Thursday, March 02, 2006

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

The reason I picked up this book was not quite clear to me; it was by the guy who wrote the book for a film I like(Remains of the Day; I always thought Anthony Hopkins was quite great in that. And the role suited Emma Thompson- Sense and Sensibility messed up her image, I think), and the cover was attaractive. And its been one of the more thought provoking works I have read recently.

It starts off as a boarding school-like story. You always know there is Something different about the heroine,Kathy, and her friends, but it is never directly alluded to. Their lives are what you would imagine any boarders' to be, except for teeny tiny differences here and there. You know from the start that they are cloned human beings, created to donate organs for the 'normal' population. But the entire narrative is filled with such subtle emotions, such brilliant storytelling, that you can relate to them a lot. All the characters are delightful shades of grey, no good, no evil, just like the rest of us. As the book develops, you are shown how deep human prejudices run. How, in a world obsessed with scientific innovation, how little we think about the outcomes of our action- I mean, all this debate about cloning and stem cell research; and this is the first account I have read which considers what happens After. The confrontation of the protagonist with her former teacher is escpecially poignant. Of course, it is not a scientific book; it is all fiction. But the matter of fact way that he states how things are, really makes you sit up and think.

I found it to be an excellent book, not because of the story telling- which is good, but I've read better- but because, as I mentioned, it makes you sit up and think. It made me say to myself that yeah, I'd probably act against the heroines interests, too. I'd say that is as good a reason to go read this book as any: the fact that it'll take you out of your small lil world for just a teeny moment.

On Lists

On the subject of books, it is my new found goal to go through the 100-best list. Of course, the question is, which list to follow. As my friend pointed out, the Modern Library versions-both of them- seem very skewed and "cultist", to quote my friend. I think I'll stick to the Guardian's fiction list...came out a while back, but seems more comprehensive....
While on that, check out a good piece on endings.

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