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Never Let Me Go

This novel by Kazuo Ishiguro was quite remarkable. It will haunt me, I'm sure, for some time to come. I'm struck by the difference in the reading experience from Harry Potter - like night and day, like nouvelle cuisine after MacDonald's. Actually, I read a Mercedes Lackey between HP and this, but as Lackey writes almost as badly as JKR, the "culture shock" was the same. Not that I'm a literature snob - I'm all for trashy reading, but it seemed to hit me hard this time how subtle the Ishiguro was, how much was said in how few words. How thought provoking it was, although really how little actually "happened." I can't say much about it without hideous spoilers; the central premise was "spoiled" for me by a mouthy person on rec.arts.sf.written, but I think I might have guessed anyway... more is to do with what Ishiguro does with his premise than the premise itself. It's a slow burn, slow reveal, subtle work, but my goodness what a punch it has! You read it for what it makes you think about; I'm going to dream about the characters for weeks.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
umbrella_term
Jul. 29th, 2005 04:33 am (UTC)
I don't know how kosher this is, but I hope you don't mind that I added you to my friends list. I enjoy reading your stuff and wish I'd gotten a chance to get to know you better during my time at Camosun. It was a very difficult term for me while you were my instructor, so I feel bad. Have you ever run into a person you just wish to know more about? That seems to be the case, here.
intertext
Jul. 29th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm flattered :)
umbrella_term
Jul. 29th, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay. I thought it would be a bad idea, because I was one of your students at one time, is all. I don't know why I thought it would be bad to "friend" you, but you never know.

I am reading Steinbeck's East Of Eden and it's taken me almost two months just to get past 300 pages. I don't know how you can read so many books so fast!
intertext
Jul. 29th, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
Well, it's easy to read trashy stuff like Harry P and Mercedes Lackey quickly :) I think if I was trying to read Steinbeck, I'd probably be spinning my wheels, too... Are you enjoying it? Because that's what matters. If not, don't read it because it's good for you... The Ishiguro was an easy read - very simple, luminous prose.
umbrella_term
Aug. 5th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
I do like to read things for the sheer "health" of reading them. Last year I read The Grapes of Wrath to most people's confusion. But I got a lot out of it. In times of trouble I often turn to Steinbeck or Laurence for their ability at reminding me that I'm not the only one. I think that's the whole reason for literature nowadays--to make order from the isolation and confusion we all feel. After saying that, I sound like a religious person turning to a Bible for answers; I instead turn to literature.
intertext
Aug. 5th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. That's a marvellous response to literature, and sometimes literature is like that for me, too. Poetry certainly is; I'll reach for Hopkins, or Keats or Yeats or almost anything to get that spiritual sense of the potential for beauty in the universe and the power of the imagination. But for me, often, reading novels is like what watching TV or going to movies is like for others - sheer escapism. I don't want to read something to improve my soul, or to learn about the depths of the human spirit, I want to explore new worlds, boldly go... (no that's been done, hasn't it ha ha). Hence Harry Potter!
umbrella_term
Aug. 5th, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
Oh I understand the reasons for wanting to be entertained. I watch tv for that. And I listen to records. My favourite thing has always been to watch old shows that are good for a laugh--like the movie "airplane!" or "Murder, she wrote" and "Magnum, p.i." I remember when they were prime time shows, but now they're just funny because everything about them is outmoded now. As for reading, that's serious business!

I like reading Ondaatje's poems, P.K. Page, Janice Mirikitani, Jamaica Kincaid...I guess I'm just drawn to the "new" stuff.
lilyfriend
Sep. 8th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
Never Let Me Go
I really liked the book. It is hard to talk about it without giving away spoilers. Found myself frustrated with the ending. Not because it was badly written, quite the contrary, I enjoyed the whole book. But I guess I was expecting it to end on a different note. :)
intertext
Sep. 10th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
Re: Never Let Me Go
I know what you mean. I found it very sad. That's one reason why the book still haunts me. The way the characters faced their situation was what made it sad - I wanted them to react differently, I guess. But maybe that was the point? It _is_ so hard to talk about with spoilers!
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