I bought this book because the movie trailer looked pretty good, although I never got around to seeing the movie. Ishiguro has also written Remains of the Day, a book and film I'm sure you have heard of.
It is difficult to describe this book without giving the plot away so I'm going to share the synopsis from the book to start with!
Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy who grow up together at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic school deep in the English countryside with a dreadful secret at its heart. Now thirty-one, Kathy attempts to come to terms with her childhood at Hailsham and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, which is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
The story is narrated by Katy as she remembers her life at Hailsham where she was raised with her friends. Ishiguro manages to capture beautifully both the fragility and loyalty of childhood relationships along with the petty jealousies. From the start the atmosphere surrounding Hailsham has a sinister air about it. It was this that drew me in as I needed to find out more. As the story progresses you learn more about the characters and their relationships with each other. There is always a sense of foreboding; an evil fate awaits them and its implications slowly become clear as the story progresses. This fate that awaits them is incredibly shocking and moving.
There were times when I felt the narration rambled on a bit too much. The author frequently uses the line “But what I wanted to talk about was”, after having gone off topic for a few pages. I found this quite irritating. But perhaps I’m just not used to that particular style of writing?
Overall it is a story about density and fate. It evokes the chilling sense of our lives never having been what they could have been. It is an extraordinary novel which I highly recommend.
Describe it with two words? Haunting and memorable
Here's the movie trailer if you are interested. But BE WARNED it may spoil the book a bit!