As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.
And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed – even comforted – by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
This book has a dreamlike quality to it. I have subsequently heard is typical of Ishiguro’s work and I’m intrigued to read his other books. In “Never Let Me Go”, we learn about Kathy’s day-to-day life growing up at Hailsham. The entire time we read about Hailsham, there is this surreal quality to it; I kept wondering when the wool would be torn from the narrator’s eyes.
The summary sounds like a standard coming of age book, but “Never Let Me Go” is so much more. I will explore my thoughts more in my Reading Challenge discussion, but I think another goodreads reviewer says it best: “Plato believed those 'in the know' should tell lies to those 'who do not know' so as to protect them from the all too horrible truths about life. I have always hated this aspect of Plato, always finding it grotesque and frightening in its implications. Those implications are drawn out in all their disturbing horror here.”
Rating: 5 stars!
Who should read it? Highly recommended for dystopian fans looking for something that has a little more to chew on. This will be a book that will really have you thinking.