As I was saying, living in Pakistan means that television (especially the news channels) is so very entertaining that one does not get much time to read- however, living with the belief that the next day might very well be the last for democracy, I decided I might as well get my first review across while my opinion still matters.
The truth is, I love Andrew Garfield. He reminds me of the nerdy kid in high school with a giant crush on me, who would listen patiently to my infatuated ramblings about the school bully. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy- and it comes across so thoroughly in his movies that I can’t imagine him as anything other than a genuinely nice guy. In fact, while reading Never Let Me Go I couldn’t help thinking that no one other than Andrew Garfield could play the cluelessly sweet Tommy- except maybe Joseph Gordon Levitt (but that’s probably because I think JGL should play everything). Since NLMG has been made into a movie, the book is easily available in local bookstores.
Never Let Me Go is a quiet, calm touch-me-not of a book. You feel a strange whisper emanating from the pages, “Don’t ask too much. It might just clam up and die.” It never stops being a mystery- what is going on at Hailsham, the strange boarding school they study in which is so intent on keeping them away from the outside world? Who is the Madame that visits every month and why is their artwork so very important? Why aren’t they allowed to go out into actual cities and towns, or at least to a proper university when they graduate? Why is Ruth so f-ing horrible and what does Tommy, or Kathy for the matter, see in her? Is he so horny, and she so starved for friends?
So here’s how it is; at first, a sweet school story about two children completely different but still perfect for each other, kept apart by whiny, self obsessed friend, then a mystery and finally… science fiction? And then little by little we come to the truth and it is sickly disturbing. There’s no hope for Tommy or Kathy H. or poor Ruth. They’re just doing the Hokey Pokey and that’s actually what it’s all about. The gentle hopelessness of Kathy H’s narration dulls the horror of the premise, but it doesn’t stop being disturbing. Once you close the book and start imagining being a donor, you realize how well Kazuo Ishiguro has contained the emotions within the novel. It’s sad, sad, so heartbreakingly sad and yet you don’t tear up at any part of the novel. Like Kathy H., you just go on.