Hopefully it is no secret that we buy pre loved books, we have a regular ebb and flow of customers who bring us their papery possessions which hopefully find new happy hands and eyes. Some people come on a regular basis. There is this elderly gentleman who comes and sells us books on a regular basis (I am pretty sure before retiring he used to sell books for a living and is now selling for either the love or kicks. Fact is he is a sweet old man.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never let me go is set in the early 1990’s and is a quietly disturbing novel which aims to make us question the ethics of science without ever directly raising the topic.
The narrator of Never Let Me Go is Kathy H., a woman who introduces herself as a “carer” months away from becoming a “donor,” as though we should know what these terms mean. This nearness to ending one stage of her life to entering another causes her to reminisce about Hailsham, the school in the English countryside where she grew up with her two closest friends, Tommy D. and Ruth. The three form an unlikely trio: Ruth is headstrong and imaginative; Tommy has an uncontrollable temper; and Kathy is steady and observant in the subtleties of human behavior. It is this last quality belonging to Kathy H. that sets the tone of the novel. Everything is precisely told in a down to earth voice that never questions the strange terminology and conversations that alert the reader to something more grave lurking under what seems, on the surface, to be an ordinary story about three childhood friends. As the three grow up, they begin to face moments more important than the minor disagreements of childhood.
Ishiguro’s richly textured description of the relationship among the three supplies all the details without confronting the larger issues. As Kathy tells us, the guardians at Hailsham both tell and not tell the students the truth about Hailsham and their lives-exactly what Ishiguro does to the reader. The truth is doled out in steady increments, over the course of the entire novel, requiring the reader to understand what is implied as much as what is told. The frightening side to all this is that the characters never question the course of their lives. No one runs, or questions why they are the ones to make the ultimate sacrifice. One of the most poignant moments comes near the end when Kathy says, “Why should we not have souls?” By this point, it has been apparent to the reader that Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are human in every sense of the word, with talents and intelligence and faults and complex emotions, and yet are regarded as both freaks and disposables by the “normals.” For the reader, these characters are anything but expendable.
Enter this alternate world where the past is also the future.
Half the world has them. Some of us have lost them. Some of us would like to. The rest of us can’t stop looking at them! Breasts unite women in a way few other things can, and these entertaining stories from some of the world’s most popular female authors celebrate bosoms great and small, with all royalties donated to breast cancer research. Explore the dark, sexy underbelly of Paris with Kate Holden, enjoy a fractured fairy tale from Meg Rosoff, let Jools Oliver share her warm tales of breastfeeding her babies with a very famous Naked Chef, and enjoy Kathy Lette’s “Ode to Barbie” as well as Maggie Alderson’s imaginings of walking a mile in another woman’s bra cup.
About the Author
Edited by author Sarah Darmody. Sarah had her breasts removed at age 29 and is an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Contributors include Marian Keyes, Monica McInerney, Jools Oliver, Adele Parks, Maggie Alderson, Kate Holden, Sarah MacDonald, Sinead Moriarty, Fiona McIntosh, Kathy Lette, Mia Freedman, Kaz Cooke and many more.
A husband smashes a paperweight on the hand of his nympo wife as she rumages through his desk. The brutality is not payback for her affairs, but a warding off of her perceived attempt to snoop into his unfinished “poisonous opus.”
Are we, the morbid readers of a piece which the master never finished and, as the legend goes, he gave instructions to destroy on his death bed, the ones who really deserve the bruised knuckles? Many who shell out full price for this thick hardcover which contains less than four thousand words will no doubt feel a certain feeling of being shafted. The decision to publish photographic images of Nabokov’s original index cards side-by-side with a typeset version is kind of charming. Is this a way of adding more pages to the big hardback???
The novel is about a fat, aging professor who copes with death by turning it into a sexual game and who copes with his wife’s serial infidelities by writing a humiliating novel about her.
As a side project, the professor is deconstucting, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” We get plot and character in fragments. Yet the story is full of surging emotions. These are disturbed and quite often really nasty folks. One can still care for the characters nevertheless, despite them and despite the fact that the novel is barely a first draft. Less is more, and with Nabokov nothing is more than less.
The story behind the book’s journey to print overshadows the actual story in the book, which itself is a unique literary achievement. In the introduction, Dimitri Nabokov explains the curse of his inheritance: does he go ahead and destroy the text or does he publish it. In the end, he decides for our benefit: he is no longer going to deal with the debate, no more being hounded by academic stalkers. He has made us all the caretaker of his curse. We even get our own set of index cards…
Excerpt – Eeeee Eee Eeee by Tao Lin
“Sometimes when dolphins went to playgrounds alone they did the monkeybars and went to the swings and on the swings thought, “I hate this stupid world.”
They thought, “I hate it.”
They cried a little with the wind against their face.
They felt so bad that they went away.
And found Elijah Wood and told Elijah Wood to go with them and Elijah Wood went–because he thought it was a movie. Elijah Wood and other celebrities like Salman Rushdie rode dolphins in rivers. Salman Rushdie felt proud and famous. And the dolphins swam to islands and beat Elijah Wood and the other famous people with heavy branches. They cried when they murdered human beings, and it was terrible.
One dolphin had a battle axe and killed Wong Kar-Wai.”
The book covers the life of Andrew, a recent college graduate working at Domino’s Pizza while over-analyzing every aspect of his life: past, present and lack of a future.
When at one point, Andrew states that he wants to “wreak complex and profound havoc” upon capitalist establishments such as Coke, it feels like Lin is attempting a similar attack on organized art.
The book confronts the and sarcastically laughs in its face. The book has a lot of dolphins and bears trying to cope with life’s disappointments such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Elijah Wood and Salman Rushidie.
Lin’s sympathetic fascination with the meaning of life is full of profound and often hilarious insights.