Sunday, 23 February 2014

Never Let Me Go - Kazou Ishiguro

I have recently finished reading this for the Croydon Waterstones book group, and my reaction to it just a bit odd. For those who have not read it or seen the movie, at heart it is an alternative history. There is a Britain, quite like ours where clones have been created to provide spare parts. The story focuses on Kathy, the narrator and her friends Ruth and Tommy as they grow up and move towards their lives of donations and final 'completion.'

It is beautifully written and compelling. That the story is going to be sad and depressing goes without saying, but now a few days have passed since I finished it there is a part that I cannot accept. Their baleful compliance with their fate. We know that they would like to be allowed to live because they cling to a belief in 'deferral.' But there is no rebellion or rage against the system that oppresses them. They seem to have free access to the ideas of the outside world, but those ideas don't galvanise dissatisfaction and rage and against the system the face. This does not work for me. History is full of monsterous and oppressive regimes that have done things that are terrible, but when faced with this though their may ultimately be despair and defeat people however quietly rebel. People fight back, they satirise, they sabotage they mock their oppressors and try to escape. Given the chance they fight or escape. But these drab clones just go glumly to their fate and so do all the others. It is this removal of the human capacity for rebellion that I cannot accept, and ultimately leaves me dissatisfied with the book. They may be defeated, but allow them the human capacity to resist.