Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never has the cliché that your school days are the best days of your life, been less tired than when applied to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, a novel which charts the relationships of three friends from childhood through to adulthood.

Their paths crossing at the seemingly idyllic English boarding school Hailsham, Kathy, Tommy and Ruth grow close to one another, with romance sometimes muddying the waters of friendship, but as they grow older they learn that all of them are set for a dark future which will eventually drive the three of them apart for good.

To elaborate on what that future is and how the trio react to it, would be to deprive anyone unfamiliar with the novel of its unique exploration of both the beauty and the pain of human relationships, as it is one we can all relate to.

Though we probably do not stand before futures as ominous as those which face the three main characters face, there is no doubt that all of us at some time or other in our lives have looked back at a time in our past and wished we could somehow dive back there even if only for a day. Through the particularly bleak fate that awaits its main characters Never Let Me Go casts a spotlight over the moments in life where a person’s circumstances change irrevocably, uprooting old relationships once believed unbreakable for good. Seldom do these decisions come without sacrifice and the sad realisation that as wonderful as it would be to return back to a time when life was one elongated frolic, such an opportunity has long since passed.

In capturing the beauty of friendships in their infancy and the often harsh realities of growing up, Ishiguro has written a novel that (barring the sudden invention of time travel) will be relatable for generations to come.

Rating: 4/5 Cruel yet beautiful, a wonderful standalone novel.

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