Because I’ve been consumed with one of those jobs that requires 12 hours- a-day attention, I haven’t been reading much, but I do get to have some time with my precious audio books, and so I turned my attention to something more literary for my last listen, knowing I wouldn’t be getting do that with a physical book. Some spoilers follow!
The narrator of Never Let Me Go has a comforting, almost bucolic way of telling the story. Can a person speak in a bucolic way? Probably not, but that’s the word I’m going with. You are constantly dragged into feeling like the story is a never-ending summer, or the feeling you have when you’re just a passenger in a car on the road, and I think that’s the point of Never Let Me Go. Ishiguro wants you to feel lost; to feel like none of it has any purpose, and that the mundane details our unreliable narrator doles out are hiding a more sinister plan. The voice actor is excellent in her delivery, using the right voices for characters who aren’t Kath, and managing to sound focused and lost in her rememberings of her life. The point is in the mundane here, because the characters live deeply average lives like the rest of us, though they suffer deeply different fates.
Strangely enough, I think it’s better to go into the book knowing the ending than it is to not know it, so spoilers follow (although the movie trailer also gives this away). You kind of need to know that the characters are clones destined for organ donation to understand why the mundane details of Ruth and Kath’s relationship are so important, and why Tommy’s suffering and inability to fit in is so tragic. They’re beautifully rendered, real people, and Ishiguro lets us know they all have souls through their averageness, even if the world they exist in doesn’t believe the same.
It’s melancholy and beautiful, and easy to get lost listening for hours. Easily one of the better performed audiobooks I’ve spent my time with this year.