Book 13: Never Let Me Go

Book 13 has been moved to my reread list. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru will be a look which will remain with me and will be reread and, perhaps, reread again.

  • The Remains of the Days by the same author has been on my Top 10 Novels list since I first read it. I read The Buried Giant by Ishiguru in January.That was a fantasy whereas Never Let Me Go is science fiction. However,it is science fiction not in the sense of space travel and new technology , but science fiction in the social and medical sense.
  • In the society covered by this novel, humans are cloned and the resulting children are born for the purpose of donating body parts when they are older. These children grow up in institutions away from the rest of the population, and although not told everything about their future, they do know basically what their purpose is.
  • In this setting we meet three children, one of which is the narrator, and follow their childhood, adolescence and short adulthood. It is a love story, a tale of the loss of innocence, and a look at how society can change as science develops.
  • A wonderful book which will remain with me for a long time.
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4 thoughts on “Book 13: Never Let Me Go

  1. I am SO GLAD you read it! I am currently re-reading it for the fourth time and am almost done. I get more out of it and notice new subtleties each time through. I use it in one of my college English classes, and many students love it–even those who are usually non-readers! It raises such fascinating questions and controversial ethics. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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      1. I was so fascinated by that question that I wrote my master’s thesis on it. Actually, on these characters and how Stevens also blindly followed his boss in Remains of the Day. In my thesis, I argued that we all have an inherent desire to fit in, and as a result, we obey authority even when we know there may be ethical issues. Are you familiar with the Stanley Milgram experiment? (http://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html) It’s a bit like that, in my mind.
        However, I also read an interesting explanation that compared Never Let Me Go to other current dystopian fiction in which the protagonists rebel against the current authority (The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). That person argued that the clones’ lack of rebellion is evidence that they are not fully human. What do you think?

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  2. I am familiar with the Stanley Milgram experiment and was not surprised by the results. We seem, as humans, to have a built-in response to authority, especially if we recognize the authority figure as strong, and an expert in his area. Children, I believe want structure and an authority figure such as a parent or teacher to tell them what to do. The problem with children and youth today, I believe, is being given too many choices instead of being told what to do in many cases. We gradually have to learn to be independent and make our own choices. But as a child, too much freedom can be overwhelming. Yet even as adults we still want authority figures so we do not always have to make decisions ourselves. We look to accountants, doctors, politicians, Craig’s List and even a toss of a coin to tell us what to do. When we are in times of upheaval such as a war, decisions can be frightening so doing what an authority figure tells us to do is easy.
    I believe the clones were fully human. I don ‘ t think that can be used to explain their acceptance of their fate. Sometimes we can be indoctrinated to believe things without ever questioning. Until I was 11 years old I believed that Anglicanism was the only proper form of religion. Nobody had ever told me that but it was somehow ingrained in me. Most westerners believe democracy to be the best form of government but how many of us have ever really contemplated any other form. We believe things because they are somehow instilled in us. Maybe that’ s how it was with the clones.
    I enjoy dystopia fiction and science fiction which deals more with social and ethical issues such as in this book
    It sounds as if your master’s thesis was quite interesting. I contemplated doing a masters in English Lit after I retired but since my first degree was in math I would have had to have done a lot of undergrad English courses first. I compensated by reading extensively in all genres, all time periods.

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