'Never Let Me Go', a quiet unassuming story, tackles issues of ethics and morality in a way that leaches into your brain and gently gnaws away. I read it recently for a book club where opinions were greatly divided, some thinking it could have been written on the back of a stamp, others fascinated by the world it portrayed. I fell into the fascinated camp, caught up in how this turn of events could become a normal part of life, accepted and unchallenged by the population at large. There are no big bangs or fast paced action but several weeks after reading it I'm still mulling it over in my mind and the questions it raises over what it means to be human.
develops with a slow drip feed of revelations, the ground gently
prepared for shocking facts so that they become absorbed into
normality. This is the way it is. This is how it will always be.
Everything is fine. It is a world of acceptance, of making the best of
what you have, not railing against what you haven't. Simple things are
unbearably precious and possessions are few. There is tenderness, love and
carefully reined in hope, but little questioning or rebellion as the
characters grow up and discover their place in the world.
The world of 'Never Let Me Go'
appears bare of the communication technology so prevalent today. The
world Ishiguro portrays is ours, but ours which has taken a slightly
different course. It follows the advancement of different technology,
where the science of Dolly the sheep is exploited to the nth degree,
rather than limited to acres of beefburger meat in a lab. As I read the
book, I wondered if the acceptance of their destiny would have been so
complete if communication technology had infiltrated this world. Would
it have provided a rallying point or pricked the consciousness of
mankind? Or would it have been the same - atrocities occur, are normalised and ignored. People accept their lot and carry on as best they can, focussing on what is immediately important.
story is an ancient one that has tracked throughout our history. That
of segregation and the perceived right of some to treat others as lesser
beings, as commodities. The fact that the humanity of the Hailsham
students is doubted by 'normal' people is chilling. Who are the more
humane? Those who do their 'duty' with dignity, or those that look in
revulsion at their very means of survival and deny them a soul?
after finishing the book did the true horror hit home. The placid
narration of the memoir lulls you into a false acceptance, and the holes
in Kathy's knowledge allow things to go unchallenged by the reader. It
is only after having read it that my brain started filling in the gaps and started worrying at what had been left unsaid, raising far more questions than it answered. To paraphrase
Albert Einstein, it became appallingly obvious that technology had exceeded humanity.
Tell me what you thought of the book. I'd be really interested to know.
'Never Let Me Go' was the fifth release for 'Books in the Wild'.