Sunday, March 19, 2006

'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro

One of the books that I was very excited about reading, and which did not disappoint me. The book with its melancholy and mellow narrative makes a story on a difficult scientific topic, completely believable, by its sheer depth. It starts off as a first person account by the protagonist, Kathy who is now about to enter a crucial phase of her life and as she starts to tell her story the narrative shifts to her school days, when they were growing up in a special school at a remote corner of England, Hailsham – that becomes a leitmotif for their struggle in life.

The story revolves around her classmates and their interactions with the teachers at the school – how they get to know the reasons for their existence, the boundaries within which they will need to lead all their lives and their coming of age. As they grow; their angst, tensions, passions and quarrels among close friends makes for an interesting read.

New relevant terms and meanings are introduced without being jarring. The book tries to project the social misgivings and consequences of certain less thought about facets of scientific growth. Through this it also tries to show the inherent fragility of life. As Kathy, Ruth and Tommy grow from one stage of life to another, searching for answers and trying to avoid the ultimate purpose of their life, the whole scenario shifts as they come to stare at reality and find that rumours that they believed in are false and their worst fears will come true.

As life goes on and close coveted friends drift apart and meet again, memories and persons fade away; the story retains its gentle pace until it leaves you tottering at the end for an answer as to - could the happenings been avoided with a little more thought on how we treat those who are not normal, those not part of the mainstream, how they lose out and the immense pain and agony they might be going through.

An excellent read which was the front-runner for the Booker award 2005. Kazuo Ishiguro's style of writing is very evocative and filled with pathos and as gentle as the light, cool evening breeze. The underlying theme, which is hardly ever made explicit, makes for a poignant yet compelling form of science fiction.

Currently reading 'India Unbound' by Gurcharan Das.

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