Never let me go
The Guardian’s “Digested read…digested” concludes: “The triumph of style over substance“….and they make it sound like it’s a bad thing. So here’s my take on things – they are so wrong 😀 . And this is why:
First of all, Mr. Ishiguro’s style is a big part of the magic; it’s a big part of why this book works the way it does. To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone else pulling this off with such elegance and truthfulness; it’s – if you’ll pardon the comparison – a bit like the wrapping paper: some admire it, others rip it off searching for the great present. I’m part of the first bunch….and I enjoy the present even more when it comes neatly wrapped.
And that’s exactly what Mr. Ishiguro does, he writes a neat and controlled story, where every piece falls into place and you’re left pondering the puzzle a long time afterwards, and he makes it look so damn easy that you just want to pick up a pen and start writing your own story. It’s almost like a compulsion…every time I finish one of his novels (and I’ve read them all except for “The Unconsoled”, and this is on my TBR list) I close the cover and just stare at it for a few minutes; it’s that hard to break the spell…sometimes it even follows you for days. And i grant this to the writer’s style, and not particularly to his choice of subjects. To be quite honest, Mr. Ishiguro is closest to my heart, in the way that the construction of his novels..fits me the best. Even as I write it, i realise it sounds a bit weird; but I can’t find a better way to express it.
The narrator is Kathy H, who, throughout her travels all over the UK, remembers her life, her first school, her friends Tommy and Ruth, her teachers, her patients etc. She is on the brink of a major change in lifestyle, and that’s what prompts this flow of memories – memories which are naturally linked; Kathy skips from one thing to another and she doesn’t respect the chronological order of events, but rather more intimate connections. And you sense, throughout the book, that there’s something different about her and about her mentality, but you can’t quite pin-point it; you feel it hovering over you…and the final chapters explain it all. It’s an eerie mystery, and when it’s all solved, you don’t feel the satisfaction of a closure, but you are even more torn.
It’s a sort of a dystopian novel, which raises a few questions about soul, will power (or lack of it), patience and obedience. This kind of acceptance of all that fate brings your way is a common trait to all Mr. Ishiguro’s characters – the butler in “Remains of the Day”, the painter in “An artist of the floating world” (my personal favorite) or Etsuko in “A pale view of the hills”.
“Not since The Remains of the Day has Ishiguro written about wasted lives with such finely gauged forlornness (like that novel, this one harrowingly concludes with someone weeping on a sea shore). ” I couldn’t say it better.