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The Power of Memory in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go

I stumbled upon a book-shelf in my friend’s apartment and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go instantly attracted my attention. I’d heard about Ishiguro but never really had the chance to read his book. ‘May I borrow this one?’ I asked my friend. ‘Sure thing!’ she said. And that was how I ended up with another book on a queue when I had not even finished the one I bought the week before. Three months later, after my hectic semester ended, I finally had the opportunity to finish it!


I loved this book, a lot. I must say that I have watched its movie version starring Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley—and I did not realised it only after I finished the first chapter. Then after realising, I was wondering if I would know how the story goes. Well, I did. However, despite of the fact that both the book and the movie have the same plot, the experience of reading it was totally amazing! I am obsessed with how Ishiguro delivers memory in such a detailed manner through texts. Taking place at Hailsham, a school in the countryside of England, Kathy H reminisces her past including her traumatic experiences which soon unfold a big secret about her and other students’ identity. I will not tell you how the story goes, because you should definitely read it yourself! But I can tell you one thing: you would feel like you’re inside Kathy H’s head throughout the book. Ishiguro places you in Kathy H’s position and makes you see things the way she sees it.

Through a recount narrative, Kathy H tells past events according to her point of view. This is what I mean by being inside her head. She tells stories independently and according to her own perspectives, which drive the readers to consider it as what really happens. There are no other options rather than to agree with the narration that she tells, even though generally speaking, memory is sometimes not to trust. It can be mixed with other events and personal desires as well.

In this book, Kathy H's memory is depicted as the truth. Her memory then posits subjectivity. This subjectivity is what creates a protagonist figure in Kathy H’s character. Ishiguro as the writer is on her side. Whatever Kathy H does in her past and present are mostly right, and whatever other characters do might be all wrong (Ruth B is pictured as a pain in the ass in this book! But is she really?) After all, Never Let Me Go is exciting to read. The power of memory through a recount narrative is detailed and the characters conveying this memory are vivid. I am thinking about buying this book, instead of borrowing, to add to my collections!
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