Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


Never Let Me Go, is one of those books that doesn’t fall into a neat little genre.  It’s like life; it isn’t perfect, not everyone is going to like it along the way, but boy, it is fascinating! Now, I realize that this has been sitting on the shelves since 2005, however, I believe that it is nice to pick up an older book now and then and rediscover, or, indeed discover, the epitome of a multi-faceted work of genius.

Like I said above, Ishiguro’s novel cannot be defined in one genre; romance, dystopian, drama, all play their respective hands throughout. I think this is why I loved it so much.  I tend to not be a fan of romance or dystopia, but in little bits, they definitely work, and even complement one another.  With merging these genres, Ishiguro actually presents an almost deconstructed version of each one:  In a typical (and I say typical because I’m aware it’s not always the case) dystopian novel, the reader is presented with a world that is at its knees; it is often harsh, grey, and survival instincts are at an all-time high.  In Ishiguro’s novel, the reader is presented with a dystopian world in the form of an upper middle class British boarding school.  Now, we all know that there must be some kind of untowardness when the Brits are involved (after all, this isn’t a Sophie Kinsella novel, or a Merchant-Ivory production!), and the assumption would be correct.  I won’t spoil the surprise of what makes this novel have its dystopian theme, but suffice to say, Ishiguro was writing ahead of his time, as we are ever so slowly seeing this topic become ever more prevalent.

It could be argued that the romance aspect to the novel is slightly more conventional.  We are presented with a classic love triangle, where boy loves girl (or girl loves boy) boy/girl can’t verbalise said feelings and ends up seeing another person as a rebound.  However, those of you that know me, KNOW that I wouldn’t read a book with such a simple theme.  Ishiguro presents this theme and turns it on its head by making the reader love and hate each individual character.  Not one of them can claim the moral high ground all throughout the novel.

Overall, this is a novel that will infuriate you, make you smile, make you think, make you gasp, and may even make you cry.  It’s an unflinching look at a controversial topic, whilst employing classic themes and presenting them in a unique way.  Even if you don’t like it, Never Let Me Go, is worth picking up simply for the above mentioned points.  Take a leap of faith and have your opinions and comfort zone challenged.


Buy it now – Never Let Me Go