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Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

Book - 2006
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From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human. Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it. Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Publisher: New York :, Vintage International,, 2006.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9781400078776
Branch Call Number: FIC ISHI
Characteristics: 288 pages ; 21 cm


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2017 Nobel Prize in Literature

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Jun 11, 2021

What I love about this book is that its world seems plain and relatable to the reader at first, but slowly unveils a sad and dystopian world. Character development in this story is marvelous; I found myself very much invested with the protagonists. The story didn’t answer all of my questions, but I think that’s the point Ishiguro is trying to make about this world he creates.

Jun 04, 2021

It was difficult for me to merge in my mind the somewhat sci-fi/dystopian nature of this plot when it was set in the 1970s – 90s. The theme of cloning allows Ishiguro to explore ideas about memory and the nature of being human – what it means, and how it might be respected or not. The boarding students live with rumor, partly knowing and not knowing, or not wanting to know, about their existence for medical purposes. The narrator gradually drops clues and memories that the reader must gradually piece together to get the whole picture.
I loved the tone of Ishiguro’s "Remains of the Day" that captured an era of privilege. The tone in this book is very different – almost gossipy, with extended interior contemplations of thoughts and actions.

May 11, 2021

I dragged myself through this book waiting for something to happen. Big on character development and short on plot is my opinion. I didn’t enjoy this book at all.

Apr 28, 2021

Ugh. Second Ishiguro novel I had to return after the first page. Big yuck.

Apr 03, 2021

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read with a thought provoking theme. I wish the author explained more about the particulars of the donation process earlier in the book but I understand that was probably intentional to fit with the nature of the characters. It was an emotional journey but I believe it could have been much more so if written with more detail.

Feb 28, 2021

I read this book because it is on my list of MUST READ before dying. I had never heard of it or the author.

It was well written and I enjoyed it. The subject matter is rather disturbing if you think through the implications of what a world like this would mean. It was impressive how Kazuo Ishiguro subtly gets into the ethics of it without diving into the absolute horror show that it would inevitably be.

The book held my attention, but it is a very slow burn. It takes a long time to understand what is actually happening and there is virtually ZERO action. There are no tense moments or edge-of-your-seat sections. It is just a well-told story that provides its reader some heavy issues to think about when finished.

AndreaG_KCMO Jan 27, 2021

When I started this book, I hadn't read any summaries recently. I knew there was a startling key plot element about the purpose of their boarding school, but for at least a quarter of the book, that mystery remained a murky backdrop to the inner workings of the narrator and her friends. I felt I had stumbled into my own childhood insofar as the author perfectly renders the curious and comforting memories of what it was like to know so little for so long. I HAD THAT FRIEND who imagined the most elaborate games--the horses and all of their individual characteristics, the bizarre conspiracy theories, the incomplete picture of how ordinary things work--it is all so familiar and seems like yesterday. This kinship came to feel like a trap as I followed, dread mounting, the children's path to maturity and complete understanding of their existence.

Jan 20, 2021

This didn't gut me the way the movie did, Andrew Garfield did wonderful things with Tommy. But the book allowed me to see how sinister the story was in an entirely different way. All this knowing and not knowing had me bouncing back and forth between Plato's allegory of the cave and my experiences at Catholic school. Making up rules and never interrogating why they exist or in the students' case if the adults really enforce them in the first place.

Hillsboro_JeanineM Dec 30, 2020

This is only the second of his books that I have read but they seem to echo a particular style. You are taken on a journey by the protagonist through memories. When you reach the end, the story seems to linger with you - hauntingly.

Dec 18, 2020

This is a tiresome strip-tease for the first three-quarters of the book. The characters as depicted are too strange to warm up to. By the time the author finally filled in details and revealed the full nature of the lives of the characters, this reader was mostly just relieved that the book was coming to an end. The accolades that this novel received must have been due to the shocking idea behind it rather than the quality of the story craft.

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Feb 28, 2021

brettminor thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jul 16, 2020

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Feb 10, 2011

imaginethat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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dida thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add Notices
Feb 28, 2021

Frightening or Intense Scenes: While there are not any particularly intense scenes, the overall subject matter is quite intense.

Feb 28, 2021

Sexual Content: While not described with any detail, there are several sex scenes. In one scene a girl gives a handjob.


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Jan 05, 2019

Then he said: "I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how I think it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever."

Jun 09, 2015

“Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and no matter how much we despised ourselves for it--unable quite to let each other go.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go


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