Whenever I need inspiration or just assurance that what I'm reading is going to be good, I return to NEVER LET ME GO, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'm currently in the middle of my fourth (or fifth) reading. If you know me, you've heard about this book ad nauseam and probably wish I would just find a new book I liked better already. But I can't. Ishiguro is one of the most skilled novelists I've ever read, and this, for me, is his most compelling work.
The voice is deceptively simple, told from Kathy H.'s perspective years after the events she describes. Ishiguro gives the appearance of a rambling memoir while at the same time deliberately parceling out information so it all unfolds perfectly. It seems effortless, which, as any writer or artist knows, means it took a heck of a lot of effort.
The driving force behind the story is that Kathy and her closest friends, Tommy and Ruth, are all clones destined to donate their vital organs by the time they reach their mid-twenties. But while this fact looms in the background throughout the novel, the real focus is the characters and their relationships with one another. Tommy and Kathy fall in love as children almost without realizing, and Ruth, fearing she'll be left out of their circle, snatches up Tommy in a relationship before Kathy can consider her feelings. The bonds between them are nuanced, and the characters are too. Even Ruth, for all her conniving and manipulating, is sympathetic and understandable. Despite their fights and disagreements, the three are "unable quite to let each other go."
It's a great read if you want to study a masterful novelist, and it's also a good choice if you just want to immerse yourself in an excellent book. Happy reading!