Friday, November 11, 2011
Never Let Me Go -the Second Time Around
I reread the brilliant Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and absolutely loved it the second time around. (spoilers) I think it helped that I knew the ending this time. I wasn't hoping that Kathy, Ruth and Tommy would somehow run away and escape. I wasn't distressed by their passive acceptance of it all. I knew there wasn't any hope so I could just concentrate on the characters and their story. I think the main question it raises is what would have been preferable - growing up in Hailsham and 'not knowing' or 'half knowing' their fate or growing up in another donor school where their existence and education may have been bleaker but at least they would have known the truth about their purpose. I still don't know the right answer so I'm sure this would make an interesting discussion point in our book club later this month. Readers, I would love to know your thoughts on this if you have read the book.
The first time I read Never Let Me Go, I remember not being particularly charmed by any of the characters. I didn't dislike them but I didn't love them. However, in spite of that I rooted for them every step of the way. The second time around I really grew to care about Kathy, Ruth and Tommy and their plight. It's interesting how different readings can produce distinct reactions.
I remember watching the film and hoping Hollywood would weave its magic spell and churn out a happy ending. I think it's just a testament to our humanity that in spite of it all we hope for the best. For once, I didn't want the film to be like the book. But no, there were no surprises and no one lives happily ever after. I felt the depressing feeling that doesn't come often when watching a film. Only one other film comes to mind that brings about such a heavy heart and that is Breaking The Waves. You'll understand exactly what I mean if you've seen that movie.
Never Let Me Go stars Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield plus a fantastic supporting cast. I must say that everyone gave an excellent performance especially Andrew Garfield who I only later found out played Eduardo in The Social Network. Two roles that couldn't be more different. Some things were left out but all in all I thought it was a worthy adaptation by Alex Garland. In hindsight, looking at the poster for the film above, I realize how fitting that photo actually is. I think it perfectly captures the feeling of hopelessness. The feeling of just wanting to be free, to escape against all odds. It's a heartbreaking poster because I know their story.