Tuesday, June 14, 2011

book reviews #20

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

This was a book group choice, chosen by Sarah for the simple reason that it was her birthday!

I guess Kazuo Ishiguro is more well known as the author of "Remains of the Day", which I haven't read & I'm not sure I want to read, as although this was a good book with an unsettling premise I'm not sure I want or need to read another by the same author, because I feel that if this hadn't been a bookgroup book I could have easily given up on it at almost any point.

If you plan to read the book then read no further, otherwise, if you're not concerned about spoilers, read on.

The story is told by Kathy, a "carer", as she goes about her work of caring for specific, sick people and reminisces about her past. She's in her early 20's and talks about Hailsham that she attended, which sounds like a boarding school. As the story unfolds though, it becomes apparent that Hailsham wasn't just a school but more like a very eco friendly farm, where the children are kept under ideal conditions until fully grown and able to fulfill the requirement for which they were bred ( that's right, they're clones) - organ donation. This goal has never been kept a secret from the children and it is their mute acceptancce of this that turned my stomach. The idea is that first the young adults, after leaving their 'school', become carers for other clones who've started donating and are recovering in clinics. Most donors achieve at least two some as many as four donations before 'completing' (a rather disgusting way of saying that they've died) but I found this hard to swallow, OK, so someone can live with one kidney but what else can a body donate without having their life compromised to such an extent that they're completely tied to a hospital bed (& these people weren't, so they weren't in the prime of health either but they were certainly capable of jaunting around the countryside, no mention of catheter bags or oxygen tanks). Why didn't they just run away? They had been brought up to be free thinking and questioning so why were they so acceptant of their fate? They are portrayed as little more than laboratory animals in their dumb acceptance of what lay ahead for them, but then maybe that's the whole point of the story...

I'm glad I've read it, and even more pleased that it's finished and I can go on to read something truly frivolous and frothy, but would I go onto to read another book by the same author? I really dont know!

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