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‘None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And
none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some
of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you ...’
England, late 1990s. Kathy H., a carer, looks back on her school-days at Hailsham. It is an idyllic place, with an art room, playing fields and a duck pond – but a very different life awaits its pupils after they graduate. Kept isolated from the outside world, they begin dimly to understand that one day they will have to make ‘donations’, though the nature of these is unclear. Rumours circulate: that the winners of art competitions, or couples who are in love, will be exempt. But neither their privileged education, nor the love between Kathy and her friends Ruth and Tommy, can save them from their eventual fate.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005, this is both an ingenious dystopian fable and an unforgettable story of friendship, love and the value of human life. Like the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day, also published by The Folio Society, it is above all a story of lost innocence. Kazuo Ishiguro shows a protagonist looking back on a seemingly happy past that appears very different in retrospect.
This Folio edition contains a new introduction by Claire Messud, award-winning author of The Emperor’s Children. She describes Ishiguro’s novel as belonging to a ‘thin but intense literary vein that runs from King Lear to Beckett and beyond, works that lay bare the human condition in its stark fundamentals … Without fanfare or Dostoevskian histrionics, Never Let Me Go joins the ranks of these abiding works.’ This is artist Kate Miller’s first commission for The Folio Society. Her beautiful, multi-layered illustrations have been praised by Kazuo Ishiguro as ‘subtly gorgeous and full of poignancy’.
Review by anon on 28th Nov 2012