Never Let Me Go is a 2005 sci-fi drama novel written by Nobel prize in Literature winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of The Day, The Unconsoled, The Artist of The Floating World), shortlisted for the man booker prize, even though it didn’t win, it received more acclaim than the one which won, The Sea by John Banville, Never Let Me Go has featured in top 100 novels since 1925 by TIME and rated no.34 on BBC Top 100 British novels of all time according to 228 critics outside UK.
Never Let Me Go is a novel narrated by Kathy H. which describes her life at the Hailsham School along with her friends, Tommy and Ruth, and their struggle to confront their fate which awaits them in the wider world.
To read and be enamoured of this novel is to know nothing about it, and have no expectations which you might create for a regular run of the mill science fiction novel because, Never Let Me Go is a lot more complex and twisted than any novel I have come across.
The novel grapples and portrays a very difficult and dark subject, one that is dreadful to imagine, yet skimming the illusory surface off, one can realise easily that the novel is a portrait of ourselves, and even though being set in a futuristic, dystopian, and gothic England, it is easily discernible that Kazuo Ishiguro is set out to portray a darker image of the world we live in.
Never Let Me Go is like a painting which seems deceptively ordinary when it flashes to the eye on the first glance, but if one stands and contemplates the mysteries of this painting, it turns out to convey something entirely different from what one expects or visualises.
The characters regardless of their space in the novel, seem extraordinarily realistic, authentic and unforgettable, many come and go but each leaves a lingering shadow behind shrouded in a ghostly pretence.
The setting is England, and fortunately the novel is devoid of the usual sci-fi cliches and dystopian world building which just emerges from the individualistic perceptive view of the character, Kathy H. itself, further adding to the subliminal aspect of the novel.
The novel is exceptionally and masterfully multilayered, almost surprisingly more than meets the eye, it deals with the humane themes of mortality, loss of innocence, love, memories, friendship, exploitation, heartache, consciousness of death, and the brilliant depiction of the plight of ‘Other’ and the ‘Outsider’.
Never Let Me Go brilliantly portrays the psychological and physiological turmoil of the outsider and the other of the society i.e. the ones who are different from us and the conventional behavioural standards whilst keeping in touch with the emotions of people who lose something which they yearn for in their daily lives.
Never Let Me Go asks a fundamental question: What if your dreams, memories,intention, actions, are leading you to something which is purely predestined for you and is inevitable, no matter what you do in your consciousness?
Kazuo Ishiguro creates a masterfully poetic political allegory that is a homage to and a reflection of the true plight of the outsiders, the others, the outcasts, the slaughtered, the butchered, the demonised, the discriminated, the tortured, the exploited, the broken, and the consumed beings- animals, humans, and the environment.
Never Let Me Go is a very sad book, it is extremely heart breaking, with a perfect prose by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Kazuo Ishiguro is a sheer genius, Never Let Me Go is highly evocative and masterfully poetic, it will you leave you shivering in despair and pain. A meditative experience on human emotions which reveals the soul of humanity with its borrowed time. In my view, this is the best work Kazuo Ishiguro has ever done.
A slowly suffocating novel which will forever imprint in your mind the journey of Kathy H., Tommy, and Ruth.
“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”
– Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro