Never Let Me Go

This is the second Kazuo Ishiguro novel I've read this year, and like The Buried Giant a few months ago, Never Let Me Go left me feeling weirdly uncomfortable, disturbed, irritated and intrigued. I bought Never Let Me Go from Brotherhood Books not long after reading The Buried Giant, because I wanted to explore further my ambivalence about Ishiguro's writing.

But I don't know that I've actually clarified anything! There is something about the way Ishiguro tells a story, something so oblique and elliptical, that gives me the screaming irrits. 'That incident reminded me of the time, about three years ago, when we talked by the duck pond. But to explain why that conversation upset me so much, I have to go back to the encounter between Lucy and me, that day when it rained and we were all in the pavilion...'* Aargh! Just tell the story, already!

 And yet... I was completely hooked, drawn back to the book at inconvenient moments, to devour just a few more pages while I stirred the bolognese. I suppose everyone but me has, if not read the book, seen the movie, so you probably know the premise of the story -- and it's a great premise, even though very little happens in the way of actual plot. The plot is the slow reveal: who are these kids? Why are they special? And then, when the horror of their situation becomes clear: will they escape their fate?

Come on, it's an Ishiguro novel. Of course they won't escape their fate. They won't even resist very hard. I wonder if the film replicates the characters' meek submission? I wouldn't be surprised if they re-wrote the ending. I'll have to run and find out now... But there is something so haunting, so eerie and sad about this novel, that despite the frustrations, I'm glad I read it.
*not an actual quote

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