Well, harvest our organs! Wait… is that not a common phrase? Bryan and Robert will ask that and the other great questions of the universe as they review Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Bryan’s quick summary:
From their youth, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were special. At least, that’s what their teachers in the secluded Hailsham boarding school always used to tell them. As the years go on, Kathy begins to understand the truth behind their deadly purpose. Will love be enough to save them from their predestined fate?
Never Let Me Go is by Kazuo Ishiguro
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Robert) The story is told in multiple-timeframe flashbacks and is difficult to get into. It’s slow, and much of it is “told” and in passive voice. I can’t understand what the fuss is all about, and how on earth anyone had the foresight to make this into a movie (which might be great – I haven’t seen it!).
2. (Bryan) Our main character of Kathy doesn’t do or say much, so the potential love story and story of friendship depends on whether you side with the everyman/woman.
3. (Robert) The book dragged for me, and I had to force myself to keep reading. I didn’t understand anything about Kathy’s goals, and everything seemed so distant.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Robert) The writing style is very literary and erudite, so from a new author’s point of view, there’s a lot to learn about the use of language, if we separate that from the novel’s structure. Ishiguro clearly has a way with words … just not my way!
2. (Robert) The mystery is about the only good thing about this story. It feels bad to bag a Booker-prize-winner, but if this were an indie author’s attempt, it would surely be panned for the massive amount of flashbacks and passive voice.
3. (Bryan) At least he tried to tell a story in a different way, which is worth trying, I just don’t think it works.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. If you are going to write a dreary, all-hope-is-lost book, could you make it at least entertaining to read?
2. If you’re going to break the rules, ask some people to see if it works first.
3. I’d like to see the premise re-written in a more YA style. Modern YA fans will struggle to digest this book, especially those younger ones brought up on Netflix instant-gratification.
Prompt of the Week:
What if your life was planned out for you from the beginning? How would you try to find and use your little bits of freedom? How would your ideas and decisions be different?