Thursday, April 24, 2008

What I'm reading: "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

I don't remember how this book got on my list. I thought a friend recommended it, but the ones I've asked haven't read it. Maybe it was on my recommendations from Amazon. However it got on my list, I'm glad it did. I've read several books by Ha Jin and other Asian writers, so I think I was expecting something along those lines, given the writer's name. However, Ishiguro, though born in Nagasaki, Japan, moved to Britain at the age of 5. He's also the author of "The Remains of the Day," and like that book, "Never Let Me Go" is thoroughly English.

Set in an idyllic, private English school, the story is about much more than the main character's coming of age. I enjoyed Kathy H.'s stories of her time at Hailsham with Ruth and Tommy. Thier adventures much like those of other thirteen-year-olds -- giggling over boys, listening to music, painting, playing sports. But I realized that something was odd. None of the children spoke of their parents or going away on holiday or anything about siblings. I hate to say much more about the plot in case there are others who want to come to this book as I did -- clueless.

It was a delight to have a story unfold without previously knowing what was going to happen. I've grown so used to knowing exactly what a movie is about because the trailers tell everything. Then, they're often so predictable, I feel I could have written the screenplay. Books are not promoted like movies (for the most part), so it's a little easier to go into a book without knowing everything about it. But how often do we pick up a book without at least an inkling of its plot? This book was such a pleasant surprise, I read it in just a few days. While the book has an unusual twist about it, it never lets go of the characters and their feelings. Ultimately, it really is a coming of age story.

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