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PSIPOOK | books | never let me go, kazuo ishiguro

Tales of the unspeakable
Title: Never Let Me Go
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Price: ¥1,092
ISBN: 0-571-22414-8

The understanding of who and what the central characters of Never Let Me Go are came as a physical jolt. People like this don’t exist and hopefully never will exist. It feels like Ishiguro in dreaming up these characters in this predicament is committing an act of terrible brutality. Yet the condition of Ishiguro’s people is terribly relevant to the way we all live. I do not want to reveal here what makes these characters so special or why they stir so much pathos in the hope that if you do read this book, you will experience the same thud of realisation that I did.

The story follows a group of naive young people — Kathy, Tommy and Ruth — in an alternative version of modern Britain as they try to make the best of life. They all came from the same school, a faintly sinister place called Hailsham. The school is bordered by a wood in which, so the story goes, the footless, handless body of a boy was once found and exerts such a brooding influence on the pupils at the school that just being forced to look at it in moonlight is a dormitory punishment.
The kids are brought up in near-isolation from the rest of society. None have any family, so the school has total control over their education. Although free and happy, the kids never learn analytical thinking or real skills to take into the world, thus ensuring for them an adulthood of content obliviousness to what society is doing to them. Their condition, which we learn early on, is not what the story is about. It is a sort of metaphor through which Ishiguro explores ideas of fragility and mortality and the possibility of finding real meaning in our lives.

Kansai Scene, January '06

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By the way, have you read Chris Page's novel Weed? It really is rather fantastic.

Words of praise for Weed from a publisher in London.

"... it’s really witty and very strong ... I would compare the writing to Robert Rankin, or a really satirically biting Tom Sharpe, and will say again that I’m really impressed by it"



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