Literary Prescription

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This unusual science fiction novel is set in a boarding school in East Sussex in England. It is clear from the beginning of the story, that there is something deeply disturbing happening at the school. The children are forced to take precious care of their health; they are not taught any normal life skills, but are encouraged by their teachers, ‘the guardians’ to produce art and poetry, which is taken away by the mysterious ‘Madame. It is gradually revealed, that the children are clones, and their sole purpose is to have their organs harvested for transplants for ‘normal’ citizens. The three main characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, develop close bonds which resonate throughout the novel; Kathy and Tommy sharing a deep love and attraction, which is deliberately thwarted by Ruth. Kathy becomes ‘a carer,’ looking after the clones who have already had surgery, while her friends ‘complete,’ meaning they have no further usable organs to donate. The novel presents a terrifyingly bleak picture of lives which are considered to be less than human. It is a poignant and beautifully written story.

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