Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Introduced by Claire Messud
Illustrated by Kate Miller

Published by The Folio Society.

‘Masterly … A novel with piercing questions about humanity’
The Sunday Times

‘A gothic tour de force … an oblique and elegiac meditation on mortality and lost innocence’
New York Times

This Folio Society edition includes a new introduction by author Claire Messud. She describes the ‘thin but intense literary vein that runs from King Lear to Beckett and beyond, works that lay bare the human condition in its stark fundamentals … Without fanfare or Dostoevskian histrionics, Never Let Me Go joins the ranks of these abiding works.’ Kate Miller’s snapshot-like illustrations are appropriate to the uncertain but heartfelt nature of Kathy’s narration.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005, this is both an ingenious dystopian fable and an unforgettable story about friendship, love and the value of human life. As in The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro shows a protagonist looking back on a seemingly happy past that appears very different in retrospect.

 

‘None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you …’

England, late 1990s. Kathy H., a carer, looks back on her school-days at Hailsham. It is an idyllic place, with an art room, playing fields and a duck pond – but a very different life awaits its pupils after they graduate. Kept isolated from the outside world, they dimly understand that one day they will have to make ‘donations’, though the nature of these is unclear. Later, rumours circulate: that the winners of art competitions, or couples who are in love, will be exempt. But neither their privileged education, nor the love between Kathy and her friends Ruth and Tommy, can save them from their eventual fate.

 

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