Eventually Let Me Go

Somewhere on the hard drive of my old laptop is an unfinished blog post praising the Kazuo Ishiguro novel The Remains of the Day, which I read over Canadian Thanksgiving or maybe Christmas two or three years ago. It was brilliant and heartbreaking. I never actually posted about it, though.

Somewhere in one of my old notebooks is a page or so of scribbled thoughts about Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans, which I read over American Thanksgiving or maybe Christmas last year. When We Were Orphans hit me even harder than Remains of the Day, which is saying something. I powered through the book in two flights and a layover, then walked around in a daze for most of the next week. But I never did get around to typing those scribbles into my computer.

So this year I’m going to get this down before I forget to do it: We went up to my parents for Thanksgiving this weekend, and in between the big dinner and the hike up Foley Mountain and the all-camp Cranium championship, I was lost to the world in Ishiguro’s latest novel, Never Let Me Go. There must be something about his tragically deluded narrators and slow sickening reveals that goes with turkey dinner like cranberry and stuffing. Which is not to say that the big reveal to the reader is the point—in all three books, it’s the moment when the narrator figures everything out that kills you. And what’s worse is the subsequent realization that they’ve probably always known.

There are lots of other things I could be posting about on this Thanksgiving Monday. Lots of bigger things to be thankful for. But my little shoutout to Ishiguro’s sparse little masterpieces of delusion and grief has been postponed long enough.

Edit: How topical am I? The Booker Prize for 2005 was announced today, and Never Let Me Go was on the shortlist. OK, it didn’t win, but Ishiguro already has a Booker—and my little blog post will no doubt mean just as much to him as Britain’s most influential literary award.

1 Comment

  1. I listened to Never Let Me Go on my iPod while travelling back and forth to work this fall. I’d tried to read it a couple of years ago and it hadn’t taken but the audiobook experience was…exquisite. What an amazing depth of insight.

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