Kazuo Ishiguro in “Never Let me Go” has written a story that is reminiscent of George Orwell and 1984. His narrator, Kathy, looks back at youth at Hailsham School and the friends she made there when she was young. We read of jealousies, tantrums and favouritism and the kind of things that any child might have experienced. Although his English is translucent and easy enough for even a foreign child to read, certain words are intended for those used to reading between the lines. He drops clues here and there like crumbs on a pathway to lead you through the forest.
In this school, the children are looked after by ‘people who have a strange and distant relationship with them. Still young, they are informed about what awaits them in the outside world and why they are different from others, but they don’t understand the meaning of it all. Kathy tries to pick up clues by her close observation of the expressions on the adults’ faces when the things that the children say or do relate to the future. Why did Miss Lucy disappear after telling the children that they were not being told enough? What are they not being told? Kathy apprehends that something is amiss but goes forward with acceptance to meet her future with a childish innocence. Within school, the children are encouraged to be creative, but their best work is taken away. Why? Ishiguro drops hints, but paints such an idyllic picture of life at school that it is difficult to come to terms with the end which he has so painstakingly foreshadowed.
As she grows up, Kathy loses her friends, but she retains her memories of them. “Never Let Me Go” is a poignant story about how our future is sometimes not what we would have hoped for, but how happiness in childhood can provide the individual with courage for the future.