Kathy, a 31-year-old caregiver, grew up at an exclusive school called Hailsham, where the students were treated with particular care and told how special they were. They were sheltered from the outside world and encouraged to use their talents and appreciate those of others. But lurking around the edges of their nearly idyllic life were always reminders that they had a unique future ahead of them, a role in society for which they had been designed.
As an adult, Kathy has the opportunity to work with some of the friends with whom she was close at Hailsham, and her reconnection with them causes her to look back on those days and remember the complex relationships she had — as well as the signs that pointed toward the limited future of her and her fellow students.
In Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro explores these relationships through Kathy’s memories and how they affected the future. He drops the tiniest of hints throughout the book about what almost sinister fate awaited these special students, and weaves them in among the memories. The book involves quite a bit of mystery about the role of the Hailsham students, but it is about much more than a dystopian society; it is about friendships and humanity. Ishiguro explores these topics with a deft touch, and readers will put down his book thinking about its themes for long after they have finished.
Rated: Mild, for a handful of uses of mild and moderate language, and frequent references to sex, though there are few details.