Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Never Let Me Go

I finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuro Ishiguro over the weekend. Fantastic. Wonderful. Now I’m going to use my Amazon money to buy all of his books. If you haven’t read it, go straight to your bookstore, do not pass go, do not collect R200. I mean it. I don’t even own this book, it is burrowed, and I’m going to buy it because I know I’ll have to read it again.

You know what I love most about this book is the way the writer is lost. You don’t even feel the writer. It’s just Kathy telling her story of growing up, of attending Hailsham, of being friends with Ruth and Tommy. Their lives. The fact that they are clones grown only to provide organs for humans is just what it is. Their lives are what is important. Their everyday lives within the context they find themselves. Such a horrifying, heartbreaking, story told so simply.

I was grappling some months ago with the concept of voice. Must a writer have one voice? I can see how silly that was. I think we must be voiceless. Or is it multi-voiced? I have all these ways of writing, depending on the story, depending on my mood, sometimes even depending on what I’m writing for- I had thought, perhaps, somehow I wasn’t being true. That I was still searching for my voice. But now I think maybe I’ll never find it. Maybe it’s not there at all. Maybe it’s not supposed to be.

11 comments:

Wordsbody said...

I have a copy of 'Never Let Me Go', but I've never gotten round to reading it. It has however been recommended by enough writers for me to know it will make very rewarding reading someday soon...

Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day" is one of my favourite books, a great English 'class' novel, written, astonishingly, by a writer of non-English descent. I have also read "A Pale View of Hills" (of which I'm ambivalent) and I'm very fond of "When We Were Orphans".

So you could say I'm a devotee of Ishiguro.

Lauri said...

Thanks for that info M. I am going to finish all of my Amazon money on him. Now I know better what to buy. I hope you'll like this book as much as I did. We tend to have different tastes I think. I haven't admitted it to you but I gave up on Midnight's Children at page 511. It was some how preventing me from writing- I panicked. I've been trying to figure out why. I know you loved it. And it seems the whole world is in agreement.

Because of that I've been looking at a Suitable Boy very cautiously- an Indian novel set at the time of Independence, also massive, but I've bravely set forth and have been sucked in already. I will survive. After Inheritance of Loss I wanted to go on an Indian book diet for awhile but Mr Rushdie cured me of that.

Selma said...

One of my favourite books of all time. Sublime. Such an interesting question you pose about voice. I think of myself as multi-voiced when I write (according to the character). But perhaps it isn't my voice at all but theirs. I am really enjoying your blog, by the way!

Lauri said...

I really wonder about this. When we write in first person, yes we must disappear as writers. But what about third? Should we have a distinct voice there?

I've written three stories in a row where I've been trying to write in a certian way, I guess it is voice. This is where I've been trying to come to a conclusion about this. Obviously, since I'm sounding pretty lame I'm still trying to find my thoughts.

I'm glad you're enjoying the blog Selma. Don't think I'm out on Funny Rich Man- my mind is still working on it. I really must do something today.

Emmanuel Sigauke said...
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Emmanuel Sigauke said...

I love Never Let Me Go; the title of my recently published poetry collection, Forever Let Me Go, was influenced by Ishiguro. In my book, though, "going" mean souring to heights of ambition and achievement. I am currently reading The Remains of the Day. Ishiguro desmistifies writing and makes the reader feel like he or she can just whip out a whopper of a novel. He's that good.

Emmanuel Sigauke said...
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Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Selma, Lauri: When I first read Never Let Me Go I was teaching a class: the students liked how the narrator seemed to be very self-aware (which was sad/ironic) and how she seemed to involve the reader. My child narrators always attempt to speak to the reader directly in parts of the story, and it works most of the time. It's a style I never thought I would use, especially after experiencing it in my High School Henry Fielding with his endless "dear reader"s. But in Ishiguro, voice is refined, thereby sharpening irony.

Lauri said...

Emmanuel, I think that you're right it works very well from a child's perspective. The naive aspect is so sad but real. A child wouldn't know anything was wrong, it is her life.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I have read several of Ishiguro's novels, my favourites are 'When We Were Orphans' and @The Unconsoled' which is totally unlike anything else he's written (proving your point about multiple voinces for an author). I've got a copy of 'Never Let me Go' on my bookshelves, just waiting....

Lauri said...

Crafty Green Poet,
Wait no more- it really is good. I will look for When We Were Orphans. Thanks