“A good book is never exhausted. It goes on whispering to you from the wall.” – Anatole Broyard
That quote is on a bookmark I just got with the purchase of a book at the lovely Elliott Bay Book Co. I include it here because of how well it describes Kazuo Ishiguro’s remarkable novel, Never Let Me Go
There are simply some books that haunt me long after I put them down, the feelings and the characters take root deep inside and refuse to be finished with me when I’ve read the last page. This is the epitome of one of those books. I find myself, at random points in my day, feeling again the tragedy and profundity of this bizarre and ordinary story.
It was a book I purchased as a result of my attempt to find the best books of the last decade, which I describe in more detail here. It’s been on my ‘to read’ shelf for a while, but then my friend Kj saw the new movie adaptation and recommended via twitter that everyone go see it. Thus, wanting to read the book first, I pulled it off the shelf. It was the best decision I’ve made in some time, thanks to Kj for the assist.
The story is narrated by Kathy H., who refers to her occupation as a ‘carer,’ and relates to the reader the story of growing up at a secluded boarding school, Hailsham, in Great Britain. The novel follows the coming of age of Kathy H., and the two people closest to her, Tommy and Ruth.
Ishiguro takes a science fiction premise and makes it painfully commonplace, if you absolutely detest sci-fi, you’ll still love this book. I don’t want to spoil what the premise is, although you’ll probably figure out what’s going on pretty early on in the novel. It’s not some sort of twist that enjoyment of the novel hinges on or something, I just don’t want to ruin anyone’s ability to go in fresh.
You really should read this book. It ripped my heart out, but quietly, without melodrama or fanfare.
This was my first encounter with Ishiguro, I assure you it will not be the last.