Ishiguro on his clones’ passivity

The Guardian‘s book club continues its discussion of Kazuo Ishiguro’s gripping Never Let Me Go, one of the most impressive new books I read in 2005.

Several readers have raised the same objections I had — i.e., “Why would the Hailsham donors read and discuss complex works of literature, poetry and philosophy and not question or rebel against their fate in any way?” For his part, Ishiguro reportedly

said that he sympathised with the objection to the apparent passivity of the clones. When faced with the task of making some axiomatic condition of a novel more plausible, his instinct as a novelist had always been to avoid the problem. “Let’s just assume that it is out of the question for them to escape. There is some big reason why it is impossible … You just ask the reader to enter into the conceit.” He admitted that he had no interest in sci-fi possibilities of technical explanation, which is why the book is set not in the future but the very recent past (“England, late 1990s”).


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