Kazuo Ishiguro,
Never Let Me Go
(Knopf, 2005)

I didn't notice the "science fiction" sticker on the spine of my library copy of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, and I'm glad, because that would have probably unfairly prejudiced me against the book. There isn't a lot of science in here, and while that might be a detractor for some people, I consider it a plus. This is a beautiful story, and for the entire first half, the reader is caught up in a novel about childhood and adolescence in an idyllic boarding school, with only brief references to the science of cloning.

The children in this book are surpisingly un-curious. They accept taboo subjects as such and don't gossip among themselves or push their teachers for more information. Most children would have pushed a little further, I think. The reader, too, got stuck with accepting facts with no questioning, truly making the reader experience the formative years of the children. I was curious throughout the book and kept turning pages to try to get to the reason behind the boarding school.

I'm very impressed with how well the author captured the friendship between Ruth and Kate. Anyone who has had growing pains with a childhood best friend -- when sometimes you embarrass them to make yourself look better or because you are in competition, but other times you would lay down your life to protect them -- will be able to relate.

I highly recommend this book to any literature fan. Don't be put off by the sci-fi side of it -- this is a beautiful story, through and through.

by Jessica Lux-Baumann
15 July 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.