Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

April 2007

As happy-go-lucky as an Ian McEwan novel—which is to say, not very.

This is the first Kazuo Ishiguro novel I’ve ever read, and I was attracted to it naturally because of its dystopian English future theme. The “big secret” in the book really isn’t a secret, but I still won’t give it away here, just in case.

I liked the book very much—another page turner, kept me up late at night, superbly written, very tense. My only qualm would be with the apparent passivity with which the protagonists accept their fate. I had the same issue with The Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson, yet another (not nearly as good) dystopian future England book. It’s never made clear here what would happen to the protagonists if they didn’t accept their fate, so I found myself wondering why they didn’t just run away or rebel or something. Maybe I missed the point.

The book touches rather lightly on very weighty issues indeed, like…well, what it means to be human and what a human life is worth. It’s good, and I’d certainly recommend it, but it’s a bit of a downer. You’ve been warned.

Further reading…