Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru Review

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, ISBN 9780571224135, 282pp

Never Let Me Go was my first read by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve had a few of his books sitting on my shelf for a long time, waiting to be read. He has always been an author who I wanted to try. So, I finally picked up this book and gave it a read.

I’ve been thinking about what to say about Never Let Me Go for a while. Is it the acclaimed literary masterpiece many people call it, or is it a book that’s overrated? I’m still not entirely sure what I think about it.

Never Let Me Go tells a simple story about a group of students living in an alternative England. It’s narrated by Kath, who is looking back on her time growing up in the idyllic Hailsham School. It’s a kind of boarding school where students are encouraged to create artwork and live healthy lifestyles. They are watched over by teachers or ‘guardians.’ Kath develops a close friendship with two students names Ruth and Tommy and a kind of love triangle ensues. Slowly, but surely, the reader learns the true nature of Hailsham School and its students. As do the characters once they finally leave school and enter the real world. But how will they respond to their fate and is there a way out?

I can’t say much more because I don’t want to spoil this book for those who haven’t read it. I found Never Let Me Go to be a slow burn literary novel. I kind of guessed what was happening, but it took a long time to get there. Once the plot reveals its twist, you then see the characters’ reactions, or lack of reaction. The writing is deceivingly simple, as is the plot, but I get the feeling that a lot of thought and effort went into each and every word.

Never Let Me Go is a good book for a book club and for discussing with a friend so you can puzzle over what it’s all about. I’m glad I read this book, but I’m not sure I would ever reread it. It didn’t make me feel a lot – but it did make me think a lot. I’m keen to read more books by Kazuo Ishiguro someday. Is there another book of his that you recommend?

Verdict: Read this if you want a literary novel that makes you think.

6 thoughts on “Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru Review

  1. Karen J Schoff April 20, 2020 / 7:23 pm

    Hi Jane, I’ve read Never Let Me Go and it definitely makes you think. The Remains of the Day is quite good – it was made into a movie with Emma Thompson. A Pale View of Hills was a bit strange but I enjoyed The Buried Giant. My favourite though would be The Remains of the Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DragonSusie April 20, 2020 / 11:01 pm

    Hailsham is actually a real place close to Eastbourne and Hastings on the South-East coast of England. Having grown up not too far from there, it makes me curious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads April 28, 2020 / 10:06 am

      Oh wow, I didn’t know that!


  3. Mel April 26, 2020 / 2:09 am

    I felt the same kind of ambivalence about it afterwards…it was well-written and thoughtful, but I didn’t like the premise to begin with and there was a sense of resignation through the whole book that just made me feel sad while reading it. Based on this I don’t have plans to read Remains of the Day or his other works, but maybe some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads April 28, 2020 / 10:05 am

      You’ve summed up what I thought beautifully. It really didn’t seem to go anywhere and the characters were just resigned to their fate. You’re right about it being sad.

      Liked by 1 person

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