Discussion Day

I’ll publish my post covering the first section of Never Let Me Go Monday night. Until then, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Whatta ya think?

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Comments

  1. Anniina says:

    I’ve generally enjoyed it and thought it wonderfully written. However, what was revealed towards the end of section 1, I guessed on the second page already… maybe it comes from reading a lot of sci-fi, maybe it was too obvious. What do you think?

  2. I finished with Part I.
    I also think it is very well written. I like the suspense. Sometimes the writer drops a hint of an event only to return later on to that event. I did not guessed anything until almost the end of Part I., and the whole story seems really questionable. I’ve just finished Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the plot there seemed more likely to me.
    And to be brutally honest (which I usually am) the little events, daily nuisances and actions were quite boring.
    On the other hand, it is well written.

  3. Tank says:

    Feels very nostalgic. The prose flows well; it is a fine, easy read, but at the end of part one, I have far more questions than answers.

  4. Anniina says:

    I actually like all the daily nuisances and events – that’s what’s making it engaging for me.

  5. Tank says:

    First, the prose was smooth, easy, sweet even. Although I do
    understand that it’s considered far more simple to write first person
    narratives than third person, even if the latter does give you far
    more options). I’ve always liked stories that feel like someone is
    just talking to me, as opposed to writing.

    Did you notice that, at least in my copy, the typeface is kind of
    weird? And what were the various symbols that were placed between
    sections? There has to be some significance.

    I don’t read much sci-fi anymore, and when I do I generally get this
    Ender’s Game feel where I’m trying to figure out what the big ironic
    twist at the end is. So my initially assessment of the donations was
    that it was a trick. That they weren’t really bred to be organ donors,
    that this is some trick. Of course, towards the end of the section
    it’s spelled out under no uncertain terms that this would be the case.

    The Gallery and being “creative” is the real mystery here, since it
    has no bearing on what we would consider organ donation. A couple of
    wild ideas have passed through my mind in regards to this: brain
    transplants for example. Also, I don’t know if you’ve read Chuck P’s
    Rant, yet, but perhaps a self-improvement scenario similar to that
    book. Or perhaps their creativity is how people choose donations. The
    most creative being the most desired. The last thing Miss Lucy said
    was “evidence” in regards to creativity. Perhaps its nothing sinister,
    but just a means of leaving a mark on the world with such a short
    lifespan. Perhaps outside of Hailsham, this kids are revered as
    heroes, beloved for their sacrifice. Perhaps The Gallery is a shrine.
    First, the prose was smooth, easy, sweet even. Although I do
    understand that its considered far more simple to right first person
    narratives than third person, even if the latter does give you far
    more options). I’ve always liked stories that feel like someone is
    just talking to me, as opposed to writing.

    Did you notice that, at least in my copy, the typeface is kind of
    weird? And what were the various symbols that were placed between
    sections? There has to be some significance.

    I don’t read much sci-fi anymore, and when I do I generally get this
    Ender’s Game feel where I’m trying to figure out what the big ironic
    twist at the end is. So my initially assessment of the donations was
    that it was a trick. That they weren’t really bred to be organ donors,
    that this is some trick. Of course, towards the end of the section
    it’s spelled out under no uncertain terms that this would be the case.

    The Gallery and being “creative” is the real mystery here, since it
    has no bearing on what we would consider organ donation. A couple of
    wild ideas have passed through my mind in regards to this: brain
    transplants for example. Also, I don’t know if you’ve read Chuck P’s
    Rant, yet, but perhaps a self-improvement scenario similar to that
    book. Or perhaps their creativity is how people choose donations. The
    most creative being the most desired. The last thing Miss Lucy said
    was “evidence” in regards to creativity. Perhaps its nothing sinister,
    but just a means of leaving a mark on the world with such a short
    lifespan. Perhaps outside of Hailsham, this kids are revered as
    heroes, beloved for their sacrifice. Perhaps The Gallery is a shrine.
    The children cannot have babies. This makes me wonder what else is
    different about their organ systems. If they were just made barren or
    perhaps they’ve been bred to have multiple hearts, spleens, et cetera.

    Why doesn’t anyone have a last name? Is the last initial in a name
    like “Martha H.” significant, akin to blood type or something or is
    Martha H. actually a clone of someone named Martha H. in the outside
    word and her organs are predestined for this original Martha.

    Is there some relationship between the guardians and the donors.
    Perhaps the kids are clones of the guardians?

    Tommy and Ruth are not particularly likable characters, prone to
    violence in the case of Tommy and manipulation and lies for Ruth. Why
    is Kathy so enamored with them?

    Why the hell are these kids so incurious? Especially given they’re all
    supposedly creative. Doesn’t creativity and curiosity kind of go hand
    in hand?

    I would infer that there are other schools with donors (since people
    ask Kathy about Hailsham and she doesn’t personally know every donor).
    What makes Hailsham special?

  6. Flood says:

    I like the book lot, but I have to admit that my impression is colored by the books that I have been reading recently. I have gone through “Lolita,” “All the King’s Men,” two versions of “Enemy of the People,” and “Hind Swaraj” by Gandhi. I liked EotP, but it was a play. AtKM was very good. Gandhi just bugged me. And L was a great book that I couldn’t stand. I have to admit that the writing was wonderful, but I couldn’t really get into the book. That makes me la ittle sad since it was such a good book, a classic even, but it just wasn’t my cup of tequila.

    So starting NLMG I was ready for something that was easier to get into and to read. I agree with Tank that the writing is smooth. I can also kinda identify with the characters so that has helped me get into the book. I like the relationships, especially the Tommy/Kathy relationship. I was hoping that Ruth would leave them be, but I guess that is the way things go. I think that Ruth is a little, jealous person. She makes me think of Dr. Elwell in the movie “People Will Talk.” If you haven’t seen it rent it or buy it. It is worth it. Ruth is a little person, imo. I think she is jealous of Ruth and that’s why she goes back with Tommy. Anyway I don’t like her much. But I do like Tommy and the changes that he makes as he goes along, although I keep thinking that he needs to ditch the manipulative bitch.

    There is also a mystery her and I am not sure what it truly is, but I am enjoying the story and the way Kathy is discovering it. I don’t think that anybody really has a good grasp on what is the “Truth”. Not even Ms. Lucy and the hints that she has dropped.

    The book seems very personal to me and I like that. I have enjoyed it so much that I plan on reading “The Remains of the Day.” I hope that the rest of the book doesn’t disappoint.

    This is my first impression, I plan on adding more with Mark’s post later tonight so…

  7. I like what Tank has written.
    In my (Hungarian) version, sections are separated by a diamond-shaped thing. Unfortunately I see nothing special or hidden about that.
    I also noticed that everyone goes by a Christian name plus an initial, except for the main characters. I found that a bit disturbing, it made me those other persons distant and less interesting for me. As if the writer wanted to suggest that they are not really important – maybe clones, as suggested…
    Despite I did not found the events and actions described particularly interesting, there were certain little actions I did like however – the story about Norfolk, where everything lost can be found again…
    and I also like how Tommy’s character is changing and maturing. I wonder why he is still with Ruth despite his obvious, and perhaps deeper liking to Kathy.

  8. Anniina says:

    From the first, I circled every last name initial – they must mean something (that for me, too was a “Lolita” reference). Perhaps, since they have no “parents”, and you were named Kathy, say, you would have Kathy A. B. C. D. E…. I noted with interest that just before the Guardian Miss Lucy explains to them what their future really holds, the initials go steadily from C, D, E, until at F (!) she explodes.

    I’m wondering if “being creative” and it being “evidence” might be some kind of underground movement among the teachers and populace to prove that these children are real, original children, not simply cloned biological matter – if they can create something unique and individual, it follows that they are unique individuals, bringing ethics and rights into play full force.

    As for odd markings, yes I have what look like Lascaux cave drawings or stick figures as well, or some sort of shaman witch doctor.

  9. Anniina says:

    Oh, forgot some things re: Tank’s post.

    “”Tommy and Ruth are not particularly likable characters, prone to
    violence in the case of Tommy and manipulation and lies for Ruth. Why
    is Kathy so enamored with them?”

    I think they only have each other… they are the only family she has. Even knowing their flaws, she cannot help but love them.

    “”Why the hell are these kids so incurious? Especially given they’re all
    supposedly creative. Doesn’t creativity and curiosity kind of go hand
    in hand?””

    I would venture to say fear. They are only children, and they don’t have any intimate, trusting relationships with grownups. To know might be to disagree, which would be futile and cause of more pain – denial is the safest option for them emotionally.

    “”I would infer that there are other schools with donors (since people
    ask Kathy about Hailsham and she doesn’t personally know every donor).
    What makes Hailsham special?””

    It seems it’s the “upper class” equivalent… conditions are relatively good, comparing to what is evidenced by the reverence of Kathy’s donor, and the kids at the Cottages… perhaps there are butchershop versions of the same… or perhaps their genetic material is considered more valuable… perhaps their genes come from wealthy or intellectually “superior” donors?

    Mark, I’m going to respond to your notes as well, but I’m passing out from exhaustion 🙂

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