Monday, October 30, 2006

Number Fifteen

#15, Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
After reading some strong reviews last fall, finding it on the NYT Notable list, and following its progress in The Morning NewsTournament of Books, I bumped Never Let Me Go up my list. This is one of the novels I’ve read this year that will stick with me for a long time. I’m not going to even attempt a plot synopsis; rather I will note a few things that I really dug.

Ishiguro has an amazing controlled style that made me feel very uncomfortable, but it was a page-turning uncomfortable. At any given moment, the reader only knows as much as necessary, but is left questioning all that goes unsaid.

Ishiguro’s characters are so well-drawn. The novel explores an intense relationship between three characters, beginning with their time as children at boarding school until their deaths, which often reminded me of the way Margaret Atwood depicts friendships with rifts and shifts.

The backdrop of the novel involves cloning and organ harvest, which smacks right up against the science and ethics topics I love to think about, and it’s utterly eerie. I know Ishiguro is on record as saying the novel isn’t about cloning, but his treatment of breaking science is timely and forces the reader to think about what is biomedically possible.

Highly recommended if you like your fiction creepy, contained, or post-apocalyptic. (Checked out from the library)

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