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?)