Never Let Me Go

Version: Unabridged
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Genres: Literature
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: April 2005
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 9 hours
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From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.
Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.
Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews (13)

Loved It

Written by Liza on April 17th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I loved this novel, it is well written and also makes you think, raising hard questions. Where is the lines of what humans are allowed to do to improve their life? (I bet this is not only for the future/imaginary options but that each one of us can think of past and present reality that falls into this). Should you be told in advance if you are going to suffer, or are you better off not knowing? What does art mean to us and why do we bother to create? Should you except your fate if you knew it, or should you try fighting anyway? I have to mention that I couldn't stand the character of Ruth throughout the whole book. She is so vain, self centered and trying to look better than she is, and better than the others. Maybe that would be the one thing that I would change, because I think she could be more likable. It is a sad and dark book, even if marvelous, so just heads up to people who prefer different types of stories.

Felt like it needed more

Written by Lindsay from West Caldwell, NJ on January 25th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I chose this audiobook when I saw they were adapting the novel into a movie. I have to say, listening to this audiobook makes me a bit hesitant to see the movie. The premise here is that we're in an alternate late-20th-century England. Most of life is the same, except that scientists have perfected human cloning in order to make people who can donate organs. The "donors" are raised in special schools and trained to accept that they will die after donating organs. Our story follows Kathy and her friends Ruth and Tommy as they go through school . While at school they create works of art that are taken away--which is supposed to be a mystery. This book had a lot of potential to be a great study of a world with the ability to create life ...only to destroy it. The book doesn't really deal with this at all, though. And none of the characters are overly likable, so they're not easily empathized with. An interesting premise, but not a book I would recommend.

It's Okay to Let This One Go

Written by Anonymous on August 4th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

If you enjoy a selection where nearly every line ends in something like: "I will explain why this conversation was so important a little later." The narrator is always promising to explain some meaning "later." Well, in this piece, later never comes.

Not his best

Written by tthomson53 from Richmond, VA on May 12th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Ishiguro has long been my favorite author (particularly "The Unconsoled" and "When We Were Orphans"), but I simply can't grasp or fully appreciate "Never Let Me Go". I have both read and listened to it now, in the hope of liking it more, but I don't. The writing is phenomenal, but the story is an absolute snore, and the incredible detail on Kathy's and others' most inconsequential thoughts, perceptions, moods, and recollections leaves me numb and disinterested. Of course, I may view all this as inconsequential because I have totally missed the point, but there you are. I just don't get it. But I still can't wait for his next one...


Written by Anonymous on January 17th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Well written book. However, the subject matter was bleak.

Mesmerizing tale

Written by Peggy Stortz on March 21st, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Rarely do I award a book five stars, but this one deserves it. Ishiguro lets his story unfold so gently, a hint here, a suggestion there as the earthshaking secrets are illuminated. This tale is so thought provoking and so authentic, it will stay with me for a long, long time.

Disturbing in a quiet way and sad

Written by Angelika Teal from Northfield, NH on October 17th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

The book content and story line was very disturbing, but not in a gross or obvious way. It starts out almost boring and the very horrifying and inhumane truth about that special government program trickles in very slowly until it takes over the whole book. I liked the reader who did an excellent performance. I was shocked by how passively these students accepted their cruel and pre-determined destiny without questioning or open rebellion. But was moved by the very tastefully delivered love story between Kathy and Tommy. A lot of readers found the ending anti-climatic, but I liked it, it fit in well with the sad and quiet resignation that runs througout the book. Readers who look for instant gratification and thrill will not like the book, they will find it boring. You have to work at this book and 'earn' it to fully appreciate it. I did give it only 4 stars, because it can be slow at times and it takes a while to get into the story line.

Riveting, haunting, and relevant

Written by Helen Luey on September 5th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I found this book riveting throughout and haunting after I finished it. It has many levels. First, it is a touching coming of age story about a very sensitive, observant woman. Second, it is a mystery about the nature and meaning of the science fiction environment the characters live in. Third, as the story progresses, it becomes social commentary about the relationship between mainstream society and those it exploits. Finally, it becomes a penetrating allegory depicting the human condition in late life. Altogether, it is an exceptionally fascinating and memorable book.

Never Let Me Go

Written by Mark Prebilic on June 19th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I found this story to be both intriguing and disturbing. I didn't realize before reading it that it would be as much science fiction as a literary novel. I found myself really caring for the main character (Kathy) and I think Ishiguro does a masterful job of revealing her character and the truth of the meaning of her life.

Slowly surprising

Written by Laurel Ralston on November 21st, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This is a story that slowly unfolds as you begin to understand what is happening and just who these kids are. It was a wonderfully unique story and timely with all the stem cell research talk. I do wish, however, that the characters had not submitted to their destiny and had tried to escape to America like they talked about when they were younger. The narrator is not bad, sometimes a little too mellow, but never quite falling into boring.

Author Details

Author Details

Ishiguro, Kazuo

Kazuo Ishiguro is thw author of four previous novels, including "TheRemains of the Day, " which won the Booker Prize, and "An Artist of the Floating World, " which won the Whitbread Award. He lives in London.