I’ve been mulling all things Savidge Reads and blog orientated of late and in doing so, though I haven’t quite finished, have decided that over the forthcoming months much more whim reading and pulling from the shelves and out of the boxes of my mighty TBR is going to be going on. I will still be doing reviews of the latest releases but after my small strop-of-sorts I want to go back to the days when I read what I wanted because I fancied it. ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro was a book that I decided three weeks ago I really fancied reading despite the fact I have struggled with Ishiguro before and the fact that Granny Savidge simply said ‘well… many people loved it, I wasn’t one’ which actually made me giggle.
I happily admit that before I started ‘Never Let Me Go’ I had absolutely no idea what the plot would be. I have recently given up reading blurbs of books I am imminently due to read (it actually makes the experience all the better – I do of course read them in order to decide I want to read the book in the first place but invariably the book ends up lost somewhere in the TBR pile for a month or twenty four and so I forget). Therefore the story that unfolded before me was one that I could never have guessed and one that had I known too much of what was to come would possibly have ruined the experience so I am going to try and make you read this book without saying too much and being a bit vague, for this is a book that if you haven’t read then you simply must.
Kathy H introduces herself to the reader as a thirty one year old carer and who has been doing this for eleven years as ‘Never Let Me Go’ opens. In fact it is Kathy B’s narration and voice that are part of what makes the book such a success as we learn how she got from her childhood in the grandeur of Hailsham School to where she is now. As we go through this ‘coming of age’ tale with a rather large twist, in fact it’s the twist that made a genre I don’t like (coming of age tales) such a readable book, Kathy H drops little hints to the reader that she and the other children at this school, such as her two closest friends Tommy and Ruth for it is their three stories ad the triangle they create, are quite different from the likes of you and me and ‘where you come from’.
If I gave anything away I would be so cross with myself because knowing nothing about this book is probably the best way to let the emotional impact hit you as it unfolds. I will say that Ishiguro creates such a realistic story and scenario that rather than thinking ‘Never Let Me Go’ is set in an ‘alternative England’ in the 1990’s I could very well believe that all that happens in the novel could have really happened and still be happening and you would never know. You might find yourself looking at people you pass in the street a little bit differently. I know I did after finishing the book and to me that shows how real and engrossing a modern masterpiece Ishiguro has created.
He manages to write lyrical prose and what you would deem a ‘literary’ novel whilst merging in the speculative and also managing to leave every chapter on a cliff hanger so that you simply have to read on. You will get gripped so maybe try and read this on a very free weekend. Ishiguro also manages to put us inside the heads of all of the three main characters and gives us insight into Ruth and Tommy’s motives only using Kathy’s observations and to me that was a further sign of what a brilliant novel this is. I don’t think I can recommend or rave about it enough. 10/10 (And for a coming of age story to get that from me is quite something. Read it and if you have done so already… read it again, I know I will one day!)
I mentioned I had struggled with Ishiguro before. It was actually for a book group choice back in the days before blogging and we read ‘An Artist of the Floating World’ I am wondering if the timing was all wrong and I should maybe go back to it sometime as after reading ‘Never Let Me Go’ I can’t understand how I wasn’t bowled over by him before. I shan’t head for that next though, I am already slyly eyeing up ‘A Pale View of Hills’, I could head for his most famous novel ‘Remains of the Day’ but I think I want to read that last. Who else has read ‘Never Let Me Go’ and what did you think? Which other Ishiguro novels have blown you away?