Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

​Note: this review contains spoilers.

Halfway through, before finishing Never Let Me Go, I knew I won’t be able to start reading another book right after because I sure would be bothered—dysfunctional, even—by every bit of it.

There was only one word I’d been whispering to myself throughout my read, though, it was “melancholic”—if not at all tragic. That was me being so emotional as ever as a reader. I could go on about the technicals of the book and Ishiguro’s writing technique: conversational that makes the readers feel like they are “students” themselves. So as not to be “surprised” and bewildered when things and reasons—we all knew were being subtly revealed with clues one by one as the story wore on—have unclouded officially. How he used stream of consciousness as a device to appropriately deal with the former matter. It is something that comes close to telling a story which gives off a certain intimacy between the protagonist and its reader. It really worked out well for me.
But I don’t think that’s the whole point. The beauty and importance I found in this book is that not only can it tug at readers’ hearts, but is also a retelling (if not in the most honest and literal way) of truths about our world and how we move forward as a person included in a society, but some times we feel as though we really aren’t exactly.

(Side note: this whole donation thing kind of reminded me of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal.)

Kathy, Ruth, Tommy and the rest of the “students”, I can’t help but think how unfortunate their fates were. First they live to learn and at least get a glimpse of how it really is to feel like a real human (and to test whether or not they had souls) by their guardians’ teaching of them to appreciate art—all of these weren’t told until the anagnorisis of the book. Thereafter they’d been given just enough time before training and becoming carers to explore and understand the world outside Hailsham and sort things out for themselves, which includes discovering and rediscovering things they haven’t yet known and knew all their lives without completely considering it. And finally settling in to mainly why they were made for: to donate, and “complete” by the end of their time. However I think their fates unfortunate according to my own measure stick, it was all redeemed by their bound to fulfilling the purpose of their existence.

I find this utterly melancholic as they knew all along how and what their lives should be, like it’s written in the books that can never be altered. But at the same time, I can’t help but ponder how much truth that weighs in on this story across the real situations in our lives. That we sometimes question ourselves against the gush of wind, but given no choice better than to accept and take contentment in the way the tide of fate for us is supposed to be. That love may be infinite, like how we drink in the sea view as though the waters can go on forever unbounded by mountains, but—at the very same recognition—we knew it must come to an end.

Never Let Me Go, in a fascinating manner, is so disturbing of a book that will haunt me for quite some time.


Author: Danica Aquino

Tied the knot with performing arts since fourth grade; is an amateur writer (currently on her quest to writing her first novel); book and animal lover; always entranced by nature.

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