‚Never Let Me Go‘
by Kazuo Ishiguro
This book tells about a world in which the people have been able to create complete human clones. With it the humanity caused to cure the most fatal illnesses and to guarantee a long healthy life. Hence the human clones are virtually only ‚produced’ for later, when they are adults, to donor their organs and to let operate on them over and over again for donations, till they are ‘completed’, which means up to death.
But this story isn’t about the people who have got a better life because of this new ‚achievement‘, but about the human clones.
The story is told from the point of view of 31-year-old Kathy, who is after 12 years as a ‘carer’ just before the time when she will also become a donor. The whole book Kathy remembers about her past live: It is starting with her childhood in the boarding school in Hailsham, through her youth time in the cottages and later to her time as an adult, working as a ‘carer’. But not the question of the donation and the inevitable death stands in the centre of the topic, but above all the friendship and love between the three central figures Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, who all grow up together in Hailsham. They already got explained as little children what’s the reason for their existence is, but they never really got to know the whole information, but always only fragments of it and in times when they’re still too young to understand.
It also behaves like this in the whole book. Kathy tells anecdotes, flashbacks over and over again and because of that there’s never a proper central theme in the book, but a constant change to and fro of a time in the next, in the present and again back to 2 years before it or 3 years ago. *totally confusing*
I don’t know how the book has managed to get nominated in 2005 for the highest British book price the ‚Booker Prize‘, or why it was added by the ‚Time’ to their list of the hundred best English-speaking novels from 1923 to 2005. Maybe they haven’t read the complete book, but only the synopsis and liked that. Who knows!? ^^
Unfortunately the book hasn’t worked for me at all, although I’ve found the description and also the circumstances which ruled in the book very interesting. Moreover because of the topic it would be a really exciting book for group discussions or for school classes because it raises many questions as for example: How would we handle an inevitable death if we were the clones? Or the question whether we would also close our eyes on how the clones were treated, if we were the organ recipient and it was about our own survival. Who has more right to live and who decides which methods are justifiable to provide the collective health? Is it tolerable to clone ‘humans’, only to harvest their organs afterward like ripe fruits? What is a defensible progress of science or what is morally wrong?
As I said, it’s a book which is very keen of discussions and the subject really leaves nobody cold and makes everybody think over their own opinion and to ponder the Pros and Cons. Hence the two points for the book, on account of the topic and the given conflict.
BUT now to the things which I haven’t liked in the book and have reduced the rating so drastically: The writing manner was okay and it also was easy and fluently to read, but the narrative perspective was dreadful and these whole flashbacks and time jumps were the pure horror. I didn’t like these whole jumps in the time in the least.
First it was confusing and I couldn’t get into a reading fluently, because it was too chopped off and incoherent. Furthermore the whole tension and the motivation were taken away and it wasn’t like in other books where I want to read on as fast as I can to get to know what happens after some actions, because here Kathy has always told what resulted out of some actions first and then how it came to it. Hence, it was never really thrilling to read on because I always already know before a new memory started how I would end and what happens as a result, because Kathy already told beforehand.
I know this sounds a little bewildering but to be honest, it was like this all the time in the book and in addition also just irritating and unnaturally. If I didn’t have to read this book for my ‘Book2Movie’ Challenge, then I probably would have broken it off several times.
For me the reading was very strenuous and I had to force myself over and over again to continue to read. But at some point I simply wanted to know, after all I have been through, how it would end. Not because I’ve cared so much for the characters, (this wasn’t the case and in my opinion her best friend Ruth was a ruthless, rotten piece who I wouldn’t have told any secret), but finally to know what the whole book actually was about. After the whole exertion I just wanted to get some answers after countless vague indications and these temporal jumps, but even here I got disappointed.
Even if there were also every now and then sensitive passages, which particularly described the special friendship of the three main characters or the perspective on life in general and on which reasons the people react and what results from which actions. But it wasn’t enough and I also never got a connection with the main character Kathy because she never really told how she felt. She didn’t let anybody look behind her facade and she just told her memories and hasn’t given anything from herself as a feeling person.
I’ve thought this book pursued a higher purpose and that at the end a solution or something like that would be presented, or an end that gives an ‘aha’-affect, but I didn’t even get that. It just ended and I as a read was virtually left hanging in the air without anything. It was very disappointing and I’ve still a grudge against that ending.
I’ve read this book for the ‘Book2Movie – Challenge’ 2012 !
‚The Woman in Black‘
by Susan Hill.
I don’t know exactly where I should start. I’ve read it in the English original and although I never had problems with the English language in other books, here in this book it has been difficult for me. The writing style wasn’t liquid at all, but had many nested sentences with which I couldn’t make friends, although it has become better after some time.
Moreover it was particularly at the beginning that a lot of the story was told from the past, so things which had happened to this Arthur Kipps and he described them like he was looking back. I was never a fan of that and therefore I also didn’t like it here. But luckily this changed throughout the story and it thereby also become better and more interesting.
Parts of the plot weren’t really bad and at times I have also been frightened and at some pages I also was interested tensely and wanted to know what to happen next. But more often it was only a reading to finally finish the book.
I recognize the fact that I don’t like a book very much, if I start to look occasionally at the page numbers and calculate for me how much I still have to read. If I start like that than it’s not good – and unfortunately here it was like this for the most part.
Moreover the construction of the arc of suspense, when it really became creepy and scary, was stressed too much and then it simply flattened, without something really happened, and the ghostly situation just passed and then it was over. *very strange*
Also the end was for me – the only shocking thing in it – because the rest of it with the children and the approximate family background wasn’t hard to figure out by myself.
But the fact that it really ends like this – okay, I also kind of saw that coming – but what was hard is that it came so all of a sudden and was simply over afterwards. There happened something big and then the book just ended without any concluding sentence or a final chapter and I found this a little awkward. On top of that the book often dragged for me and hence it gets only two points.
I’ve read this book for the ‘Book2Movie – Challenge’ 2012 !