Friday, May 4, 2012

Never Let Me Go: Book & Movie

My first read of the summer was Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I will admit that I had not heard of the book until I found out there was going to be a movie. However, I did hold out seeing the film until I read the book. I honestly didn't know much about the book before diving in and reading it, and I kind of liked it like that, because after reading it I still find it very hard to summarize the gist of the book in a few sentences. Essentially what you need to know is that it's a dystopian book (though not set in future years, but in the 1970s-90s)  that focuses on three characters and their lives from a seemingly normal English boarding school all the way to their late twenties where they find each other again. This novel is narrated by the protagonist, Kathy, who addresses in the first sentence of the novel that she is a carer (though the reader may not understand the complications of what it means to be such a thing at that point).

What is unique about Ishiguro's approach to story-telling is that he addresses facts in the story in a subtle way. He doesn't come out and say "Kathy is a carer and this is what a carer does". He builds this dystopian world around familiar things and then adds in the fictional elements seamlessly. The fictional world of Never Let Me Go is not too far off from our own but it is the eery differences that make the story so interesting. Ishiguro writes in a way that gives his readers some credit to their inferential ability. It is also very important that Kathy narrate the story I feel, because she is such an introverted character that when she explains her story she tacks on all her thoughts and what she was feeling at the time (as well as what she presumes others were feeling). Though Kathy is not necessarily an identifiable character she provides an excellent and unique lens into this world. As for the film Carey Mulligan does a perfect job at portraying Kathy on screen. Yes, I am a huge fan of Carey Mulligan's previous work, but I promise that I'm not biased just because of that.

The book is broken up into three parts and the film follows suit accordingly. What the film captures that was less apparent in the book is the personality of the characters. Because Kathy narrates the story she tends to list the emotions of her friends Tommy and Ruth rather than identifying with them. The changing relationships amongst the three of them in the film was a lot easier to grasp, but of course that's the nature of film.

Over all I enjoyed both the novel and it's film adaptation. With a cast of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightley you can't really go wrong. I'm considering reading Remains of the Day after getting used to and ultimately really enjoying Ishiguro's writing style.

this summer-
Books read: 1
Films seen: 3
Hikes taken: 1
Song recommendation: Anna- Charlotte Gainsbourg

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