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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, 2005, * * * *

From the acclaimed author of "The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love. As a child, Kathy, now thirty-one years old, lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbe, even comforted-by their isolation, but also describes scenes  of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham's nurturing facade.   A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro's finest work. Whether you consider this a love story, mystery, or science fiction, this poignant novel will hit you where you live. Ishiguro once again shows himself to be the master of the emotional epic. His spare but evocative prose draws you in, word by word, sentence by sentence,  and by the time the ending is revealed, it's like losing hold of a beloved balloon and watching it float away. We can naively believe that once out of sight, it will continue on its journey, but the grimness of reality tells us otherwise.

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