Kazuo Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go

The gears of destiny

Tommy, Ruth and Kathy are raised in a very peculiar boarding school, where the students are taught to appreciate and master every single form of art. Once they grow up, those very children will serve the community with their special abilities in the most unexpected way.
Kathy’s voice tells us their lives and their hopes, without expressing any sadness or regret.

Never Let Me Go is a title that can find its place in the uchronic and dystopian genre, even though there are very few clues that allow us to understand the historical time setting of the story.
Through the story of the students of Hailsham – brilliant and well-educated kids, but unable to escape the relentless scheming of their fate – the author tells us how the best way to save every human being is through art and culture. Those should be our distinctive marks, but our society often puts progress and material welfare before spiritual growth.
Kazuo Ishiguro gives us some food for thought on philosophical and political matters that go beyond the plot of his novel, which is quite a conventional one.

The author – keeping his cold and aesthetic style – gives us a beautiful story of friendship and love, masterfully avoiding easy tears, controversy, pedantries and partianships. The result is however not as great as expected, since the reader is not completely involved in a sci-fi story that ends up being pretty weak, whilst remaining a pleasant sentimental story.
After all, coldness is a way to encourage reflection.

Translation by Francesca Febbrari (edited by Camilla Girardi)