London Book Club: March

Posted on March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

For March’s London book club, we read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. The book club was equally divided on this book – half the group liked it and the other half didn’t like it at all. Out of those who had been to see the recent screenplay adaptation in UK cinemas last month, everyone preferred the book to the film.

Book vs Film

Those who had seen the film (or had even seen clips of the film) noticed there were a lot of differences between the film and the book. In some aspects, the film appeared to include details which were not included in the book. Quite a few people commented on how the book contained very few physical descriptions of the book’s characters; however the film, of course, did inform viewers about the physical appearance of individual characters. Those of us who hadn’t seen the film were very fascinated to know which bits of the story were in the film and which bits had been omitted. We were intrigued by the fact that aspects of the storyline had even been changed (especially bits which we had considered to be an essential part of the storyline, such as Kath’s interpretation of the song lyrics “Never let me go Baby”)!

Cloning, donations and ‘possibles’

Everyone was fascinated by various aspects of the different stages of the cloning and donation processes. For example, we wondered if ‘possibles’ (the individuals from whom each of the clones had been created) would recognise their clone should they ever accidentally bump into them on the street. We thought in fact that it would be the friends of the possible who might see the clone and then recognise them as a young version of someone that they know.

We did wonder why the clones never questioned the fact that they didn’t have parents. In fact, after they eventually found out from the Guardians at Hailsham that they were clones, even then they didn’t appear to question anything. There was certainly no attempt at rebellion against the fate that had been decided for them. The only thing that really came close to an act of rebellion was when clones sometimes tried to get a ‘deferral’ because of rumours from veteran students.

Also, we pondered if the reason behind the clones’ surnames was because they had no parents. One very clever suggestion was that perhaps the reason why Kath H is called ‘Kath H’ is because she was the next Kath that came after the clone that had been named ‘Kath G’. We all had our own ideas about which organs are donated and in which order they are donated – this was certainly something which a lot of people in our group had been wondering about.

What’s love got to do with it?

As a group we didn’t feel that Kath and Tommy were in love, and we found it bizarre that just because Ruth told them that they were in love and ought to try for a deferral, they actually did go and see Madame to see if they could get a deferral. Certainly, one thing that made us doubt Kath’s love for Tommy was that she didn’t seem to mind when Ruth was going out with him.

We did actually feel that it would’ve been nice to see things from the other characters’ points of view. We noticed that the narrator, Kath, would often try to sensationalise something before telling the reader what happened next in the story. We all agreed that Kath stood out as being a very devoted carer, though, particularly as the book both begins and ends telling us about Kath’s life as a carer. When discussing just how devoted a carer Kath was, we came to the conclusion that one word pretty much summed up her character throughout the whole book – ‘selfless’.