Clone wars!

(I apologize.  But really, is it so wrong that I can’t pass up a Star Wars reference?  I think not.)

Although I’m very interested in the subject of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, “Never Let Me Go”, I just haven’t been able to really engage with it while I’m reading it.  After the fact, when I’m thinking about it, I think it’s fascinating.  It’s very meticulously crafted, with all the important information doled out carefully over the chapters.  It’s also a very interesting social commentary, and I think very relevant.  We do tend to walk blindly in the direction of our “fate” without stopping to argue or consider the alternatives, just like the clones in the novel.  That’s the message that has been most relevant for me, I think.

I’m not sure why I can’t connect with the actual writing.  I think it has something to do with the second person narrative.  Every time Kathy calls me into the book, I find it jarring.  It takes away my autonomy, my ability to insert myself into the story when I want, and where I want.

Now that I’ve written that, it seems really brilliant.  The whole novel is about not having any true autonomy, and about the illusion of autonomy and the unconscious surrender of autonomy.  The clones are allowed to live a semi-normal life most of the time (we are allowed to read the book as we normally would, most of the time).  By removing my autonomy as a reader, and forcing me to come into the book on Kathy’s terms, Ishiguro makes me complicit in my own discomfort.  Just like the clones.  Although, thankfully, when I completed the book I wasn’t completed myself!

I don’t mind books that make me uncomfortable.  Comfort zones are, in general, highly over-rated.  But I like a specific kind of discomfort and “Never Let Me Go” gave me something else.  It was interesting, and valuable, and has led to some great conversations and new things to think about it, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the process of reading it.

I don’t know what it was like for you, but for me it was quite unsettling.


~ by Gloom Fairy on June 15, 2010.

One Response to “Clone wars!”

  1. Right on – the 2nd person perspective is, in my opinion, the most disturbing aspect of the text.

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