"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, August 20, 2010

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I chose to read this book via a circuitous route. My beloved hubby and I went to see a movie at the artsy movie theater in town. As we waited for the feature film we'd come to see we munched popcorn and watched the previews. One preview started with this statement: "Based on the best novel of the decade."  I sat up straighter.  Suddenly I was more interested in the preview than I was the popcorn.  What book was the best book of the decade?  I hadn't heard anything about this before. Had you?  As soon as I got home I ran to the computer to find out about the best book of the decade.  Here's what I found out:---there were lots of lists of best books of the decade that were published late in 2009.  Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was the 24th best book of the decade on the London Times list published November 14, 2009.  Not exactly the novel of the decade, but good enough to make me want to read the book, if for no other reason than to be ready for the upcoming movie. Time Magazine named it as one of the top 100 best novels of the 20th-21st Centuries.

Never Let Me Go is a mesmerizing yet mortifying story about human clones being raised to be organ donors. But those facts unfold slowly as the reader is introduced to the characters, all children attending a special school named Hailsham. The narrator of the story is Kathy and she recounts her experiences with her friends at the school and after they move away from a vantage point of passing years.  It is not really until you get to the end of the book that you are really confronted with the actuality and eventuality of the why these people even existed.  The reader is never told why Kathy and her friends were so passive about their plight or demise. The story unfolded in a rather slow, even-metered pace.  I often felt as if I were having a dialogue with Kathy where she would have to digress to catch me to points in the story.

Because of it's slow, metered tempo I don't think that most teens would have the patience to plod their way through this book, though it is certainly worth the effort. Ishiguro has certainly written a masterpiece in Never Let Me Go and it deserves to be on the list of the top 100 books of the past decade.

By the way, as a little aside, several YA books made this list too, but I found the selections or their placement on the list odd:  Twilight by Stephanie Meyer #90---after Harry Potter by far the most popular YA series of the decade only awarded #90? In contrast Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was #17. Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver the first book in a very good fantasy series was named #53. I like the book and the series is fairly popular but not even close to the wild popularity of the Twilight books. The other two YA books on the list are How I Live Now (#36) by Rosoff and The Amber Spyglass (#22) by Pullman. Pullman's book, part of the His Dark Materials series, is excellent and deserves it spot on the list.  How I Live Now was a Printz award winner and certainly got good reviews but its placement on the list sheds a light on the books that aren't on the list that should be, most specifically The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  I would argue that Zusak's masterpiece will continue to be an important piece of literature for years to come and IT ISN"T EVEN ON THE LIST!  ARG!  (Can you hear me yelling from your house?)

3 comments:

  1. I guess we won't be reading this book for BC then? It sounds like it would be a great discussion book!!

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  2. Not sure I would read "Never Let Me Go," however "The Book Thief" looks great. Can't believe that I hadn't heard about it til now. I quickly checked it out on amazon and am planning on making it my next read. Love finding out about great books.

    Just so you know there is a great book coming out October 15th titled, "Mary's Son: A Tale of Christmas" by Darryl Nyznyk. I had the opportunity of pre-reading it and absolutely loved it- it is the only modern day "Christ in Christmas", with the actual Christmas story included, story for the YA/Adult crossover market that I am aware of.

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  3. Margaret, I'm hoping that we will do Never Let Me Go. I think it would be a good discussion book and I read it with book club in mind.

    Becky, I hope you like Book Thief. One thing I tell everyone before they start reading it...the narrator is death. It isn't creepy or morbid, just unique. Enjoy! Thanks for the recommendation about Mary's Tale. I'll look for it.

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