Have you ever read a classic? It is easier to know if you are reading an older publication. But how do we determine if the newer publication is a classic? I have devised a way! A contemporary classic will have the following few characteristics; first, it will be painful and/or slow read. It will make you question why are reading this book? Secondly, despite it being so, it will push you to read the entire story. Thirdly, it will not at all be dramatic (which means less entertaining!). It will be like our lives, slow and seemingly mundane. Fourthly, it will be devastating in the end. Fifthly, it will change your perspective towards life forever.
Never Let Me Go is one such contemporary pieces of work which won the Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 2017.
Preface of the plot
The book is first hand narrative of an English girl named Kathy in the late 1990’s England. It is about her and her friend’s lives (Ruth and Tommy) who
grew up were brought up in a country side boarding school called Halisham for one purpose only- organ donation.
These children’s origin is unknown to them and Halisham. They grow up together in a secluded environment where special emphasis in placed on keeping their internal organs healthy; where they cannot smoke and drink for fun and experiment with their lives, neither can they ever start a family; they are made aware of sex as a physical need, like breathing. Throughout their lives they keep wondering about the strange and mysterious little incidents happening around them, like little remarks by their teachers or memories from Halisham.
Despite believing their lives have been marred by their fate, they somehow inadvertently carry on until they fulfill their purpose and finally realize the real meaning of their lives.
In the plot, organ donation does not hold a central position, it is rather in the background. The story, instead, is about the evolution of these three individuals; it is as insightful as it can get; and certainly incomprehensible without contemplation!
Thoughts about the book: Knowledge and Innocence
The book is suspenseful throughout for the readers and the characters alike. One might feel pretty clueless about the plot most of the time. But considering this is not a drama, that kind of feeling is acceptable.
The book is based on a philosophy and that philosophy can be inferred form the events of the story. That philosophy being, our life has a purpose; everyone has different purposes, and we are to carry them out with or without the knowledge of that being so. When we start our lives, we are innocent, impressionable and completely oblivious of “the big picture of life”. It takes a while to become partly conscious or aware as a person, sometimes it takes a lifetime. However, while we are unwise and naive, we fail to appreciate what we really have, we fail to see the real nature of things, for the very fact that we are ignorant and naive! Expecting ourselves to be wise and enlightened when we are young is unrealistic. But that innocence, lack of wisdom and naivety itself is a gift that we all are in such a hurry to get rid of.
It is inevitable that we will become wiser by our experiences. But the tragedy is that only when we are on the verge of losing what we have or when we have already lost it, is when we finally realize it’s value.
A word of caution
There are no short cuts to reading this wonderful book. It cannot be simply read and understood, it demands to be thought over and discussed. The language of the book is simple and devoid of any difficult words, which makes it an easy read prima facie, until you start contemplating.
Neither would it be advisable to watch it’s adaptation before reading the book. The adaptation by the same title is a simplified version of the book, and it goes without say, that the book is always better than the movie!
I would like to thank my very special friend who gifted me this book. I hope you are reading this. Just with this simple book you have completely changed my life and filled my heart with more affection and gratitude for you. Thank you 🙂