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Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

Professor Robert Eaglestone on Never Let Me Go


  1. Ishiguro depicts complex relationships between history, guilt and complicity -- things that we are complicit in without even knowing
  2. Normal words are twisted into something sinister by the world of Never Let Me Go
  3. The conversational tone of the narrative puts the reader into a position complicity -- of someone who's in the know.
  4. It is a medical genocide that's hidden in plain sight -- everyone in the novel is complicit in this genocide, both the victims and the perpetrators. The clones themselves are complicit in their own destruction.
  5. The clones do and don't know what is going to happen to them: they know, but do not understand.
  6. Cathy will never be let go -- not just by society, but by her own mind.

"My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years. That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the end of this year."


"As she came to a halt, I glanced quickly at her face – as did the others, I'm sure. And I can still see it now, the shudder she seemed to be suppressing, the real dread that one of us would accidentally brush against her. And though we just kept on walking, we all felt it; it was like we’d walked from the sun right into the chilly shade. Ruth had been right: Madame was afraid of us. But she was afraid of us in the same way someone might be afraid of spiders."


"You’ll have heard the same talk… How maybe, after the fourth donation, even if you’ve technically completed, you’re still conscious in some sort of way; how then you find out that there are more donations, plenty of them, on the other side of that line; how there are no more recovery centres, no carers, no friends; how there is nothing to do except watch your remaining donations until they switch you off. It’s horror movie stuff. And most of the time people don’t want to think about it. Not the white coats, not the carers – and usually not the donors."

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