One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:

Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro

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The first half of the book covers several years in the lives of a group of students attending Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school. Their lives encompass sports, arts, education, and friendship, but without any outside contact except for their guardians who oversee them and tell them repeatedly that they are special. As they approach graduation and their pre-ordained adult lives, they are forced to face the grim reality.

In the latter half, they come to terms with their roles and begin to understand the purpose behind Hailsham. By the end, the reader is left to question whether the creators of the school were noble in their intentions.

Fair warning—spoilers ahead. This book is nigh on impossible to discuss without revealing more. I will admit, however, that my second reading was far more rewarding because I understood the situation better.

Imagine a world not very different from our own where medical science can attack a variety of illnesses, reduce suffering, and prolong human lives. By using cloning technology, we can produce the needed body parts. But are the clones human? Do they have souls? Or are they mere animal products to be harvested as needed? Do we have an obligation to treat the clones in a humane fashion as they are brought to harvest (Hailsham) or treated like cattle (outside Hailsham)?

By taking us through these questions from the viewpoint of the clones as they approach the adulthood and the impending donations (the “best” surviving four donations before they “complete”), the author takes us deep through these moral questions. Are the guardians right in trying to create a comfortable existence for the clones admirable or complicit? Ultimately, the author makes us question what is the definition of human.

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