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Never Let Me Go

Written by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go
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Category: Fiction - Science Fiction - General; Fiction - Literary; Fiction - Coming Of Age
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: March 2006
Price: $16.00
Can. Price: $0.00
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7877-6 (1-4000-7877-6)
Pages: 304
Also available as a hardcover.

Finalist for the Man Booker Prize 
Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the ALA Alex Award

From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.

As a child, Kathy—now thirty-one years old—lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed—even comforted—by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance—and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.

“[A] wonderful novel, the best Ishiguro has written since the sublime The Remains of the Day.” –Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

“One of our subtlest observers, a writer who takes enormous gambles, then uses his superior gifts to manage the risk as tightly as possible . . . The voice he’s written for [the narrator] is a feat of imaginative sympathy and technique . . . Ishiguro has a way of pitting innocence against experience, while reminding us that we’re capable of both.” –The New York Times Book Review

“A gothic tour de force that showcases the same gifts that made Mr. Ishiguro’s 1989 novel, The Remains of the Day, such a cogent performance . . . An oblique and elegaic meditation on mortality and lost innocence . . . What Mr. Ishiguro has done so artfully in these pages is not only assemble a chilling jigsaw puzzle, but also create a distinct fictional world.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review

“Ishiguro has the audacity and technical mastery to wind us through [a] novel that may be his best, and which is certainly his most resonant and moving.” —Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Profoundly thoughtful . . . extreme and heartbreaking.” —The Atlantic Monthly

“An elegaic, deceptively lovely book . . . What begins as a mystery with futuristic undertones ends up an engrossing meditation on the here and now. As always, Ishiguro pulls you under.” —Newsweek

“[A] superbly unsettling, impeccably controlled novel . . . The book’s irresistible power comes from Ishiguro’s matchless ability to expose its dark heart in careful increments . . . After you read it, give it to a friend.” —Entertainment Weekly

“A page turner and a heartbreaker, a tour de force of knotted tension and buried anguish . . . Never Let Me Go could easily be mistaken for a political novel or a futuristic thriller, but at its dark heart it’s an existential fable about people trying to wring some happiness out of life before the lights go out.” —Lev Grossman, Time magazine

“Like Ishiguro’s previous works, his sixth novel is so exquisitely observed that even the most workaday objects and interactions are infused with a luminous, humming otherworldliness . . . This is an epic ethical horror story, told in devastatingly poignant miniature.” —Publishers Weekly

“That this stunningly brilliant fiction echoes Caryl Churchill’s superb play A Number and Margaret Atwood’s celebrated dystopian novels in no way diminishes its originality and power. A masterpiece of craftsmanship that offers an unparalleled emotional experience. Send a copy to the Swedish Academy.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Ishiguro’s elegant prose and masterly ways with characterization make for a lively tale of memory, self-understanding, and love.” —Library Journal

“Ishiguro’s provocative subject matter and taut, potent prose have earned him multiple literary decorations . . . In this luminous offering, he nimbly navigates the landscape of emotion—the inevitable link between present and past and the fine line between compassion and cruelty, pleasure and pain.” —Booklist

“A clear frontrunner to be the year’s most extraordinary novel . . . Graceful and grim, the novel never hardens into anything as clear-cut as allegory but it resonates with disquieting suggestiveness . . . Not since The Remains of the Day has Ishiguro written about wasted lives with such finely gauged forlornness.” —The Sunday Times

“Emotionally convincing . . . no more and no less than an image of man’s life, painful to receive, hard to put away.” —The Evening Standard

“Brilliant . . . What at first seems like an account of childhood in an idyllic country boarding house turns out to be sinister and profoundly troubling, a book that questions at the deepest level what it is to be human.” —Vogue

“Kazuo Ishiguro is a master storyteller, in a class of his own making . . . [He] throws light on ordinary human life, the human soul, human sexuality, love, creativity and childhood innocence. He does so with devastating effect.” —The Independent

“Ishiguro’s fable resonates in our world, glancing at our human ability to maintain unexamined spots of moral blindness in our consciousness . . . The novel is masterly.” —The Daily Telegraph

“This is a fine novel, fiction as moving and horrific as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or John Wyndham’s The Chrysalis.” —The Times

“One’s inclination is to trust Ishiguro, who is usually faultless. Certainly, Never Let Me Go reads like a dream in which a nightmare has become real. It is elegaic, compelling, otherworldly, deeply disturbing and profoundly moving.” —The Sunday Herald

Praise for Kazuo Ishiguro:

“His books are Zen gardens with no flowery metaphors, no wild, untamed weeds threatening — or allowed—to overrun the plot.” —The Globe and Mail

“A writer of Ishiguro’s intelligence, sensitivity and stylistic brilliance obviously offers rewards.” —The Gazette (Montreal)

“Kazuo Ishiguro distinguishes himself as one of our most eloquent poets of loss.” —Joyce Carol Oates, TLS

“Ishiguro is a stylist like no other, a writer who knows that the truth is often unspoken.” —Maclean’s

“One of the finest prose stylists of our time.” —Michael Ondaatje

“Ishiguro shows immense tenderness for his characters, however absurd or deluded they may be.” —The Guardian

“[Ishiguro is] an original and remarkable genius.” —The New York Times Book Review


NOMINEE - National Book Critics Circle Awards
WINNER 2006 - ALA Alex Award
FINALIST - Man Booker Prize
WINNER 2017 - Nobel Prize in Literature


Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and now lives in London, England. Each of his understated, finely wrought novels has been published to international acclaim. He was in both of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists anthologies, and won the Booker Prize at thirty-four for Remains of the Day.