A provocative story rendered in a straight-forward compelling manner by a contemporary master of literary fiction.
Trevor (see above review) has it right: many who approach this novel expecting science fiction are likely to be disappointed. It does, I suppose, lend itself to the qualifiers of ‘science fiction’ or ‘horror,’ but those aspects of this story, while present, speak more to setting than the author’s point which seems to be the profound resignation to life’s circumstances no matter how dire they are.
Lit majors might tire of hearing ‘good authors teach you how to read his or her novel
,' but Ishiguro, a great author, does exactly that. His narrator speaks in a familiar, almost blasé, manner describing daily events at a children’s live-in school, but there’s always a sense of something else going on, something sinister, something ‘behind the curtain.’ Kathy, the narrator, engages the reader directly, expressing the need to go back to another event or enquiring if the reader’s experience is similar; in doing so, she breaks down the barrier between reader and fictive narrator exposing the reader to a more devastating finale. To his further credit, because you’ve begun to so identify with the narrator’s resignation, when dénouement occurs, it’s easier to withstand.
Readers interested in a professional review for this title might find James Wood’s review of this title helpful; I find Wood helpful every time I read him (see particularly: How Fiction Works). Warning: review contain spoilers