“The memories I value most, I don’t seem them ever fading. I lost Ruth, then I lost Tommy but I wouldn’t lose memories of them.”, Kathy narrates in the last chapter of the book.
“Never let me go” a beautiful novel by a Japanese-born British writer, Kazuo Ishiguro, I read about this book in the Time magazine. Then few days ago i was in my university library wandering for some novel when I saw it again, so I borrowed it and started reading it.
I didn’t understand the book in the start but as i moved on forward, it captured my interest and became a page turner. I was amazed with the story, the expression of emotions and feelings, and last but not the least the well written depiction-style of Ishiguro. I finished the novel yesterday with its deep impact on my mind which I would try to portray in the following lines.
The story is about three friends: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. They are clones and study at Hailsham, a secluded boarding school in England. Hailsham is an ideal school taking great care of its students’ health and creativity.The students are reminded time and again of how special they are. Their ultimate aim is to donate organs. Life at Hailsham is as normal and as ideal as it should be in childhood and then at teenage with all the studies, fun, arts and sports competitions, fairy tales, horror stories about the surrounds of their school, night chats in dorms, secret sharing, and all that. Tommy is a moody boy; Kathy is a kind of person who agrees to whatever others choose for her, she has a soft corner for Tommy but never approaches him; Ruth is competitive and always tries to split the bond between Tommy and Kathy in their love triangle. Ruth and Tommy remain as a couple during this time.
As they grow into young adults, they go to cottages where they interact with the external world and experience the adult activities. Once the clique visits the Norfolk where the veterans tell Tommy, Kathy and Ruth about the rumor of deferral, if two people from Hailsham fell truly in love , they are deferred two to three years of being donors. Kathy could not find any stable relationship during this time. In this stage the mixed feelings of jealousy, love , attachment, misunderstandings and friendship are often exchanged between the clique.Once there is a fight among Tommy, Kathy and Ruth and Kathy left the cottages as a result.
Now Kathy becomes a carer; and Ruth and Tommy become donors. The group splits apart and after a long time they meet again. Now Kathy is the carer of Ruth. They arrange a trip to visit a boat during which Ruth confesses and apologizes for coming in between them and requests them to seek deferral. Ruth completes her life after second donation. Kathy, now, takes care of Tommy. They visit Madame’s to get deferral; Tommy also brings his arts with him to prove their love. They also meet Miss Emily there one of their old teachers from Hialsham. Miss Emily tells them the reality of Hailsham and denies the rumor they have been hearing since their childhood. She tells them how Hailsham was set up to prove to the world the fact that clones are like normal human beings.All this talk drags them in a boundless despair. Tommy completes after his fourth donation and Kathy is ready to start donating organs.
The novel ends after Tommy and Ruth are no more in this world and Kathy is standing on the shore weeping helplessly. She is left all alone with the memories of the time she spent with her dearest friends.
“Never Let Me Go” is not about science fiction. Though it has asked some stinging questions about the daunting reality we are facing ahead but, according to the author himself , science fiction is just a tool to deliver the story.The actual story is about life and its realities. The clones die in their 20s or 30s but they see all those phases of life which we face in 70 or 80 years. So clones can better explain the strange realities of human life in a short span of time.
The author has unfolded the reaction of human beings to small and tiny experiences of a day-to-day life and then the process of how these tiny feelings and expressions meet up together to form big and firm beliefs which drag us to take life-changing decisions.
The story is about how our emotions are injured in this harsh world.How do we plan our future and then how do we scream over our broken dreams. Life is not all about roses neither it’s all about thorns. But we often imagine our life to be a perfect and ideal decorated with what we want. The real world is not much like as we want to see it. If one accepts the life with all its alarming realities, then he can handle the life in a better way.
The novel has nothing to do with telling a tale but it rather gives a picture of real life. We can apply the story to our lives and fit it into how could we get the best from this short life.
The characters of the novel could have rebelled but they didn’t and did what they were supposed to do; one should always accept one’s fate and follow it.
Ishiguro says accepting one’s fate is a form of heroism and he calls it the Japanese creed.
A movie has also been made on this book. I haven’t seen it yet. I am looking forward to watch the movie, “Never let me go“, as soon as it is released here in South Korea.