Never Let Me Go (2005), Kazuo Ishiguro. Paperback, 304 pages.
Awards: Short list for Booker Prize, The Alex Award.
Summary: Students at a special boarding school gradually discover what sets them apart from the rest of humanity. For a more detailed summary, click here.
My name is Kathy H. I'm thirty-one years old, and I've been a carer for over eleven years. that sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the end of this year.
Maybe the volume had been turned up by whoever had been using it last, I don't know. But it was much louder than I usually had it and that was probably why I didn't hear her before I did. Or maybe I'd just got complacent by then. Anyway, what I was doing was swaying about slowly in time to the song, holding an imaginary baby to my breast. In fact, to make it all the more embarrassing, it was one of those times I'd grabbed a pillow to stand in for the baby, and I was doing this slow dance, my eyes closed, singing along softly each time those lines came around again:
"Oh baby, baby, never let me go . . ."
The song was almost over when something made me realise I wasn't alone, and I opened my eyes to find myself staring at Madame framed in the doorway.
I froze in shock. Then within a second or two, I began to feel a new kind of alarm, because I could see there was something strange about the situation. The door was almost half open -- it was a sort of rule we couldn't close dorm doors completely except for when we were sleeping -- but Madame hadn't nearly come up to the threshold. She was out in the corridor, standing very still, her head angled to one side to give her a view of what I was doing inside. And the odd thing was she was crying. It might even have been one of her sobs that had come through the song to jerk me out of my dream.
Writing Quality: 7/10
Depth of Concept: 9/10
Rounded Characters: 8/10
Well-Developed World: 7/10
Page Turner: 7/10
Kept Me Thinking: 9/10
Overall Recommendation: 9/10