Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do.”

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Title: Never Let Me Go
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Genres: Literary, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Historical Fiction
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Published: April 5th, 2005

My Rating: ★★★
Read: 12/25/2022 – 12/30/2022


This book has an interesting concept and poses a lot of intriguing questions about life and creativity. I only wish I’d latched onto it more.

The story follows Kathy as she reflects on her life and relationships at the Hailsham boarding school. In this ultimate universe, people like Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are lumped in these ‘schools’ as they were created with one purpose in mind — to be organ donors.

I’d call this light sci-fi, which I do like, I just found the pacing to be too slow (a similar issue I had with The Remains of the Day). There was also a glaring lack of world-building. Without a lot of context, I struggled to connect to the characters and the universe.

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Lovely prose. I often find Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing dry, but he has a knack for putting profound observations into words.
  • The contemplation of what makes a soul.

What I didn’t like:

  • The dry narration. I struggle to connect with the author’s characters. There’s a certain apathy and distance there.
  • I was more interested in the beginning, but the long, drawn-out, and repetitive conversations about sex made up a third of the story. It wasn’t that interesting to begin with.
  • Lack of world-building. It’s hard to care about the characters when you don’t know why they’re in this situation and what the depth of the world around them is like (and how it became a certain way).


This book was somewhat on my radar after reading The Remains of the Day but I wasn’t pushing other books aside to ensure that I read it until I saw that one of my favorite actresses is set to be in the upcoming Hulu series. I’m not sure I’ll watch it now that I’ve read it. The plot didn’t resonate with me in the slightest and if half the show is going to be those uncomfortable sex talks, I’m all set.

Where to buy the book:

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