Never Let Me Go

This study guide will help you analyze the novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: Never Let Me Go (2005)

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Genre: Novel

Kazuo Ishiguro (1954) is a British novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, but then moved to England with his family. He gained British citizenship in 1984, after finishing his Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. In 1989, Ishiguro won the Booker Prize with the novel The Remains of the Day. Other novels include The Unconsoled (1995), When We Were Orphans (2000), and Klara and The Sun (2021). Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.

The novel Never Let Me Go was published in 2005. The book takes place in a dystopian alternate reality of England in the 1990’s, where human cloning for organ donations is legal. The novel explores themes such as friendship and love, memory and nostalgia, and science versus ethics. The book was adapted into a movie in 2010, directed by Mark Romanek. In 2016, it was also adapted as a Japanese miniseries. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

The song “Never Let Me Go”

Kathy’s favorite song from Judy Bridgewater’s album is called “Never Let Me Go”, which is quite telling as Kathy has trouble letting go of the people and things that are important to her. The song represents Kathy’s wish to have something to hold on to. It also foreshadows the fact that, eventually, Kathy will have to let go of everyone that she holds dear.

Madame’s vision when she sees Kathy dancing to this song symbolizes loss of innocence and people’s lack of control in the face of a rapidly changing world. Madame is deeply affected because she imagines she sees a little girl begging the world to hold on to her....

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Never Let Me Go

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