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Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go is a tale of true, romantic love struggling for survival in a dystopian word of heavily guarded secrets and unfulfilled desires.

We follow the story of Kathy H, a seemingly ordinary girl in a seemingly ordinary boarding
school. However, as the novel progresses and Kathy begins to unveil more
peculiar and chilling stories of her time at school, we see that all may not be as it
seems in the grounds of Havisham. As Kathy recalls the previous experiences of
her life, the real heartbreak and magnitude of the disarray the world now holds
becomes clear. Ishiguro’s novel tugs at our heartstrings – forcing us to evaluate
the society we live in and whether science is beginning to take liberties with the
concept of human morality.

Ishiguro grapples with extremely complex and controversial material in Never
Let Me Go, yet creates believable and relatively normal relationships between
the title characters. This balances the book from being based too much upon
the scientific or from being too romanticised. Furthermore, Ishiguro does not
confuse the reader with technical jargon about the details behind Kathy and
Tommy’s predicament; rather, he focuses upon how Havisham, the cottages and
the donations affect the dynamics between Kathy, Ruth and Tommy.
Some limitations about the novel are the characters themselves. Some may argue
that Ruth is positively unlikeable; she continually jeopardises the relationship
between Kathy and Tommy. Ishiguro tries to give her a redeeming moment, yet
it seems rather forced and unlike her character. Also, Kathy, in spite of being the
narrator, can come across as somewhat spineless. Kathy lets Ruth govern her
throughout their childhood and can never seem to rid her from her life. Tommy’s
aggression is also unattractive.

Overall, the novel has a completely different concept to the usual romance novels
we see today. Rather than settling for the normal stereotypes, Ishiguro strays
away from this and creates a particularly original story that not only challenges
our very perception of the world we live in, but also constructs believable
relationships in a warped world. The novel is most certainly worth the read, as
the shocking truth is revealed every so gradually, creating tension and suspense.

Sophie Dobson is a young writer based at York St John.