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Never Let Me Go Discussion Thread. - Artemis Fowl Confidential Fan Forum

Never Let Me Go Discussion Thread.

Come here to participate in the AFC book club! Talk about books other than Artemis Fowl with other book-loving members.
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Postby Sydney Fowl » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:51 pm

Has nobody posted yet? Gasp! I just finished the book so I'll put in a HUGE spoiler tag right now.

HUGE SPOILERS UP UNTIL END
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
I MEAN IT! (good enough, its your funeral)
*********************************************************************************

The ending of this book was spectacular, the author is really amazing, the way they make the book seem so innocent, yet so sinister at the same time. I had thought the book to be nothing more then a recollection of some woman, and a story of her friends. I thought that a carer might be something of a nurse, and in a sense I was right, but also wrong.

After that outburst by the guardian about a third way through the book, acknowledging these students for what they really were, how they lived and how peacefully it seemed to them. I was amazed and my jaw even dropped and suddenly I understood why Halisham students were so special. And how this gallery was not just art, but an attempt to bridge the humanity of the students, to tell the world of their souls.

********************************************************************************
END SPOILERS
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Postby Diana » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:46 am

Yay! People are posting! SPOILERS IN WHITE. (Jangra, perhaps we should just put "spoilers" in the title? I mean, people only seem to be posting once they've finished the whole book...)

I knew it was organ donation from the very first time the word "donation" was mentioned, a little bit before that, actually... However, I didn't get the cloning thing until a lot later. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't click until it was explicitly mentioned. For many reasons I think it was better that way, it was much more of a mystery, and when everything was finally revealed in the last ~50 pages, it just seemed all so perfect and beautifully meshed.

I love Kazuo Ishiguro's endings. I've only read two of his books (the other one being The Remains of the Day) but both endings completely blew me away. They're not dramatic, but they draw you along, until finally, a bit after finishing the book, you just can't stop thinking about how absolutely wonderful and sad and perfect the entire thing was, all of it. (At least, that's how it was for me.)

I also adored how, from the very beginning, there was this sense of something very creepy about it, something haunting, which wasn't clearly defined until the end, and when it was, I had both expected it all along and was still surprised. That's the mark of a good book - when there's some sort of change or twist, and even if you *know* that it's coming, it can still surprise you.

The part where they were all in Norfolk was lovely... It was such a clear picture, and it said so much about the characters. I loved all of the settings, actually - true, characters are what make a book, but the settings were just brilliant. It was all so different from experiences I've had, but it felt so realistic.

Huh, I guess I'm mostly gushing. But Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the few authors who really, truly deserves to be gushed about, in my opinion.
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Postby Gus » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:46 pm

I finally finished. Spoilers in white.


At first, I was really confused by it. And the confusion and stuff put me a bit off. It was the first chapter, and all these things about "carers" and "donors" and "working for so many years" and "Hailsham" and such. [s]I originally thought that they were blood donors[/s]

But once I got into the second chapter, it got more interesting. Stuff was actually happening.

The time jumps were slightly confusing. There were parts where the order was slightly messed up. But overall, it was fine. And it added realism; you can't expect your memories to be in the exact order, especially when you recall them like that.

The character development and progressions were good. The ending was also very nice. For me, the ending affects my opinion on the book a lot. When I finished NLMG, I just closed the book and sat down. And stayed like that for a couple of moments. Just like that. That's exactly the kind of reaction I want when I read a good book. If I just closed the book and walked away, then the ending wasn't so good...

I almost felt like one of the characters when Miss Lucy told them all it was about organ donations. It... didn't surprise me at all, and I felt like I knew it all along, and that was simply the confirmation I needed.

This idea about cloning people for organs... isn't exactly new. There are other books about it, movies, and such. I've discussed it with some friends. But our discussions are more from the scientific viewpoint. We don't ignore the moral issues, or forget to think about it from the clone's perspective. But we focus more on the practicality and stuff. Morality. The flaws of cloning.

It was nice to see this other viewpoint, and follow their lives and see them grow up.

This book... is different from others I've read. The plot seems simple, and... it appears simplistic. Just chronicling somebody's life. But... there's a lot more than that. There's meaning, and depth here. Not like many other books I've read.

Well, enough blabbering. This book is simply amazing. I'm glad I read it. I would have regretted not reading NLMG.


End spoilers.
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Postby Ihdreniel » Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:41 am

Sydney Fowl wrote:Has nobody posted yet? Gasp!

I had something I wanted to start discussion on, but I didn't post it right away because I was worried that I'd do the spoiler stuff wrong [/dorkiness]. I'll post my reaction of a couple sections later, when I have more time...

Diana wrote:I knew it was organ donation from the very first time the word "donation" was mentioned, a little bit before that, actually... However, I didn't get the cloning thing until a lot later. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't click until it was explicitly mentioned. For many reasons I think it was better that way, it was much more of a mystery, and when everything was finally revealed in the last ~50 pages, it just seemed all so perfect and beautifully meshed.

Agreed. I remember being all, "What? OhmyGod..." when I figured out it was cloning, and when they were following Kathy's (I think it was Kathy's... I haven't gotten to that part in the book this time around, and the last time I read this book was well over a year ago) double around, not quite getting it, but still, on some deeper level, kind of 'knowing, but not really wanting to admit it'.... AHHH! ::gushes::

Gus wrote:When I finished NLMG, I just closed the book and sat down. And stayed like that for a couple of moments. Just like that.

Yes!! It was just so... powerful and moving (and yes, innocent, but that's part of what made it so... wow)- I found the time jumps a bit confusing the first time I read it, too, but reading it for the second time now, they make more sense because I know the general plotline already. Razz
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Postby Diana » Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:15 am

Ihdreniel wrote:
Gus wrote:When I finished NLMG, I just closed the book and sat down. And stayed like that for a couple of moments. Just like that.

Yes!! It was just so... powerful and moving (and yes, innocent, but that's part of what made it so... wow)- I found the time jumps a bit confusing the first time I read it, too, but reading it for the second time now, they make more sense because I know the general plotline already. Razz

Ah, I know, me too! I finished reading, just set the book down, and thought for a few minutes, trying to preserve the feeling of complete satisfaction that comes with a PERFECT ending. (Book ending, that is. Not... Ah, nevermind. *yanks mind out of gutter*) I didn't want to read another book for a few days, because NLMG was just so perfect.

One of my major hates in literature is a crappy ending. For example: Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which I read a while ago. The book was good, and I expected a really sharp and brilliant ending, but the ending just kinda sucked. And I set that book down thinking, "Well, time to move onto another one; I hope my new book is better."

Does anybody have any criticisms of this book? Razz I can't think of anything negative at the moment... Perhaps I should skim the book again.
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Postby Sydney Fowl » Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:53 am

Diana wrote:
Ihdreniel wrote:
Gus wrote:When I finished NLMG, I just closed the book and sat down. And stayed like that for a couple of moments. Just like that.

Yes!! It was just so... powerful and moving (and yes, innocent, but that's part of what made it so... wow)- I found the time jumps a bit confusing the first time I read it, too, but reading it for the second time now, they make more sense because I know the general plotline already. Razz

Ah, I know, me too! I finished reading, just set the book down, and thought for a few minutes, trying to preserve the feeling of complete satisfaction that comes with a PERFECT ending. (Book ending, that is. Not... Ah, nevermind. *yanks mind out of gutter*) I didn't want to read another book for a few days, because NLMG was just so perfect.



Me too. I finished it in class and just sat there for a minuet and was thinking, "wow, just wow". But then class was over and my reflection was cut off. [s](My teacher said that if I just printed a book discussion then I don't have to fill out some stupid book report sheet, yay! )[/s]
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Postby sharkie » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:35 pm

I loved the book- I'm not going to deny that. But I loved it more in the school and the cottages than at the end. For some reason for me the thing that sucked me in and didn't let me put down the book was going a little at the end and the way Kazuo Ishiguro seemed write in a summary way wrather than telling it as it happened was brilliant at the beggining and I thought it was perfect for the book, but towards the end I was like no no no no- I want to hear more detail about what happened with you.
I'm not saying I disliked the book, as I didn't, but I felt that if you read most of it in one night and eventually put it down near the end, then picked it up the next day- it wouldn't seem like such a great ending.

Not to say I didn't love it- I did! THat's my only critism. I admire Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style more than any other authors, not to mention his simple language.
Writers often put in complicated things that make you feel quite dim for not understanding. But in the end I think everyone would prefer a car to an automobile any day of the week (and at one in the morning when I'm reading in bed) and this book caters to your sleepy moments
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Postby MASTER I » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:00 pm

Finished the book at last.

T'was good, can't deny that. It confused me a little at the beginning, about the carers et cetera. It all dawned on me in the next few chapters (yes, me being the slow processor I am), but I'm not going to say that I could predict the storyline, most of it came as a surprise to me.

sharkie wrote:I admire Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style more than any other authors, not to mention his simple language.
Writers often put in complicated things that make you feel quite dim for not understanding.
.


I agree with you about Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style, it's simple, yet stirs these emotions inside you. I like simple, it's quite moving too. If anyone's read William Nicholson's trilogy, I can relate the writing style to the style of those books, especially the poetry (vows).

I finished the book, then I just sat and put down my cutlery (yes, I was reading [s]during[/s] after dinner). My family thought there was something wrong with me, as everyone I know does when I stay silent and don't smile.

I thought over the book. The ending was good, I guess. It's sad that Ruth and Tommy "completed", and all the reflections back to Hailsham and about the forever-looking-for-it thing are lovely.
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Postby arty_gal » Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:35 am

I finished the book quite a bit of time ago taking Jangrafess' suggestions in the other thread. It was quite a challenge finding it.

It started off a little vague. More with questions than with answers, but not vague enough to put you off, so that was okay. I'll have to agree that I enjoyed the initial moments at Hailsham quite a bit. More than the ones at the cottages. However, everytime they left their protected environment it was quite intresting.
I figured out the organ donations part eventually, but the cloning part was more of a suspiscion. The 'carers' and 'donors' was a bit confusing for me. *shrugs* But I loved the writing style really! It was very different and almost refreshing. Very unique. Kazuo Ishiguro made the book stand out a lot because of the way he wrote it. That contributed to the already amazing stortyline immensly.
I can't honestly remember a detailed reaction to this book, but I do remember liking it. I'll be rereading it soon. I'm not allowed to read any new books these days, meh.

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Postby Sorcha » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:16 pm

I've just finished reading it. (and that spoilers in white thing doesn't really work for some people because of the different background use but I'll do so anyway).

It was powerful, had me thinking for ages afterwards, but in a depressed sort of way (it just all seemed so futile!). The way it was simply expressed made it all the more moving for me. The only thing negative I've got to say is about the flashbacks. It was as though she kept following a chain of thought, then suddenly jumped back to the point (maybe that was done intentionally but it seemed really muddled).
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Postby Hello » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:23 am

I finished it! It took me quite a while to get this book, but I found it [s]last friday[/s]! Very Happy I'm really wondering why it isn't in my local library, because it's simply brilliant.

I thought the beginning was confusing, but I loved the way we discovered everything slowly. Before we learned about the students being clones, I remember thinking ''Wait, why don't they ever talk about their parents?'' But I didn't want to stop reading so went on without giving it a second thought. The ending was beautiful, but very sad.

Congrats to Diana and Jangrafess, NLMG was a fantastic choice for the bookclub. Wink
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Re: Never Let Me Go Discussion Thread.

Postby Dim Aldebaran » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:45 pm

Yes... it was an amazing book, had me a bit red eyed, I loved the drifting sense of the writing, the characterizations... etc. However, there were a few big flaws that had me really bothered:

That would never happen. Not because our ethics will never degrade to that point - obviously, it can, look at various genocides across history - but because it doesn't make practical sense. So, you first spent plenty of money on a propaganda campaign to make this palpable to mainstream civilization. You then spend plenty of money and resources perfection human cloning. And then, you spend plenty of money and resources raising each invididual clone in a minimum of circumstances for food, hydration and medical suchness until an appropriate physical maturity for harvest, yet in this book, the further step of an excellent education, psychological fitness, and possessions was made. More resources.

Now... look at how the money/resources could have instead been used to develop more cost efficient ways of getting good organs. You could be working on things such as the present-day artificial heart, which are feasible (and probably a fair bit cheaper to develop and "manufacture".) But let's say that doesn't work. Clearly, they can clone. How far of a step is it to cloning individual organs? Why not just shoot for that, which would be far more cost effective? Or, even failing that, why not just create anencephalics so you don't have to spend as much money supporting them, and then not having to deal with the public policy/propoganda expenses?

And, as a side note: we discussed organ harvestation in my philosophy class as a reason to end a life... An interesting statistic he gave us was that if, after a natural death, organ harvestation was mandatory, versus only when there is donor consent, even discluding those organs that could not be donated due to problems (an alcoholic's liver, a smoker's lungs/heart, cancer patients, etc.) something like 2/3 of the organ deficiencies in this country would be solved! So, if this sort of policy was instituted (as I would think would already be the case in a country driven to cloning...) the majority of the problem would be solved. Not all of it, but it would be less urgent...

This bothered me immensely. If you take that whole situation as a given... sure. But you can't use it as a "warning" against cloning, since it's simply not cost effective, and so any government wouldn't really be keen on it when there's more feasible alternatives (that also present less ethical difficulties to the public... but that can be overturned with good propoganda so that's not much.)

Another problem. Repeat donations. I might just be missing something stupid here, but generally speaking, you lose a major organ, you die. So what are they going in repeatedly for? There's only a few things you can donate while still having time to live (briefly) between donations... kidneys, lung lobes, etc. (Not counting blood/marrow since that can be donated by anyone.) How does this work? This bothered me so much... so if I'm doing something stupid, yell at me before I get worked up about it.

The final problem I found was that there was no struggle. Everything was blindly accepted. Yes, there was conditioning to that state present... but there was nothing in these otherwise strong, independant characters, no sign of "Let's fight the system" or "This is immoral" or "The people we are dying to save are no more deserving than us of life" or... anything. At best? "Let's get a deferral for a few years." So, this novel felt very, very hollow at me at the core. Blind acceptance. Yes, most people would, given the situation presented in the novel, just follow along with this set "fate". But not everyone in even the most conditioned of situations...

So, I give it a 4/5. Emotionally powerful, but little else. Razz

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Re: Never Let Me Go Discussion Thread.

Postby Gus » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:48 pm

Yeah, I agree about the practicality stuff. [s]This is another one of those "soft" sci-fi books... use psuedoscience and leave it unexplained and ignore them, but focus on the characters and stuff.[/s]

Dim Aldebaran wrote:Another problem. Repeat donations. I might just be missing something stupid here, but generally speaking, you lose a major organ, you die. So what are they going in repeatedly for? There's only a few things you can donate while still having time to live (briefly) between donations... kidneys, lung lobes, etc. (Not counting blood/marrow since that can be donated by anyone.) How does this work? This bothered me so much... so if I'm doing something stupid, yell at me before I get worked up about it.

Hmm... you can definitely donate one of your kidneys. Blood/marrow donations could be repeated... Lung lobes, not sure, but I'll trust you. And pieces of the liver; let it regenerate and then grab another chunk.

So that's about four different organs... four donations, and then they die.
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Re: Never Let Me Go Discussion Thread.

Postby silverphoenix » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:05 pm

The book is really good and all (though I'm ashamed to admit I'm still not finished, I skipped and skimmed over parts of it Embarassed ), but I am appalled at how the Hailsham students just seem so unperturbed by the fact that they are clones being used to harvest organs. And they do this repeatedly, then die! It was so sad at the end, how Kathy and Tommy just accept the fact that they can't be together, and Tommy dies.
Last edited by silverphoenix on Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never Let Me Go Discussion Thread.

Postby Dim Aldebaran » Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:16 am

Hmm... you can definitely donate one of your kidneys. Blood/marrow donations could be repeated... Lung lobes, not sure, but I'll trust you. And pieces of the liver; let it regenerate and then grab another chunk.

So that's about four different organs... four donations, and then they die.
Yeah, I agree about the practicality stuff. [s]This is another one of those "soft" sci-fi books... use psuedoscience and leave it unexplained and ignore them, but focus on the characters and stuff.[/s]

Well, that still doesn't make sense. If the liver can regenerate, plus blood/bone marrow why not just let them live and harvest those periodically? Far more cost efficient than raising whole new ones every single time.

But for the major organs that can be donated without killing... why not just take them all at once versus having them spread over time? Again with cost efficiency: better to get them out all at once versus having to support them in "recovery" centers while waiting for the next one. Not to mention issues of how the other organs are going to deteriorate without the other ones in the system... So, it was just done as a drama point. That bothers me immensely. If you're going to talk about an issue like this, you have to look at these things if you expect to really make a point about your writing... and he didn't. Yes, marvelous book as far as drama is concerned... but you can't take it as anything else and it's... agh.

[s]I know, but it still bothers me. Some of the reviews I read of this book were all like, This is a warning to all you who want to clone things! and it's like, Erm, no, this book was actually pretty unrealistic no matter how desperate we are... Seriously, if you're going to be going, Oh the humanity of this situation! Oh, the angst! Feel it oozing out between the pages! and use that to make some statement about how Cloning=Bad Ethics, then for chrissakes look at the actual issues here. That's what really bothers me about soft science books... sometimes they get it just right, get the stuff out while still having that light concept stuff in there proper, but other times... like this...[/rant][/s]


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