To be or not to be! Is that really the question that Ishiguro poses in his latest novel Never Let Me Go?
At the outset, I would like to declare that to the best of my analysis, Kazuo Ishiguro, in this newest piece of literature, has not attempted to make a moral indictment of society by depicting the horrors of cloning, but has made the valiant effort to prove to humanity ( as 'we' are in contrast to 'them') how fortunate we are to lead the humdrum daily lives that we do, caught in the the mainstream ( often tiring) of procuring, hording, and storing for a better future,for, and I strongly feel ,perhaps-and as Ishiguro wants to prove in this piece of writing-what better thing can there be but a future?!So look ho and let's make this a better world!
Kathy H, Ruth and Tommy are all students of Hailsham, privileged to be seated deep in this exclusive school for 'special' children somewhere in the English countryside sometimes in the 90's. The novel is narrated by Kathy now 31 years old as she looks back on her years at Hailsham. Ishiguro gradually unfolds his plot ( often excruciatingly slowly, for was he not too the master of The Remains of the Day?)and commences this by having Kathy be his mouthpiece talking abouth donors and later on about completion and soon the story unfuls to the reader- all the students at Hailsham are clones made by the British government for the purpose of donating their vital organs as they get on in age. On the surface these children seem like everyday kids- they play, study, fight and talk about the forbidden things- but hidden close to the surface is the horrifying truth as one of the guardian does spell out for them eventually:
None of you will ever go to America. None of you will be film stars... Your lives are set out for you. You'll become adults, then before you're old, before you're even middle-aged, you'll start to donate your vital organs.
That's what each of you were created to do
What is odd is that there appears to be nothing strange about this plight to the children. They neither rebel nor do they seem to care about their situation. They take for granted that this is their fate, that this is what their tenure on earth is all about.( Are we not the luckier ones!!) This passive acceptace is fostered by courses in art and poetry ( for who knows what thoughts the study of human science would do to the apparent serenenessof their young minds, although some do hope for deferrals).Not permitted to interact with the outside world, and subject to medical checks every week, it is a creepy sort of feeling that one gets when we read that more than the average individual, these children are more prone to the ill-effects of tobacco and can never have children. Although later Kathy and Ruth become contenders for Tommy's love just like normal young people, it is when when Kathy is a carer at a recovery center taking care of Ruth, who has just completed a donation do we receive the precepts of the title line that Kazuo Ishiguro has chosen for this novel- a song, "never let me go." That all has changed since the years at Hailsham and the Cottages but the one thing that exists from the past is Ruth, and she'll never let her go.
Original in theme, Ishiguro falls slightly short of effect in his delivery.Kudos nonetheless!