Genre: Dystopian, Adult Fiction

Publication: November 4th 2010 by Faber and Faber (first published 2005)

“When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. 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…. I saw you and it broke my heart. And I’ve never forgotten.”


As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.


Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing voice was straight forward yet hauntingly beautiful. I fell in love with the book even though I don’t really like the characters and that was all because the author’s prose was so heart-wrenching and so nostalgic. And it hit a part of my heart that really digs this kind of prose. Especially since Never Let Me Go made me cry and it even haunts me in my sleep.

Never Let Me Go is the type of book that’s hard to put down. Even though I don’t have any idea what I’m reading about at the beginning, I keep on turning the pages. The story was like a jigsaw puzzle that gradually takes shape as I read. I believe it was the power of Ishiguro’s writing that kept my attention. After all, the story, the air around it, was really disturbing. The characters seems to be normal people yet I can feel that they were different. It was in the way Kathy narrates the story, in the way the students act, in the way they were brought up in Hailsham, in the way the guardians treat them.

It took me up to the second part of the story to figure out what bothers me while reading the book. It’s because the characters felt so… inhuman. That even though they talk about friendship, relationships, sex and love, I feel that something is lacking. Like the way they talk and act feels mechanical. I learned halfway that it was because they were clones. And that they were created to become organ donors to cure sickness.

It was really tragic, that they could not do anything to change their destiny. It was so heart-wrenching, that feeling of helplessness and acceptance of their role in life. So at the end, when Tommy screamed his heart out after they learned about the truth, I really cried.

But as I have said, I don’t really like the characters. Especially Ruth. I hate her until the end. I really didn’t believe in their “deep” friendship because I felt like they kept on betraying one another since they were children until they were already adults. Even that feeling of “love”. I really didn’t feel it. So when “madame” asked Kathy and Tommy at the last few chapters about how they were sure they are in love, it made me nod to myself because I really didn’t feel the love. Anyway, they just lack something. I don’t know if the author really created his characters that way because after all, they were clones and they are not really humans with souls and real emotions. I have no way of knowing. But I was drawn in by the cruelty of the world they were living in and I was able to get what the author was trying to impart to his readers. Most of all, I really cried at the end where I found one of my favorite passages in the whole book, where I finally felt the LOVE:

“I stood there, looking at that strange rubbish, feeling the wind coming across those empty fields, that I started to imagine just a little fantasy thing, because this was Norfolk after all, and it was only a couple of weeks since I’d lost him. I was thinking about the rubbish, the flapping plastic in the branches, the shore-line of odd stuff caught along the fencing, and I half-closed my eyes and imagined this was the spot where everything I’d ever lost since my childhood had washed up, and I was now standing here in front of it, and if I waited long enough, a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field, and gradually get larger until I’d see it was Tommy, and he’d wave, maybe even call.”


4 stars


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