"Kazuo Ishiguro is an Author you wish you could be. Every book that I have read of his has had poise, elegance, uniqueness and a creativity that very few Authors are capable of. Each book he writes is vastly different from the other and leaves a mark on the reader not only with his writing abilities but the characters he creates through each of them." - Seeta Bodke
Here I introduce you to my guest author for the day. Seeta Bodke is a Bangalore based blogger, whom I met on a blogging community. She is an avid reader, appreciative of good work and quietly churns out amazing posts at her blog called "The Write Side". I requested her to do a guest post for my blog and she sweetly agreed to do a book review for letter N. So ladies and Gentlemen, without taking much time of yours, I present to you rest of the review of Never Let Me Go by Seeta Bodke.
Never Let Me Go is probably one of the finest of his works. While Remains of the Day continues to remain my personal favourite, this particular piece of work touches a chord in an entirely different way.
Kathy a ‘Carer’ for ‘Donors’ reminisces her childhood and her days at Hailsham School, esp. the friendship she shares with fellow students Tommy and Ruth. As she rummages through her chest of memories, you realize that Kathy and her friends have always been different from ‘normal’ people. They are taught by teachers called ‘Guardians’ who focus more on Arts and Humanities rather than the usual Mathematics and Science one would expect in school. As they grow up, one of the ‘Guardians’ Ms. Lucy tells them they are not ‘normal’ and cannot have babies like ‘normal’ people can. She also lets out that they are meant to be carers and then donors when they grow up, ‘completing’ their life while doing those donations. Despite the fate that has already been decided for them, Kathy and her friends lead a peaceful life completely oblivious to what the real world is really like. For them, the life that is set out for them is what is ‘normal’ and it is what they live for.
Her friendship with Tommy is one with a depth of emotion and attachment which does not result into a relationship of love. Not until much later, when Ruth confesses to have let her jealousies keep them apart. All this; despite the knowledge of how short their lives really are.
As Kathy took me down her memory lane, it made me realize how uncertain life actually is and how despite all odds, we learn to live with what we have.
Kazuo Ishiguro as always does a brilliant job of presenting the past, esp. of portraying incidents across time while efortlessly moving forward and back to tie them all together. The vivid descriptions he gives to each of Kathy’s memories makes you feel as if you have lived all of them along with Kathy and her friends. Certain incidents stand out for e.g. the absence of a imagery description of Norfolk makes the students feel it is a long lost place in England where all long lost things could be found. When Kathy finds a copy of her lost music tape in a second hand shop in Norfolk, that story Ishiguro had built comes to life. Similarly his descriptions of the surroundings make you visualize places as if you have been there.
Ishiguri weaves this sinister yet tragic tale of clone programs for organ donations entirely based on emotion without relying on scientific research for emphasis. His ability to portray the sentiments is what makes this book stand apart.
‘Never Let Me Go’ a song from the tape Kathy owns sums up this moving story of how cruel the world can be. While Kathy imagines an impossible dream of having a baby when she hears the lyrics “Never Let Me Go, Oh baby, baby never let me go”, when ‘Madame’ catches her holding a pillow and dancing to the music she sees it as a little girl tightly clinging on to her old kind world… one that she knew would not remain forever.
With Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro paints a distressing picture of how inhuman humanity can be. This book breaks your heart into tiny pieces and yet makes you marvel at the talent of this wonderful Author.
While it might make you shed a tear, do pick this book for the love of the written word.