Chris

The Idle Book Club 13: Never Let Me Go

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Agreed that Marginalgloss's post was great.  It reminds me of the often quoted Frederick Jameson line "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism."  I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I do feel that the best achievement of the book is in the way it shows how banal the social reproduction of injustice is.  You can think of that as biopower as I do or as social conditioning.  Either way, I think the book wants to demonstrate the way most people experience their own marginalization.  They are aware of it, but within their social situations there is little recourse.  For them, the mundane moments anyone experiences growing up are intertwined with their marginalization.  There is no avenue for resistance because how can you resist your own life?  If someone were to run away, they would be sacrificing all their social relationships and what little comfort their life provides.  You might as well ask why a minimum wage worker doesn't quit his or her job to resist global capitalism.  It's more interesting to me, though, that the question of resistance is in this thread is only placed on the victims.  Why not, instead, ask why everyone else supports the status quo of Never Let Me Go?

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I read this almost exactly 3 years ago, so my memory isn't specific, but I really liked it, and when I finished, I went on a deep dive (for me) trying to unpack it and figure out how I felt about things in it. I wrote a way too long unpacking that I'll try to focus down here.

 

Non-spoiler. I really loved how the information was delivered. The telling takes place in the world of the book, so revelations are dropped casually as if we would already know. The image gradually comes into focus, instead of a snap reveal. I think this also mirrors the way the characters in the book learn things. "knowing without knowing". Never explicitly explained, but understood so gradually that you couldn't really draw a line between when you knew and when you didn't. 

 

I walked away with 3 main questions

 

1 - Do clones have souls? I'm not religious so maybe "soul" is the wrong word. Are they real people? Do they count the same? Do they have the same thoughts and feelings? Should they have the same rights?

We don't have human clones now, but it's certainly a technical possibility in the future. It seems like the society in NLMG has largely decided no, which some notable objection, leading to the events of the book.

It seems like an obvious yes to me. Cloned people are still people, and people are people too! Though I'd be interested to hear what a religious person thought about the hypothetical (hopefully without opening to big a can of worms).

 

2 - Is it worth it? She says cloning basically became a panacea for most illnesses and injuries, specifically mentioning cancer. Many lives would be saved and the quality of life for many would be drastically improved. Of course you're losing a life in the process, but does that count as a loss if the life was only created for this purpose anyway? It's not really: To save 3 lives you must take 1. It's: To save 3 lives you must create 1 then remove that 1. If you could give your heart to save a loved one, you might. If you could clone yourself and that clones heart? (though that's not really how it works in the book). My instinct is to say of course it's wrong, but I think it's is probably more complicated then that.

 

3 - Why do the clones put up with it? I see some talk about this in the thread as well. I think a lot of it has to do with information control. They learn very little about the world and their place in it, and they learn it very slowly. I've also thought of the North Korea analogy, and I think it's similar. They just aren't given the opportunity to know what the world outside of their borders is like. An option is never presented.

But once they're old enough to realize what's going on, they still go along with it. I think it's from a combination of simple momentum, fear of the outside world, and a sense of duty. This all they've known. Even if you have the general idea that this isn't the life they want, in the moments, they're still just following routine. They have no concept of where they could go if they escape, or what they could do, how they could survive. This is all they've ever known of life. And they still feel some sort of obligation to their purpose. "Completing" with only one or two donations is viewed as shameful. It's literally what they were born to do, and they're imparted with that sense of purpose from the beginning.

 

Obviously this is more extreme than our normal lives but it's not wholly different. This isn't the life I want, but I get up, I go to work, I go through the movements, the momentum of life pushes me along. I can say I want something different, but I'm scared of what else is out there, I don't know what else I can do. I have obligations to the people I work with, and connections to my social life, that are hard to turn my back on. It's not that different really. I think people just keep moving. we have an innate ability to roll with it, and this is a kind of perversion of that virtue.

 

That became largely what the book was about to me. The momentum of an undesired life. It's easy to look at these fictional extremes and say "I would never put up with that" but maybe you would, and maybe you do.

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I enjoyed Never Let Me Go, but I really want to echo what TychoCelchuuu said about it being a page-turner. It's a shame because when the book is quietly thinking about human relationships and mortality and everything else it really works, but it reads as if Ishiguro does not trust this to be enough to carry the book. NLMG is marred by these constant moments of prolepsis in which Kathy says something like '... but that was all changed by what happened next.' (For a specific example, my paperback has a moment on p. 211 where Kathy says 'But then everything changed again, and that was because of the boat.') The need for a plot is something I've been thinking a lot about since I played Firewatch. Giantbomb did an interview with Sean and Rich Sommer in which Sean said (I may be misremembering) something about needing a plot to interest players and make them want to see the human interactions. I have been going back and forth on how much I agree with this, and reading NLMG really has me convinced that it's not true. Whenever this book is Ruth sniping at Kathy or Tommy it's really amazing, but as soon as Ishiguro attempts to make it a page turner it just feels incredibly fake.

 

That said, I do like a lot of things about this book. I find it interesting to consider it from the perspective of the traditional English public school narrative. Stories about English children going to boarding school are fairly common, and they often consider how parents are something of an absent presence, something that is missed but continues to exercise a sort of invisible authority over the children. Parents in NLMG are just a straight absence, and this is a really cool way of inverting a traditional story. Also, as others have touched upon, NLMG definitely has a thing or two to say about power's ability to limit the things one is actually capable of thinking and imagining, and I like how English boarding school narratives often treat parents as this invisible authority, while here it's something rather different.

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This is just a random odd thing I noticed, but the Wikipedia article for this book is written in a really strange way. The descriptions are not wildly inaccurate, but they're just a bit misguided, as if they were authored by someone who didn't quite understand the book. 

 

Take the description of Tommy, for example:

'He is introduced as an uncreative and isolated young boy at Hailsham, with a bad temper, and the subject of many tricks played on him by the other children because of his short temper. Initially, he reacts by having bad temper tantrums, until Miss Lucy, a Hailsham guardian, tells him something that, for the short term, positively changes his life: it is okay if he’s not creative. He feels great relief. Then one day, Miss Lucy tells him that she shouldn't have said what she did, and Tommy goes through another transformation. Once again upset by his lack of artistic skills, he becomes a quiet and sad teenager. As he matures, Tommy becomes a young man who is generally calm and thoughtful.'

 

The first sentence gets things entirely back-to-front. Tommy is introduced as a creative boy (painting his earnest little picture of the elephant); he's bullied because of that, and because he is bullied, he develops a short temper. And the idea that Miss Lucy 'positively changes his life' by telling him it's all right not to be creative -- well, I don't even know where to start with that. For me, it's one of the cruelest scenes in the book. Nor do I think he is ever upset by his 'lack' of artistic skill; it's only that he has no way of expressing it in a way that doesn't also leave him vulnerable. 

 

I realise I'm being extremely pedantic and that 'wikipedia is inaccurate!' isn't really news, but still, I think it's an interesting exercise. If you were teaching this book to a class of secondary school pupils, you could do worse than ask them to review this summary for errors.

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I love Wikipedia articles that—despite all the automated edit-monitoring, fiefdoms, and other eyeballs—are still clearly someone's book report or school paper pasted online. The default collective style is so dry that even bad writing with personality is more enjoyable.

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I enjoyed Never Let Me Go, but I really want to echo what TychoCelchuuu said about it being a page-turner. It's a shame because when the book is quietly thinking about human relationships and mortality and everything else it really works, but it reads as if Ishiguro does not trust this to be enough to carry the book. NLMG is marred by these constant moments of prolepsis in which Kathy says something like '... but that was all changed by what happened next.' (For a specific example, my paperback has a moment on p. 211 where Kathy says 'But then everything changed again, and that was because of the boat.') The need for a plot is something I've been thinking a lot about since I played Firewatch. Giantbomb did an interview with Sean and Rich Sommer in which Sean said (I may be misremembering) something about needing a plot to interest players and make them want to see the human interactions. I have been going back and forth on how much I agree with this, and reading NLMG really has me convinced that it's not true. Whenever this book is Ruth sniping at Kathy or Tommy it's really amazing, but as soon as Ishiguro attempts to make it a page turner it just feels incredibly fake.

 

That said, I do like a lot of things about this book. I find it interesting to consider it from the perspective of the traditional English public school narrative. Stories about English children going to boarding school are fairly common, and they often consider how parents are something of an absent presence, something that is missed but continues to exercise a sort of invisible authority over the children. Parents in NLMG are just a straight absence, and this is a really cool way of inverting a traditional story. Also, as others have touched upon, NLMG definitely has a thing or two to say about power's ability to limit the things one is actually capable of thinking and imagining, and I like how English boarding school narratives often treat parents as this invisible authority, while here it's something rather different.

 

I see what you mean but others might need that. Like I don't think my mom would read a book that was just about ideas and lingering moments, but if she'll read the book for the plot, then she will still be exposed to the ideas. It could help extend the authors reach.

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I see what you mean but others might need that. Like I don't think my mom would read a book that was just about ideas and lingering moments, but if she'll read the book for the plot, then she will still be exposed to the ideas. It could help extend the authors reach.

 

Not really spoilers but...

I do think the constant teasing was a bit awkward to read through, but I mostly put it down to the voice of the narrator. I would expect some setup that leads into the following passage/chapter from any novel - it was just very ham-fisted in this. To an extent, I have no problem with that - Kath is not a novelist and given her education, there's no reason to expect her to be able to pace a story any better than a high school grad. Additionally, this is all a fairly free-form recollection. A lot of the ping ponging is when she catches herself in an anecdote before realising that she needs to provide more context.

 

But yeah, while I can believe it, I didn't find the style particularly easy to read.

Re: Conditioning

I feel like I'm just repeating myself, but maybe it will sink in the second time:

Both metaphorically and practically I think this works just fine. On a metaphorical level, the acceptance of death as something that just can't be avoided, because it's inevitable, and because this has been drilled into you as your destiny from the earliest age, is hardly an inconceivable mindset, right? I'm teaching the Iliad to students right now and one of the points that book hammers home is how humans are mortal. Our fate is to die. There is no getting around that. The clones in this book have the same approach to organ donation and death - is that so ridiculous?

On a practical level, people will put up with any old shit in the right circumstances. This is like asking why the population of North Korea doesn't just all rise up and liberate itself or why people on death row don't spend every day trying to break out of jail or why people in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany didn't all fight back or whatever. Humans are malleable and just because you imagine yourself trying to escape in this situation that doesn't mean it's implausible that there would be people (maybe even you, if you were in the same situation!) who wouldn't even conceive of fighting back or trying to escape.

I think people who are like "why don't they ever try to get away" are failing to look outside the difference in these two societies, ours and theirs. In contemporary Western society human rights are such a big deal that everyone is raised from the earliest age to think of themselves as special and inviolable. It's inconceivable that we'd ever harvest your organs against your will. But that's just a specific outlook we have in our society not some universal truth the whole world has always been convinced of.

If you don't believe me, look at how we treat non-humans. We harvest their organs, and their flesh, all the time. We breed them to have better organs and more flesh for us to harvest. We keep them in appalling conditions and make it illegal to film those conditions. We use euphemistic words to talk about what we do to them. And almost nobody gives a shit.

Imagine you went to a society that looked at us as monsters for what we do to non-humans. They ask "how can anyone be complicit in treating non-human animals like this? It's so obviously wrong!" My response would be "I tried not to be complicit. I was a vegan and I advocated for non-human animals. I did my best." What would your answer be? Why can't the characters in the book use your answer as a way to explain why they didn't try to escape?

I do see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure I can swallow the examples. Just briefly:

North Korea/Nazi Germany/Death Row - I find it hard to believe that many/any of those people never considered gaining freedom. I totally agree that they may have come to accept that they cannot escape, but that's different to not wanting to.

 

Animal treatment - That seems like a pretty separate issue and (in the novel) is probably more analogous to the inaction of society at large to the donor program than anything. I mean, in the novel, the donors are effectively treated like livestock. The big glaring difference being that livestock aren't acutely aware of the fact that they are destined to die while there are others that are going to live.

 

I do think your point here is salient:

 

...It's inconceivable that we'd ever harvest your organs against your will. But that's just a specific outlook we have in our society not some universal truth the whole world has always been convinced of.

I think this perspective is totally fair and I felt that this is what the author was pushing. I just didn't buy it. We're animals - we possess a survival instinct. Even if it can be suppressed/manipulated, Tommy/Kath/Ruth obviously value their lives because they actively search for a deferral. But that there is never even a conversation, or a suggestion, or a whisper about "what if we didn't have to die" just struck me as inhuman, and felt inconsistent with other behaviour.

 

I have to stress again that I didn't see this as an oversight and I get what (I believe) Ishiguro is saying about the malleability of humans in the right (or wrong) conditions. And I think the novel does a good job of representing that - I just didn't find it very convincing.

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Regarding escape:

I don't think North Korea and Nazi concentration camps make for a very accurate comparison, because the children of Hailsham did not live in squalor, hunger, discomfort, or ignorance. They were by all accounts privileged, educated, and comfortable. Of course that came at a steep cost. But the citizens of North Korea and the inhabitants of a Nazi concentration camp are and were treated contemptuously. It's easy to imagine that the less-privileged clone communities mentioned in the novel may have raised populations of children who had to be more forcibly contained, with more frequent escape attempts.

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Not really spoilers but...

I do think the constant teasing was a bit awkward to read through, but I mostly put it down to the voice of the narrator. I would expect some setup that leads into the following passage/chapter from any novel - it was just very ham-fisted in this. To an extent, I have no problem with that - Kath is not a novelist and given her education, there's no reason to expect her to be able to pace a story any better than a high school grad. Additionally, this is all a fairly free-form recollection. A lot of the ping ponging is when she catches herself in an anecdote before realising that she needs to provide more context.

 

But yeah, while I can believe it, I didn't find the style particularly easy to read.

Two issues I still have:

First, she spent... years maybe? or at least a good chunk of time studying Victorian novels in depth, right, working on some sort of thesis thing? I mean, yes, studying Victorian novels doesn't turn you into a Victorian novelist, but I'd like to think someone who's deeply drawn to Victorian novels wouldn't churn out a story paced like a Dan Brown novel.

Second and more relevantly, I read the novel as a glimpse into her head, not as something explicitly written out or whatever, which means that I read it like someone recollecting things rather than someone explicitly setting out a story. And as far as I'm concerned, nobody recollects things with cliffhangers. That's just ridiculous. Maybe I'm just approaching this wrong - I should be imagining the narrator writing this all out while sitting in a hospital bed or whatever - but if that's the case the tone seems sort of off too because I'm not really sure what the narrative framing is supposed to be.

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Regarding escape:

I don't think North Korea and Nazi concentration camps make for a very accurate comparison, because the children of Hailsham did not live in squalor, hunger, discomfort, or ignorance. They were by all accounts privileged, educated, and comfortable. Of course that came at a steep cost. But the citizens of North Korea and the inhabitants of a Nazi concentration camp are and were treated contemptuously. It's easy to imagine that the less-privileged clone communities mentioned in the novel may have raised populations of children who had to be more forcibly contained, with more frequent escape attempts.

 

This book reminded me of Brave New World, whereas I think North Korea is better compared to Nineteen Eighty-Four. People are accepting of their lot and where they "fit" and I feel like that's really the point of the book - you don't have to oppress people to control them, even if you're literally stealing bits of them away.

 

The most shocking part of the book for me is very near the end, where Tommy suggests Kathy should ask to start donating, and it's in the same sort of tone as you would say that someone should maybe stop living with their parents or get a job. Even confronted with the full horror that you were raised simply to be stripped for parts, Tommy's reaction is to rage for a few minutes but then later encourage the person closest to him to get on with it. It's the opposite of the 'it's too late for me but save yourself' reaction you would expect.

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So, it's my first time really reading/posting in these forums, so I'm not entirely clear what the best practices are regarding spoilers. Do we post here assuming that all spoilers should be hidden? What's the etiquette?
 
Having just finished, I have similar questions to those already brought up. 
 
First off, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. I loved the clean, elegant prose, especially in contrast to Fates and Furies, which I strongly disliked mostly for it's showy, overworked prose and metaphors. The language in this book, I thought, felt honest, actually artful, and emotionally earned. 
 
I also very much enjoyed the slow unveiling of this alternate world. It reminded me a bit of a quote I recently encountered via an

that quoted science fiction author and editor Joseph W. Campbell as saying that the goal of science fiction is to "make the marvelous seem mundane, and then the mundane will seem marvelous." I love this approach to science fiction: a novel as carefully focused on human experience and character and perception as any realistic novel. The unveiling of the world is really what makes it such a page turner. At some points, this revelation via the plot felt too neat and crafted, but I forgave those moments for the most part (mostly because I was hungry to know more about this world).
 


My biggest concern while reading the book has been brought up a few times: the complete lack of any sort of resistance or escape. It seems such a glaring omission that I actually started reading the book thinking that this lack of resistance has got to be to a large extent what the book is about. I haven't actually read Remains of the Day but I know that it has a reputation as master-class in self-deception, wherein the narrator says one thing but the reader is supposed to understand something else and in that tension understand the deeper themes of the book. I kept looking for that here, for some clues in the language or presentation of the consciousness of narrator. There is that great passage where she reveals how their life purposes are worked into the curriculum so much so that, as pointed out by others, it is accepted as the way of the world. It wouldn't occur to them that escape or resistance was even an option. And that's powerful. For such an individualistic society as our own, it's almost grating. The fact that Kath and other carers are given such free reign (so many reflections on driving the open road) is even meant to heighten our awareness of this acceptance they have--that it would never occur to her to disappear herself and become lost in Norfolk. That seems to me an intentional barb in making us confront this seeming omission.
 
I think Ishiguro wants us to focus on and understand that accepting complacency. 
 
What seems impossible to me (and others here) isn't that Kath, Ruth, and Tommy never even consider escape, but that it seems NO ONE has ever escaped or disappeared or said, "No, sir, I'd like to keep my kidney." While social and cultural conditioning could effectively keep the vast majority of the clones/people complacent, it does seem impossible given our built-in desire to live and to avoid pain (i.e. surgery and its debilitating aftereffects) that no person wouldn't ever hide in a closet or just run off into the woods before the butchers came. While they are clones, I don't think there's evidence at all that they are sub-human in any regard and therefore I assume experience life's impulses as we do. 
 
Here's my justification (which I only came up with after finishing the novel). We are very tightly and intentionally contained within Kath's POV. We are not going to find out anything about this world that Kath doesn't know or find out about. Naturally, if a government is going to repress an entire population via conditioning, if anyone DID escape or resist, that news would be tightly controlled. It's quite possible in this world that there have been escapes and resistance, but they've been kept secret so successfully that not even rumors have traveled among the clones. And you can imagine that in a case of cultural conditioning, just a word of one such instance would spread and cause many many others to start considering and doing it. The idea was spread like a virus among people for whom the idea never came up. 
 
This idea occurred to me because of a rather small but haunting moment that niggled at me long after it happened. In Chapter 13, the trio travel with Rodney and Christina to Norfolk to see Ruth's "model." Early in that trip they stop and eat at a diner. In the last paragraph of the first section, Kath describes the dinner, including this: "There was one cardboard notice pinned over the counter that had been done in colored felt-tips, and at the top of it was the word "look" with a staring eye draw inside each "o." I see the same thing so often these days I don't even register it, but back then I hadn't seen it before." Unless I've somehow missed something and misread this, it seems like a tantalizing clue as to what the exterior world/government is like, a bit of propaganda that refers to we-don't-know-what. But it never comes up again (that I recall), and this book doesn't reveal anything without purpose. I wonder if perhaps this suggests that some clones HAVE escaped from time to time. While the other clones don't know about it, the non-clone people are told by their government to keep an eye out for them. And the fact that Kath says, as an adult, she sees them so frequently no seems to suggest the clone escape problem is even increasing, though Kath and Company never actually hear anything about it. We never hear from Kath what those posters are about. That can't be an accident. (Or did I miss something?)
 
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this but I think there is a case to be made that there is some low level of resistance and escape going on but Kath has never heard about it and doesn't report it, Ishiguro being more interested in showing us the psychology of complacency that can be bred into a person, an idea much more mysterious and interesting than the fierce individualism we are used to seeing in fiction.

 

Looking forward to the 'cast! I'm sure this issue will be a major part of the discussion. 

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Very nice post Hangdog, I really like & agree with your reading and thoughts. Kath's limited perspective is I think crucial to the book.

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Also, to add to the pile of possible discussion points for the show, there was one other omission that I found a little strange. I wondered, especially in the final chapters, why Kath never spent any time really discussing the bodily changes or physical condition of Tommy, Ruth, or other donors. The donations are ominously non-specific, but I have to imagine that we're talking about kidneys, livers, spleens, stomachs, and (maybe in that final donation) something as serious as hearts or lungs. I have to imagine that most of these donations would cause severe physical disablement--colostomy bags, dialysis machines, breathing machines, scars, severe changes to coloring, etc. To see a lifelong friend so bodily transformed seems like it would be of note. I found myself wondering why Kath never lingered on these details. The actual job of a "carer" is left a little vague, but I have to imagine it is somewhat similar to what a nurse does, right? Or is it?

 

What do others think that a carer actually does? Is there some sort of implication embedded in the text that explains why Kath doesn't go down this road in her observations and ponderings? Is there something in their inculturation that wipes this visceral sort of curiosity from their minds?

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Brief thoughts on the possibility of escape: 

This never really bothered me, partly because I don’t think the novel is ‘really about’ the ethics of cloning and organ donation. You could even argue that it wears those very serious topics too lightly in its pursuit of broader themes. That’s also why we don’t get many details as to what organs are donated: the actualities of the situation are swept to one side in pursuit of a creepy allegorical literary effect about the way the world bleeds us dry. 

 

I think liquidindian’s comparison to Brave New World is especially appropriate. The main difference between the condition of the students and other people who were incarcerated in various systemised atrocities is that the young people of Hailsham have never known anything else. Their lives are basically comfortable and free from pain, and they were raised from year zero to understand that this is their place in the world. Why should they feel that anything is wrong?

 

It’s the teachers and supervisors who look after them who feel most affected because they know what they are missing. And let’s not forget that they do make certain efforts to help those kids, even if they are fairly tokenistic - the gallery is exactly the kind of gesture you'd expect from a gently liberal middle class inequipped to change the political climate. To expect the novel to take a turn towards a ‘V for Vendetta’-style resistance would be to get a totally different kind of book altogether.

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Film spoilers:



It's interesting how the film adds a couple of details that relate to a couple of the points here.


At each distinct stage in the story - Hailsham, The Cottages, carer - we see the characters 'checking in' with an watch-like device that presumably tracks where people are and who is missing. I don't think this is mentioned in the book. This might have been just a detail to show that this world is not the one we know, but it may have been added to answer the question of why there is no talk of escape - adding an overt method of control to the more subtle and insidious controls.


We also see Ruth's death, and it's clear that the donation that kills her is one that will inevitably have that effect, even though it's the third. There are also shots that show scars and scenes where the effects of donation are made more obvious, which goes some way to answering hangdog's point above.


I'm curious as to whether these added details are there to help fill in some of the gaps that might make the viewer less willing to buy in to the whole premise.



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I bought a used copy of this book. This is the first page and aside from a highlight or two, the only markup in the entire book:

post-24707-0-24880000-1458009272_thumb.jpg

 

Who does that!?

 

I wasn't too mad though since Sarah's mention of The Island kinda gave it away for me anyway :P

 

Anyway, good 'cast. I'm with Sarah on the ending. I think that conversation could have been done in a way that still served its purpose without coming off as so lore dumpy. It reminded me of Neo meeting the Architect in the second Matrix movie. Really liked the book overall though.

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I bought a used copy of this book. This is the first page and aside from a highlight or two, the only markup in the entire book:

2016-03-14 22.12.49.jpg

Who does that!?

I wasn't too mad though since Sarah's mention of The Island kinda gave it away for me anyway :P

Anyway, good 'cast. I'm with Sarah on the ending. I think that conversation could have been done in a way that still served its purpose without coming off as so lore dumpy. It reminded me of Neo meeting the Architect in the second Matrix movie. Really liked the book overall though.

Amazing! I love used books.

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I'm pretty late to this party, so I don't know if anyone is going to read this. But I do remember after reading this book, about a year ago now, I was surprised to discover how much high praise it had received. It's not a bad book by any means, and I think it does a great job of exploring its themes, but I mean... to me, this read like a good example of young adult fiction. It seems almost tailor-made to be studied and analysed in high school English classes, so much so that the cynic in me wonders if Ishiguro didn't have this in mind while writing it. The prose is perfectly serviceable but I don't recall ever being particularly wowed or impressed at any point. As others have mentioned, there's a page-turning quality to it that I found a bit cheap and off-putting. There were also a lot of... I'm not sure what the linguistic term for this is (a bit shameful as I studied linguistics), but there are a lot of little interjections where the narrator adds phrases like 'I suppose' or 'I'd say' or 'I guess' and so on in the middle of sentences. Maybe the point was to make the narration seem natural, but for me I would just as soon have all that stuff removed.

 

Like I said I enjoyed the basic themes and premise of the novel, but I sort of wonder why in a world where they can successfully clone humans entire, they can't just clone the specific organ parts they need? Maybe that was explained in the novel and I just don't remember, and in any case it obviously defeats the purpose of the novel, but I tend to find little details like that annoying. I had the same problem with the film Looper.

 

Well anyway... I guess I seem like a giant arsehole by reviving an old thread on a message board I rarely contribute to and mercilessly ragging on a book that most people seem to like, just a few days before Christmas no less. It's weird, but I tend to have stronger feelings about things that I actually like but feel that others are rating it beyond what it deserves, as compared to things that I simply hate but others like. I'm not sure what that says about me really. I'm actually really interested to read Ishiguro's other novels, just to see how it ties in with my thoughts about Never Let Me Go. At the rate I'm getting through books these days though, it will be a while before I get around to that.

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I wouldn't call that merciless ragging, nor do I think it's bad to revive threads that have a specific subject if you've got something to say about it.

 

As far as other works by Ishiguro go, I've only read Remains of the Day and found it far less interesting and poignant/effective than this book. I'm pretty immune to stories about emotionless Brits though.

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Maybe its cheaper to harvest from clones than vat grown organs all in all but then big govt gets involved and new regulations say you gotta open some preppy school for the clones by the end of it you're lucky to break even.

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