A story of love, loss, and acceptance in an inhuman world.

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” follows the story of Kathy, a young woman living in a strange world, and her complex relationship with her friends, Ruth and Tommy, as she revisits the past. Set in a dystopian version of England, the book explores the dignity of human life and the themes of atrocity and acceptance in the face of inevitable loss. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are students at Hailsham, a very exclusive private school. They are treated well in every respect and are brought up to believe that they are the privileged section of society. However, as they grow older, they realize that there is a secret that haunts their lives. Once the secret is revealed, it is far too late for them to save themselves. Although the loss is inevitable, their desire to have a future dares them to have hope till the end of their days. The desire to slow the march of time towards these losses can be felt in Kathy’s reminiscence. And although she is now alone, Kathy copes with the losses and the knowledge of her own inevitable end by cherishing the memories of her past, of Tommy and Ruth, long after they are gone. Kathy’s story is a testament to the dignity and humanity of the students she grew up with. Although these students are “mere clones” produced to provide organs for their counterparts in the outside world, they feel the same joys and sorrows as any human. They form bonds just as strong and have hopes just as profound. The realization that there is no future for them makes Kathy long for the days of her childhood so that she could cherish the moments with the ones she loved and be with them a little longer. The desperation to live can make us believe even the wildest of ideas and the knowledge that everything will end soon makes us appreciate the beauty in the smallest of things and in ourselves. Never Let Me Go may be seen as a tragic coming-of-age story. Dig deep, however, and you’ll realize that it is an allegory; a reflection on memory and forgetting, the meaning of love and what it means to be loved, the desperation of prolonging loss and the definition of humanity and what makes us human. It makes the reader question, “If your life were to end tomorrow, would you be able to say that all you have ever done is enough? Would you be able to smile and embrace the future with no regrets?”

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