Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a novel that is guaranteed to come up in a book discussion. There is a common consensus that it is better if you don’t listen to discussions / read any spoilers before you actually read it…I think so too.
The book is narrated by Kathy, who is the main character. Kathy grew up in Hailsham, England, in a special school along with her close friends Ruth and Tommy. At Hailsham, students are encouraged to take extra care of their health and strive to be highly creative. Leaving the school to do their duty, the students continue to carry Hailsham with them, and it shapes their future when they meet again.
I won’t go into detail on why the students are so special or what their “duty” is but suffice it to say that this book is by far the creepiest, most depressing thing I have read since the Handmaid’s Tale.
This is a highly unusual book, it’s very raw. Humanity is exposed for what it truly is; the good and the bad are likewise shown here, completely bare, for the world to see . It’s great for book clubs, because as you discuss it, you gain deeper insight into the messages hidden in it. And you gain perspective, you need perspective to understand all this novel has to say.
Even though it’s a really short book, it’s an exhausting read. It keeps you thinking about big questions, existential stuff, and it’s draining.
Never Let Me Go is on almost every 20’s reading list I have ever seen. It does make sense if you think of the level of mental and emotional maturity required of the reader of this book. But honestly, this isn’t something you shove at someone going through a quarter-life-crisis. Too much misery…way too much!
And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go