Book: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Two or so weeks back, J. read this book as part of a Read-A-Good-Book-A-Week-Since-You-Don’t-Have-To-Study-For-MBBS series. It was an engaging enough book that he read it through in less than 2 days… a testament more to his wilful neglect of personal hygie… um… unessential time-wasting habits than his speed-reading capabilities.

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

It tells the story from the memories of a ‘carer’: Kathy, from her time at a special boarding school… onwards and onwards until the novel cruises to a stop.

Essentially, Kathy is a clone. As are her friends, as are all her schoolmates at Hailsham, an experiment in a more humane way of raising the clones for their organs as compared to the more cruel methods then accepted which treated clones as nothing more than organ sources.

It’s a world where the parts provided by clones provide cures for multiple, previously incurable diseases. It’s a fantastic world, perhaps more unlikely to happen in this day and age than the dystopian/utopian worlds of 1984/Brave New World.

And yet the book touches a chord as it exposes one cruel fact of human nature. We would rather not see the process behind the outcome. There is the interesting story of the person who would not eat beef. The reason: she had been to a slaughterhouse. Yet, she would eat chicken, even if they might be bred in quarters that are just as squalid, because she has not seen a chicken slaughterhouse yet. We simply do not wish to see.

And as they say, out of sight, out of mind.

So as it is in this novel, as the teachers of Hailsham and Madame are the vocal minority who fight to gain acceptance for the view that clones have souls, have creativity, have the ability to love… fighting for a more human approach… for the clones to enjoy and live life as best as possible before fulfilling the reason they were brought into existence… a fight ultimately shown to be futile against the indifference of the world that refuses to give up what is to them a right, for the sake of faceless creatures.

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