of friends are raised in an almost "humane" manner -- educated, encouraged to cultivate personal friendships with one another, encouraged to pursue art. And while they represent the exception, an experiment to demonstrate that clones have souls, they are condemned nonetheless. All the petty jealousies and transcendent friendships that framed their short, beautiful lives, are consumed by larger society. And while there is never a mention of God, the closest they come is looking up a former instructor who is only mildly repulsed by them and who bids them to eat from the Tree of Complete Knowledge.

Repeat after me: I am pathetic. I am powerless.

Kirk, succumbing to the Borg after all.more
haunting story so well done scary with the possibilities that this could be a part of our futuremore
Always wonder when I watch the movie before reading the book how much it changes my experience good or bad. I liked the movie so much I wanted to read the book. The movie was very faithful to the story so I knew what was going to happened so I think that took away some of the emotional punch. It's still a very well-written book about growing up and changing but also in a larger sense of place in the world especially when society had a rigid and inescapable structure. Still highly recommend both the book and movie.more
Wow. Okay I wasn't sure what to think about this one but wow. I think it is the way that everything appears so ordinary and yet there is this other layer that gets to me.more
Absolutely painful reading. This book should have been edited down to a 40-page short story. I never cared about the characters and their actions, despite pages upon pages of being told how they felt each time the light shifted slightly. Finished this book only because it was part of a reading challenge.more
A very sad story, but it is a very good one. The narrative, by Kathy H, takes you through her life and you get to understand quite well what is happening with her life, even if at the very beginning you feel a bit confused.
It is a very emotional book, tugging at your heart strings with every new memory Kathy gives you, and the way she tells it, it's almost as if you're there with her, just watching everything and being a part of it.
So all in all, it is a very good book. A must read!more
I love how Ishiguro can point a nuanced, true moment of the way people really think and feel with just a few sentences. I think he's pretty amazing.

When I recommend this to people I have to tell them yeah, it's science fiction but not like that!more
I was mesmerized and enthralled by the waves of minutiae in the face of the enormous stakes they were all facing. In the week since finishing it I've found my thoughts returning to it again and again. But ultimately I felt let down by the denouement. Things which were built up with such promise weren't followed through with any level of conviction. Very disappointing, although deeply affecting in places.

I'm intrigued to see the film, as I am assuming there must be something which has gone straight over my head, but will become clearer onscreen.more
I found this book to be sort of boring. Some interesting ideas were presented I guess, but none of it created any real emotional or intellectual resonance for me. But it is possible I just didn't "get" it... Either that or I'm dead inside... I'm hoping the former.more
This book was very well written, but it just didn't ring true for me. Every living thing has the will to live, including the housefly it took me fifteen minutes to chase down and mash, but these people didn't seem to have it at all.more
I can't write this review without spoilers...sorry. If you keep reading, you will be spoiled... (like a bad cheese!)


Ok...this book is incredibly creepy and it's really hard to imagine it was written by the same author who wrote The Remains of the Day. Anyhow, taking place in rural England, it's written from the first person female perspective of a woman looking back on her life. At first, we sense something is subtly wrong with the equation because we feel like information is missing and the terms used-donor, carer...seem odd. At the same time, I thought maybe it was just a British thing for awhile.

The premise is that these kids are really clones who are raised to be organ donors. In most of these kinds of facilities in England, the conditions are deplorable but at their particular boarding school, they are raised in a sort of ignorant bliss for most of their childhoods. They are allowed, so to speak, to grow up as normally as one can without a mother or father. Just as the reader learns more in very slow increments, we begin to learn more and more. But it isn't until over halfway through the book that we realize the full extent of it.


It's funny how even though Ishiguro doesn't get into the organ donations and the specifics, this still created quite a visceral reaction in me...just to think of these kids (who are really also clones) growing up to be harvested...it made me so nauseous and faint. There were portions of this book I could only read about 8 pages at once. It just affected me so much. And when I finished it, I actually cried while at the same time reminding myself that it was just fiction.

I will say one of the major flaws of the book is the lack of information. You can explain some of it by the fact that it's written from the perspective of one of the clones but there really is no explanation of what exact time frame this is or how these clone organ harvesting facilities came to be. You could easily think this isn't happening too far in the future and it isn't written like your standard science fiction book at all. At the same time, the few cultural references provided already seem outdated. It's possible that the boarding schools (or rural England in and of itself) is stuck in a sort of time warp. The other thing is that a war is briefly alluded to but it's not fully explained why all of a sudden clone organ harvesting becomes so high in demand that the British government would be turning out so many .

Then, at the end of the book we become aware of debates about whether the clones have souls or not...That makes it feel predictable but, even though the clones are scared, they never try to run away or revolt as is typical for most plots evolving them. They completely accept their fate as clones.


So...all in all it provides some interesting ideas...what if our society does develop in this manner...and cloning becomes widespread and this occurs...I'd have to be against that, myself but mainly because I read this book and feel bad for the main character, who is of course a clone...it's a work of fiction I'll keep telling myself this!
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The entire time I listened to this book, I waited for one and/or some of them to run away, start a new life, get a job in "the office of their dreams",pass as a regular person, rebel, do ANYTHING. Instead, I enjoyed the book less than I could've because none of this ever happens.more
'never let me go' is slow and soft and quiet and utterly heartbreaking. in anyone else's hands, this would have been a tale of extraordinary people railing against their fates, fighting to change the world to a more just place. in other words, it'd be more like a michael bay movie, with plenty of explosions. it's not. instead, we have very ordinary people living what to them is an ordinary life, not even so much as noticing it as a situation in desperate need of change, and that is the tragedy of the tale. what's actually going on unfolds slowly, and when it does, absolutely nothing changes. while the reader might be horrified, it's just an ordinary day to the narrator.

a much quicker read than you usually expect from "high literature" type stuff. highly recommended for a melancholy rainy afternoon.
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 Interesting premise. There's a threatening air that is never fully explained, a sense of an impending doom that faces them all but is hidden behind half truths. Ultimately sad, but still a tale of friendship and lovemore
I wanted to love this book, but I couldn't. While the characters are interesting and more than two-dimensional, the plot twists are a little too basic, and there are some very large flaws in the basic premise that kept me from suspending my disbelief and entering fully into the book's world.more
I found this book more than a little frustrating. This book is short, but a longer read because it takes time to get through. It’s a book of ideas and not actions, the world and story are explored through the people in the book. No dramatic explosions or gripping action scenes, but there’s still a lot going on inside. The characters are ok, the idea is good, and it makes sense that nothing happens, but it’s still unsatisfying. I wasn’t a fan of the delivery; it was very dry (even the sex was boring), but if you can get past that, the writing is decent. There’s emotional programming, and there are cultural implications that are huge in this book, but it’s all treated so mild and unalarming that I can’t quite grok what’s going on.

And just to talk about it I have to get spoilery:


So sometime in the future or past or in an alternate world, we have purpose bred humans. They’re bred and raised to first be caregivers for donors, and then become donors themselves. That’s their whole purpose in life. To donate organs and tissues to ‘real’ people. These kids/people/whatever are kept apart from the population, live their own emotionally encrusted lives and then are sent off to slaughter, and basically have no rights to their lives (which makes me feel like I want to turn this into some pro-life statement: Here! You get to act as someone else’s life support and you have no choice about it! /digress). They give as many times as they can before they “complete” and are totally harvested, and they just accept it. Which makes sense from a cultural perspective... cultural/societal programming happens, but I just have a hard time believing that these people, who are fundamentally human, don’t snap a chip at some point and scream “Enough!” and run off into the night. I mean, yes, emotional/social programming works... to an extent. And these people are never locked away - they drive around and vacation and live like anyone else. There are no fences holding them in, and yet, there they stay, in their little herd.


It’s effing Frustrating.

But I get it. And I don’t. And I agree and I don’t... which is why this book gets stars. I don’t necessarily “like” it, but I can’t give it less, because it makes me think and feel, which is what I love best about spec fiction.more
Kazuo Ishiguro is a very cool writer; this is the third novel I've read by him and I definitely enjoyed it. However, he's definitely gotten into a formula. It's not a bad formula, and it means he has fascinating themes that unite his novels, but I would love to see him use his literary powers to do something different.

Like the other novels I've read by him, Never Let Me Go is about complicity and indoctrination and letting personal opportunities go by as the world takes away larger freedoms. It was definitely creepy and moving, and the political message, while a little over-explicit, was cool. It's also not-so-secret science fiction masquerading as literary fiction, which is always awesome.

Besides the fact that I felt like I'd read it before, the biggest flaw I found in this novel was the fact that the different threads of the plot never quite came together, particularly where the character of Ruth was concerned. She dominates the plotline, but I never felt she was crucial to the themes of the novel, which makes her feel like she's just there to make the story work. Generally the plot felt just a little clunky (a lot of the sci-fi aspects, for instance, didn't quite work for me in terms of plausibility.)

Still, a beautifully written book full of wonderful psychological complexity. Even if Ishiguro keeps writing the same novel, I'll probably read more.more
I started reading this and realized it's a dystopian novel. I'm so sick of dystopian novels! But it's well-written, so I kept on. There's a bit of a mystery, a hook that's not revealed right away. So I'm thinking, "well, it seems like it might be this, but it's not really going to be that, it can't be." And then I read further and it IS! IT IS THAT THING I WAS AFRAID IT WOULD BE. I had a huge mental tantrum. The reader who lives in my brain was face down, thrashing her arms and legs. But I'm still reading it because the writing is good. Good writing always wins out.

Now that I've finished it, I'm glad I read it. There's a lovely, sad, sweet "message" to the story that kind of breaks your heart, but it's true and beautiful, too.more
I was so unimpressed by this one. I really thought I would enjoy it but it turned out to be nothing like I had assumed it would be. Kathy- the narrator- did not sound anything like a thirty-one year old and I found her narration pretty dull. There was no emotion in the writing and the characters were all very underdeveloped. The plot about the donors felt so far in the background that I kept forgetting that's what the book was supposed to be about. The whole story seemed to focus on Tommy and Ruth- two characters who I felt absolutely nothing for. I really just don't see the appeal of this book. Despite it's promising premise, this book failed to deliver and the whole thing was just very forgettable.more
Never Let Me Go is a simple read, but it is not a simple book. It is about, and from the perspective of, children who through the course of the novel grow into young adults. And therein lies its simplicity: Ishiguro treats these characters as they should be treated--their focus is on popularity, sex, pranks, and the like. Yet throughout the novel, there is a feeling that something darker lies beneath the surface. Who, or perhaps what, these characters are is never hidden; there is not a twist which reveals the truth. It settles in slowly from page one and makes complete sense by the end. But by the end, the complexity has set in. These characters who had seemed so normal were exactly that. And the reality of their fate drops like a hammer on the skull of a lab rat.

This is one of those books which seemed good while I was reading it. I felt interested in the characters' stories, but never really felt entirely connected to them. But as I met those last few pages, I noticed my heart began to speed up and my eyes grew teary. Finally, I began to care. Never Let Me Go is a book which may seem inconsequential at first--an easy read with little backbone--but its resonance lasts long after the final page.more
I enjoyed this book, but I agree with every single person who told me that it is best enjoyed without knowing the twist.more
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