Monday, February 7, 2011

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

It has been years since I first read this book. And I have kept coming back to it again, and again, and again. The story of three people walking a road which has been set for them by the world around them. This, however, is not a book of rebellion. It is one of acceptance. Narrated by Kathy H, the reader follows the lives of Kathy, Ruth and Tommy from their childhood days at Hailsham, a boarding school where all the students are 'special', and all of them have a fixed purpose in life. It is only slowly that Ishiguro reveals the nature of the world around them, their predestined fate and how each of them cope with it. From Hailsham we see them growing up as the author paints a beautiful portrait of their lives, so familiar yet so different. Once adults, life takes them separate ways, but the three friends remain tied together. Ruth, the donor slowly falling apart, giving up on life, the contrasts in her character getting highlighted all the time. Tommy, the donor who braves life in his own way, his rage subsiding as he slowly comes to terms with what is to be. And Kathy, the carer who walks with us in this story, her quiet and serenity somehow smoothing out even the harshest of edges by a bit.
Ishiguro continues in his tradition of writing books which have no clear climax, or shall we say, closure. The melancholia that is in the pages seeps into the reader. But he never uses that melancholia as the driving force. The vitality that is there in the book is also very real, very tangible.
In an interview the author had mentioned the difference between the book and the movie as modes of expression. The book, he claimed, need not give the reader much to go upon. He most certainly does not. He gives the bare necessities, and the rest is for the imagination of the reader to fill in. Let us just say that in this book, however might your brushstrokes be on his canvas, what remains at the end of the book is bound to be beautiful.


CheshireCat said...

I just finished reading this book. As always, Ishiguro is subtly, breathtakingly beautiful. I especially love how this one, like a lot of his others, flows through memory, like water.

reetam said...

yes, she effortlessly rambles through the landscape of the years without either sounding straitjacketed or straying too far from what is important.
and the edginess, the rush in some parts of unconsoled and when we were orphans is also absent. this is a quiet book, much like remains of the day.


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