Well, this book hit the wall. Or rather, my 75 pages limit, with a vengeance. And I’m done.
Never Let Me Go by Kazua Ishiguro has been lauded as one of the best books of the decade. It’s “Brilliant!”. It’s “A tour de force!” Frankly, in my experience, it’s a “BOYS” book. Allow me to explain.
I’ve worked for five years in an independent book store. For a while during that stint there were a couple of men who worked in the fiction contingent we affectionately dubbed “The Boys”. The Boys liked their fiction. More appropriately they liked the old man brigade of literature that contemporary fiction is based upon… and nothing else. If the author was old, or dead, or male and liked to write these long-winded diatribes about everything (and nothing) in tandem the boys would eat it up with a spoon. Mind you, many of these authors they loved are probably good but they were only good in the strictest literary sense of the word. What they often lack is heart and soul even though the words are beautiful.
The boys also believe that Genre Fiction, specifically Science Fiction and Fantasy, is “lesser” fiction because it follows characters with swords or spaceships. Unless a book is “literary” science fiction, and that still ranks too low for their “refined” sensibilities. And I still have not forgiven them for that.
Never Let Me Go is a boys’ book. It reads beautifully, but it has no soul. I don’t have a lot to say about the actual book because I made it to my usual 75 page limit and decided to stop. The most interesting thing to happen in the entire first 75 pages was the scandal surrounding a pencil-case and how the one character acquired it. Yeah, it’s that dry. Anything that is interesting in the dialogue or story is totally washed by the fact that it takes so damn long to get to the bloody point. It’s also very hard to maintain concentration, or get back into the book, if you get interrupted during the read.
The other major problem is this – the reveal of the story was heavily used in the marketing campaign promoting the book. For the last couple of years I have heard about this book from various patrons, publisher reps, and reviews that talk about what these characters are. This is a ridiculous piece of work. You do not reveal the only really interesting thing about the book preemptively. It kills the mood for the book. Why tell everybody what these characters are? The main oomph is usually the reveal. Why destroy that?
I can’t recommend this book. See the movie. I will be. Other than that the book is not good. 1 out of 5 stars. Too “literary” for my taste and not enough Science Fiction.
– Follow the Reader –