It’s my first time to read a book from the Japanese-English author Kazuo Ishiguro who is behind the Booker Prize winning-titles Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans and his latest, Never Let Me Go. To tell you the truth, I scarcely gave a thought of reading his book not until my good friend Tina from One More Page gave it a rating of 5 stars (which convinced me to read it) and the upcoming film adaptation to be shown here in the Philippines (Andrew Garfield is there!).
Kathy H was a child that grew up in a private boarding school called Hailsham somewhere in England where they are being brought up and sheltered from the outside world. Being believed that they are special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter.
The book has three parts, on the first part of the book which is the Childhood, three of main characters—Kathy H, Tommy D and Ruth develop a close friendship while they are still boarding at Hailsham. It’s obvious in the book that Kathy resigned herself as an observer how people in Hailsham deal with their lives and how they make their decisions. I find the first part slow and confusing. Kathy H (the narrator) is introducing many shifting thoughts, ideas, and memories of their childhood and I found myself all lost in the plot. But I never give up. There’s something in the book that makes me continue reading it. But when I reach the second part, Cottages, where they are dealing with their adolescent life outside Hailsham (for the first time!). They began to meet people who are the same as them. It’s my favorite part! Especially the Norfolk scene when Kathy H and Tommy D looked for the lost things at the ‘lost corner’. The last one is the Donor, which is the time where they began with their trainings as carers and start of their donations. I found this part the saddest part of the book. This gave light to the questions (both mine and characters’) that been hanging around over our heads. As I’m reading this, I feel so bad for the students at Hailsham, I’m like Miss Emily and Madame, I wish I could do anything to help these creatures. I’m deeply moved by the story, by the way these poor creatures deal with the fate, their short lives, how they value their friendship, how they value love (they are still capable of loving!). And as I’m typing this, I am teary-eyed.
I also watched the film adaptation directed by Mark Romanek, starring Carey Mulligan (Kathy H), Keira Knightley (Ruth) and Andrew Garfield (Tommy). If you’re going to read the book before watching the film, NEVER WATCH THE TRAILER! That’s my one big mistake, I watched it while reading and I was totally spoiled. Anyway, it’s alright for you to watch the film without reading the book but it’s still best appreciated when it’s read because THE MOVIE DIDN’T INCLUDE THE NORFOLK SCENE SO I’M SORT-OF DISAPPOINTED WITH IT. IT’S THE BEST AND MY FAVORITE PART! Anyway, the movie is alright. It made me teary-eyed in the end but compared with the book, I’m crying a river.
“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever” —Tommy D
Wonderful book, highly recommended!
Book #9 for 2011
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
My Copy: E-book