Never Let Me Go

Ishiguro, Kazuo

(Book - 2005)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Never Let Me Go
From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love. As a child, Kathy-now thirty-one years old-lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory. And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed-even comforted-by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham's nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood-and about their lives now. A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance-and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro's finest work.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2005
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9781400043392
Branch Call Number: FICTION ISHIGURO
Characteristics: 288 p. ;,23 cm


From Library Staff

Young clones in love, young clones in great distress, young clones trying to come to terms with their place in the world -- or fight against it.

Join the discussion on October 21, 2014. Only special students are chosen to attend Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school tucked away in the English countryside. The chilling truth of their special nature slowly unfolds as we follow the stories of three former students.

Only special students are chosen to attend Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school tucked away in the English countryside. The chilling truth of their special nature slowly unfolds as we follow the stories of three former students.

The haunting tale of a young woman struggling to understand her position in a world that she was brought into with one sole purpose that was decided for her long ago.

Set in late 1990s England, in a parallel universe in which humans are cloned and raised expressly to "donate" their healthy organs and thus eradicate disease from the normal population, this is an epic ethical horror story, told in devastatingly poignant miniature.

From the critics

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Dec 27, 2014
  • modestgoddess rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Superb. I love the way Ishiguro keeps introducing new hooks, folding new elements into the story to draw the reader through. The sense of uneasiness is so exquisitely rendered that the bizarre premise behind the book becomes almost normal, and the reader can completely understand the reactions the guardians have towards the students, while still feeling intense emotion with the students as well.

Dec 16, 2014
  • KindianaJones rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I read this book having already seen the movie. The two are strikingly similar and both very good. I love the way this book circles around the title and imbues it with new and deeper meeting with each circuit.

Nov 17, 2014
  • Persnickety77 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the saddest and most haunting books I have ever read.

Ishiguro's narrator is so matter of fact, so conversational, so... boring and ordinary... that when you fully contemplate the fate her and her friends face, it makes it that much more horrifying.

The characters are so conditioned to their fate that they are resigned to it, and accept it as the way things are supposed to be.

The world depicted in this book is one that I could see humanity accepting; after all, we accepted slavery for thousands of years. We accept sweat shops and many other deplorable things today. If things are spun to us in the right way, we seem to accept almost anything.

That is the horrifying part.
Excellent book.

Oct 29, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very moving story of commitment and loss, with a powerful statement of what it means to be human.

Jun 19, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Intriguing. Intriguing enough for me to definitely want to finish it but the journey was slightly dull at times. And I am not entirely sure that I enjoyed the way in which it was written. But overall, I would recommend it mostly for the interesting premise and the questions it brings up.

Mar 17, 2014
  • Lauraparr rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

A really sad story that is highly believable in the context of scientific advances and cloning. However, I found myself not able to get into it or like the characters.

Feb 13, 2014
  • Dzeni rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This book is drastically different from anything I’ve read before. Honestly, it leaves a bit of a dent in your emotions because you follow the lives of three people from their youth (from the instance that they meet as children) to what becomes of them in the end.


1)Stlye. The writing style takes some getting comfortable with. It’s very conversational like a story is being told to you and the person keeps going on tangents. In some ways I like this because you’re not expected to remember what happened several pages ago and how it relates specifically to what the narrator (Kathy) is saying at the time. However, there are times when I forget that the current tale being told is within a greater story that Kathy is trying to relay.

2)Getting to the POINT. The way that things are hinted at but never revealed until…almost halfway through the book. By this point, the “big reveal” didn’t really feel shocking because I’d guessed at it earlier and the characters’ antipathy to it was also a letdown (though possibly serves a point e.g. morality).


1)Relationships. The friendship between Ruth and Kathy feels authentic to me. No big stereotypes, no giant miscommunications that lead to drama – their friendship is always a work in progress, a swaying of good and bad feelings, as I find many relationships in life to be.

2)Tommy. The character is not “love interest material” and this book is definitely not a love story, and yet he’s an adorable and sweet (and gullible) character that you want to shelter and protect.

3)Sectioning. The splitting of the story into sections of Kathy’s life. Although she doesn’t exactly grow as a character much, you still follow the distinct emotions surrounding particular times in her life (the idyllic nature of her early years, the seriousness and questioning after Hailsham, the bittersweet-ness of working as a carer and seeing old friends). It helps to follow her life because you’re caught up in those feelings during each chunk of reading.

This is a really hard book to rate because I really wasn’t in love with it, probably could have guessed the ending and left the book alone. However, it does raise interesting questions, and the story telling and characters were, for lack of a better term, real. Basically, it's an intriguing read but not necessarily an interesting/entertaining one.

Dec 09, 2013
  • pbedwards rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Predictable. Boring. Disappointing!

Dec 06, 2013
  • miss_moneypenny rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I'm not a fast reader, but I breezed through this in a few days! It's very conversational, and the tone along with the mystery/suspense really drew me in. I also really love how the author used sic-fi in a really subtle way. He doesn't get caught up describing the world of the future as being very different, except for one major thing.

Aug 13, 2013
  • enggirl2 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

What makes this book stand out from the rest is the poignant narration and the unshakable feeling that something terrible is going to happen to these characters. The last paragraph is probably the most haunting for me. I thought about it for days after.

Some people might find it hard to sit through because the narrative is quite descriptive and thorough, but I often like this kind of style.

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Feb 10, 2011
  • imaginethat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

imaginethat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jan 24, 2010
  • dida rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

dida thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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