I’ve now read 6 1/2 books by Kazuo Ishiguro. At his best, he’s my favorite writer in the world: subtle, poignant, and deft at infusing hard questions into personal stories. Some of his novels just don’t resonate with me, though, and Never Let Me Go is unfortunately one of them. The premise – of clone children being raised for their organs – sounded horrifyingly fascinating and not as futuristic as it might have been when this was published (2005). The theme of how society can treat people as commodities is very relevant. Still, the book was highly tedious till the last part, and even then it barely picked up. The characters mostly felt more like placeholders than people. This was my second attempt, and while I did finish it this time, I don’t feel like I missed anything by the first DNF. However, I know others have got more of out it than I did, so do give it a try if you’re interested in the topic. I will give a more detailed video review soon.

16 thoughts on “Never Let Me Go – Reaction

  1. i tried The Buried Giant once but faded out in the middle… i think Ishiguro is just too deep for me… and probably about things i don’t want to know about anyhow, haha… nice review, tho..

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  2. I read Remains of the Day (which I see I rated 2 on Goodreads, I feel like I enjoyed the prose more than a two? But the plot not?) Anyway that was 8 years ago, I dnf-ed this one, a couple years ago I think. What is your favorite of his works? I might try another since it’s been so long. My impression was trying to hard to write deep and beautiful prose in a fatalistic way (I HATE fatalism or “it is what it is” sort of mindset, any passive mindset especially that presents itself as philosophical or resigned or satisfied).

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    1. Yeah, I definitely enjoyed Remains more, although I can see why you felt that about the plot (it’s so frustrating, haha). My favorite Ishiguro books so far are his Japan novels: A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World. A Pale View is quite a dark book (dealing with grief of a suicide and other things), so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone, but it was brilliantly written. It has a really big twist towards the end that just blew me away. Artist is kind of similar to Remains, but I liked the moral dilemma/exploration more – it’s about an elderly Japanese artist thinking back on his role in WW2 propaganda.


  3. I love the word “reaction” in your title. I don’t think I’ll get around to Ishiguro but you never know. I’m slightly intrigued by his works but not quite enough to read him yet. Good attempt. Perhaps sometimes authors try to be too artistic for their own good, lol!

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  4. I loved the premise of Never Let Me Go but hated how it played out, especially the ending. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else, but it didn’t fit the characters well at all and it was so dark.

    What other books from Kazuo Ishiguro would you recommend reading?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I guess by that time I was expecting it, but it didn’t make me feel like I’d arrived anywhere…

      I think you generally can’t go wrong with The Remains of the Day (also has a lovely film with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson). My favorites though are A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World. πŸ™‚


  5. This happens. I have not read anything by him, but I see I should not start with this book. Or finish, ha, ha. Which of his would you recommend?

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  6. I fell in love with Ishiguro after reading The Remains of the Day and while Never Let me Go did not appeal to me in the similar way, I felt the tug of despair and the deep want of wanting to live your life. However I did not get anything out of The Buried Giant. I think like all great authors, his books say many things to many people. Maybe they do not work for me, but then I have always believed that reading is a deeply personal experience and how I interact with a book is very different from another!

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