Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book Review by Zinta Aistars

# Paperback: 304 pages
# Publisher: Vintage, 2006
# Price: $14.00
# ISBN: 1400078776

Never really had me to let go of me... nevertheless, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go was an intriguing read, reeling me in ever so gradually, nearly losing me, never fully snagging me, but throwing me bait of disconcerting revelation just frequently enough to keep me turning pages. By end, I had to admit I had enjoyed reading the book more than, well, than I had realized while reading it.

Which is the kind of odd quality, odd hold, this novel has over the reader. Ishiguro writes in unassuming language. His story seems quite ordinary, initially nothing much more than a coming of age tale, and it runs over 80 pages before I got my first real jolt. Even that, more of a tug than a jolt. The reader begins to notice something strange going on, little weirdnesses tucked between the everyday routines. Once the reader realizes the scene unfolding is not quite as ordinary as first thought, interest grows.

This is a dark tale of human beings being treated as less than human beings, of human clones grown and nurtured for the sole purpose of harvesting their organs, and their less than humane treatment, even though in appearances humane, based on various societal biases or perhaps only less than clear thinking, or faulty value systems. Indeed, this is Ishiguro's mastery. He has given something very dark, some might say evil, a face so bland it goes almost unnoticed. And, isn't this how evil pervades society every day? Monsters are rarely big and green and warty. Strangers are often your favorite uncle, or the boy next door. The taking down of civilization is not done with a big bang, but with nibbles and bites, a gradual desensitization. Ishiguro's evil is seemingly meek and submissive, as if done for the wellbeing of the masses, and that may arguably be the tactic used most successfully. In novels as well as in life.

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