Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go is a work of dystopian fiction. The novel is told from the point of view of Kathy H., an educated young woman who turns out to be a clone created to donate her vital organs. Throughout the novel, Kathy’s voice is reflective and nostalgic, as she looks back on her life and the lives of the people she has loved.
The novel is broken up into three parts and has a mostly chronological structure, especially in the second and third parts. The first part jumps from one event to another in a non-chronological order. The novel contains a series of flashbacks, as Kathy H. recalls important points in her life. Foreshadowing elements keep the readers guessing.
The novel centers around the three main characters, Kathy H. and her closest friends, Tommy and Ruth. Their complex relationship is a focal point of the novel. Other characters, such as Madame, Miss Emily, and Miss Lucy, provide answers to many of the novel’s questions.
The physical setting is a version of England at the end of the 20th century. Several places hold great importance to the main character. One of these is Hailsham, the boarding-school-like institution where Kathy and her friends grow up, and the Cottages, where they go immediately after leaving Hailsham.
The events are told from the point of view of a first-person narrator, who is also the main character. The narrator looks back on key moments of her life and tells them from the perspective of her 31-year-old self. There are times when the narrator is not sure what really happened, and at other times her view is heavily influenced by nostalgia. This makes her slightly unreliable.
The language is neutral and conversational. Some language particularities, such as the word “to complete” instead of “to die” reflect the views of the society described in the novel. Several symbols, such as Kathy’s favorite song, draw attention to some of the novel’s main themes.