Friday, 26 September 2014

Never Let Me Go

Having heard this book mentioned and recommended again and again, I had been curious about it for a long time before finally getting my hands on a copy at a bookstall at my local village fair. I had some pretty high expectations for this book, and was looking forward to a thrilling and fascinating read.

Never Let Me Go


Kazuo Ishiguro


Contemporary, dystopian

One-sentence summary:

31-year-old Kathy H. reminisces about her life in an idyllic English boarding school with her childhood friends, all the while conscious of the school's more sinister undertones and what awaits them in the wider world.


As I mentioned in the introduction to this review, I had really expected to love this book, and I'd heard positive things about the film too. So I was sorry to find that I didn't actually love it. In fact, I struggled to find much special about it at all that would merit it to be singled out above other books of the genre.

Though the idea behind the story was really interesting, the writing style just really let this book down for me. I felt like it was excessively wordy and even a little clunky at times, especially when the narrator was introducing particular reminiscence. The language just felt too repetitive and explain-y for my tastes. I imagine someone who is less selective about writing style than me wouldn't be bothered by it, but I am especially picky and like the writing in my books to really add something to the story and teach me something new about writing.

I did find the character relationships pretty realistic and interesting, especially when they were all at school. Ruth rang particularly true for me, and the subtleties of Kathy's up-and-down friendship with her definitely resonated with my own experience. I thought the relationships between characters carried some interesting insights, but a lot of things, especially when the narrator was describing her adult life, seemed a bit basic and underdeveloped to me.

Final thoughts:

Basically, I didn't hate this book. I even enjoyed a lot of it. But I think what ruined it for me was the expectation of something really spectacular, which it just didn't deliver. I guess that's probably not the book's fault, but as a more general criticism, I thought there was nothing particularly special about this book beyond the intrigue of the initial idea.

What did you think of Never Let Me Go? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments.

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