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Never Let Me Go is a dystopian novel written in 2005 by 2017 Nobel Prize Kazuo Ishiguro. A dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as “not-good place” and is an antonym of utopia.

A dystopian story

We really love the dystopian genre because when well written it can treat controversial topics through philosophical reflections encompassing social, political and moral issues.  The major risk of this genre is that the remoteness of the setting can fail to engage emotionally a reader living in the present. However, Ishiguro manages here to show the great potentialities of the genre by creating a dystopian story which presents a remote setting but at the same time manages to emotionally engage the reader.  

Emotional engagement of Ishiguro’s novel

A reason for this emotional engagement is probably related in part to Ishiguro writing style. He uses a simple and direct writing yet able to create many different narrative layers to express the whole range of human emotions capturing their intensity, strength and plausibility. 

An other reason making this book one of a kind is the formal proposal through which he presents the genre itself. Dysotpian genre is normally characterised by spirit of rebellion against a despotic and cruel system or society but in Ishiguro’s world injustice and abuses reveal themselves as natural and are accepted by the characters with resignation. A resignation which typifies the dystopian plot and moves intensively.

Reading Never Let Me Go

We won’t give you too many details in order to avoid spoilers. However, we will try to explain in which way we found the book so special. It explores what being human and having a soul mean. Thorough the reading we keep asking ourselves about the way we grow to give meanings to the passions, emotions, behaviours, morality which define our individual experience making us unmistakably human. 

“I was talking to one of my donors a few days ago who was complaining about how memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t see them ever fading.”

The book does not answer to the enormity of ontological questions directly but, combining the critical approach of dystopian genre, the emotional load of love stories and the suspense of mysteries novels, it does presents a splendid tale about the importante of memories and the value of art in preserving them.