Thoughts on Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The narrator, Kathy, tells this story—her story—so calmly. Even from the beginning though, there was a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And as I found out the secret, or the thing-that-everyone-knows-but-doesn’t-really-know, the feeling of wrongness intensified.
It’s slowly revealed that Hailsham (the school that the 3 main characters attend) is not a normal boarding school, but rather a boarding school for clones who’s futures are already set: they donate their organs to their “other selves,” and when their bodies give out, they die. In essence, the clones live in a world that their human counterparts created in order to ease their consciences. (And I say humans for lack of a better word…Kathy’s narration more than shows the clones’ humanity.) This idea is wrong in itself, but it’s Kathy’s complacent tone—like her life as a clone is normal and alright and everything is just peachy—that makes the book feel so eerie.
Yes, this is a book that raises interesting and uncomfortable issues about cloning, but it’s more than that too. It’s a book about us humans. The characters remind me of people in real life, even of myself. So easily accepting, so easily satisfied— when Kathy finds out what she is and that the life she lives is for someone else, she doesn’t even try to escape because she doesn’t know any better. And at the end, although Kathy lets go of the past and moves on with her life without complaining or crying aloud, I feel like crying for her…for her inability to hope and for her ignorance that a thing called hope even exists…