Review by Gustavo Araujo
Title: Never Let me Go
Author: Kazuo Ishguro
Published in: 2005
Read in: Portuguese (translated from English by Beth Vieira)
Kathy H. is an adorable girl. That is the impression we get from the first pages of “Never Let me Go,” by Kazuo Ishiguro. Soon Kathy will no longer be a "care taker" and become a "donor." That is perhaps the most important moment in her life, and she takes the opportunity to rethink her journey so far.
Everything starts with her days in Hailsham, a boarding school where she has spent all her childhood. Her recollections are surrounded by nostalgia, laughter, and melancholy. As if she were sharing her secrets with the reader, Kathy tells us about her friendship with Tommy D. and Ruth, her best friends and partners in fears, desires, and anxieties.
Why are there so many children in Hailsham? How come we never hear about their parents? What kind of school is that, after all? Kathy H. never wonders about these things, even though that is exactly what intrigues readers. Hailsham's secrets, as well as the startling future of its students, are revealed nonchalantly through Kathy's words as unimportant, routine facts.
There's something obsessive about reading "Never Let me Go." As you go through the pages, especially after Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth leave their routine in Hailsham, it is impossible not to ask yourself certain things. What makes us human? What are we made of? What is the essence in all of us? Are we all capable of love?
Ishiguro addresses these issues with sensibility, in an almost inconspicuous way, while making us aware of a reality that is cruel and immoral at the same time, but never impossible.
This book is an admirable literary work. The author's prose is reflected in the apparent simplicity of Kathy's words, but it goes beyond trying to make readers identify themselves with the characters. In a wider scope, it brings up disturbing questions that are also moving and take readers completely out of their comfort zone―as a good story should.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The novel was adapted to the screen in 2010. It was directed by Mark Romanek, starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Charlotte Rampling, and Sally Hawkins.
GUSTAVO ARAUJO was born in Curitiba, State of Paraná, in 1973. In 1996, he created a blog to talk about his travel experiences, and that was when he fell in love with writing. When social networking websites became popular around 2005, he started to experiment with short stories. In 2009, he published his first novel, O artilheiro ["The Goal Scorer"], which was shortlisted for the National Contest promoted by SESC (Social Service of Commerce). His work has the YA universe as a backdrop, exploring the difficult transition from innocence to the real world, platonic love, conflicts with parents, and how loyalty among friends is put to the test.