Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
This week, I while perusing the internet, I spotted some welcome book trade news about the incredible, Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro being due to have a new book out next year. It put me in mind of one of the most moving books I’ve ever read – his 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go.
The story is told by Kathy, who we learn is a ‘carer’, as she goes about her work and reminisces about her adolescence at an English boarding house called Hailsham. She thinks about her friendship with two other pupils in particular, Ruth and Tommy. Their teachers were known as ‘guardians’, and we slowly learn that there’s something unusual about the school, and the destiny of these young people. A rogue teacher informs the kids that they are clones, and that when they’re adults, their organs will gradually be harvested off to donate to ill people.
Although the premise is dystopian and clearly emotionally wrought, our characters to a large extent seem to accept their fate. However, they remain intrigued by the idea of their origins – for example, when Kathy is told that some acquaintances may have discovered the woman from whom she was cloned, they go on a road trip to find her, with heart-breaking results. And when they learn there’s the potential to avoid their destiny of donation and ‘completion’ (the euphemistic term for the donor’s deaths) by proving they’re in love, Kathy and Tommy eventually try to do so by using Tommy’s artworks as evidence.
Although the story of Never Let Me Go is undoubtedly tragic, Ishiguro masterfully draws us in to the story of Kathy and her friends, and we feel so deeply invested in what happens to them. The book really makes you question what it means to be human – if art or love can prove the existence of our souls and make us ‘worthy’ – and whether we really even need outside confirmation of our worth as people. It’s a truly stunning novel. That is why Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, is my Book of the Week this week.