Book seventeen: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

It's hard to write about this book without giving away a central element of the plot but I'll do my best. Never Let Me Go is the story of three friends, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. Narrated by Kathy, now in her early thirties, the book explains how they became close during their time at school, how they drifted apart afterwards and how they were reconciled.

However, the trio and their classmates are not like other people. They are different in a way that will determine the course of their lives. It's this difference that Ishiguro keeps from us until almost a third of the way into the book.

Of course by then you will almost certainly have guessed. The truth will have seeped in through a series of hints and half-noticed asides. Ishiguro does this quite deliberately, allowing us to learn in the same way his characters do. However, we are not as naive as they are and we can fully appreciate the horror of their situation.

This characters are still naive in adulthood and Ishiguro shows it in the childish tics of their language and their mistaken dreams for the future.

The book is about the innocence of childhood, about the need for companionship and the power of hope. But most of all it's about how we come to terms with death.

Ishiguro handles his themes brilliantly. The world his characters inhabit feels remote, skewed somehow but that's as it should be. These characters are of our world but removed from it at the same time and Ishiguro builds that into the very fabric of his novel.

This is a tremendous book and a very sad one. I hope I've said enough to make you want to read it but I hope I haven't said too much.