Thursday, 11 May 2017

Learning to Let Go (Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/102927.Never_Let_Me_Go
I was really looking forward to this! I mean, it's billed as a science fiction novel, do you know how often science fiction and fantasy books appear on my course? Never. Except it's not really a science fiction novel. It's more of a dystopia. Granted, it has sci-fi elements in it, and dystopia is arguably a sub-genre of sci-fi, but it wasn't my cup of tea.

And it wasn't just the genre. There was nothing wrong with Kathy as a character, but I hated her narration. She felt the need to explain EVERYTHING, and she went off on tangents all the time. She'd start telling you one thing, and that would remind her of something else, and something else, and something else...by the time she got to the point, you were more irritated than interested.

That's enough negativity. Here are the things that I did like:

  1. The use of terms like 'donation' and 'completed'. 
  2. I guessed the twists very early on, but I don't think that really affected my enjoyment of the plot. I didn't feel like they were supposed to be shocking - by the time anything was said outright, we were supposed to have accepted it, much like the characters. 
  3. The aversion of the usual fight-the-system plot. 
  4. The lack of exposition. Kathy assumes that she is speaking to someone who is like her, living under the same system and abiding by the same rules. Whilst the plot was tell, tell, tell, the world-building was all showing. It was clever.
  5. Despite her irritating narration, Kathy is genuinely relatable. She's worried about her friends. She's worried about being part of a community. She's worried about whether or not she herself is normal.
  6. You will genuinely care about the characters.

It's an interesting book, and certainly worth a read if you enjoy dystopian fiction, but I'm afraid it just wasn't my cup of tea. 


What's the last book you started reading believing it to be one genre when it was actually another?