Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging

https://clanton1934.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/56-the-earl-of-essex-his-galliard-p-42-_can-she-excuse_.m4aphoto27211

I want to be in your arms, where you hold me tight and Never let me go.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

I am retired. I only write reviews of books that have moved into and are camped out in my mind along with books by Thoreau, Russell, Doctorow. Dostoevsky, Dickens, Hemingway and Frost.  There are some books about which I only want you to know. It is OK that you only read my review as if they were Cliff’s Notes.  That will not do for this moral masterpiece. I have added it as thirty-first on my Literature Essentials Home Page.

Here is a book that I want you to read and then to listen to it read to you, beautifully,  by Rosalyn Landor.  I have been through it three times.

Do yourself a favor: after you read my review, I want you to listen to  it read with Landor’s  haunting voice.

I believe you will say to the author, Kazuo Ishiguro, “Never let me go.”

“You can live without the person who says You are mine. But you can not  live without someone who says I am yours. May you be blessed with at least one such person in life!”― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

“Kazuo Ishiguro OBE, FRSA, FRSL (Japanese: カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒一雄; born 8 November 1954) is a British novelist, screenwriter and short story writer. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan; his family moved to England in 1960 when he was five. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kent in 1978 and his Master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative-writing course in 1980. is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world, having received four Man Booker Prize nominations, and winning the 1989 award for his novel The Remains of the Day. In 2008, The Times ranked Ishiguro 32nd on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” (1)

51obZREOAtL._SL300_           Kazuo_Ishiguro_by_Kubik

If you have read my essays or previous book reviews, you know that my motive force is to elevate, enhance, and preserve  the value of every human life.Also, to promote the highest quality of “the road” for the journey of our sons and daughters.  I want to  help the community. I am reaching out to adversaries, asking them to protect these values in varying cultures and nationalities.

This tome is a landmark book. As a teacher, clinical researcher, and  physician, I urge you to study this book. It should be required reading for medical school and graduate students

“Relationship is not just holding hands while you understand each other. its also having lots of misunderstandings and still not leaving each other’s hands.”― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

For the benefit of younger readers, It is essential to review for you one  example of  an infamous and misguided attempt where  “an End is proposed to Justifying the Means.”
“When the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp 70 years ago many of the prisoners had been killed or marched away by the retreating Nazis. But among those left were some twin children – the subject of disturbing experiments by Dr Josef Mengele.
Vera Kriegel and her twin sister Olga were just five years old when they were taken from their village in Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz.
Transported in cattle cars which were so tightly packed that the dead were still standing, she recalls the “sheer terror” of arriving at the camp and treading on “dead people like steps” as she left the train.
New arrivals at the camp were sorted into the weak, who would be gassed straight away, and the strong, who would be made to work. But Mengele and his assistants were there too, looking for twins.
Vera, her sister, and her mother were taken straight to SS Captain Josef Mengele. He was intrigued; she says, by what he described as her mother’s “perfect Aryan features” and blue eyes while Vera’s and her sisters were brown.

Mengele selected them for experimentation.
Another woman who remembers her arrival at the camp is Jona Laks, who was taken as a teenager from the Lodz ghetto. She was not immediately recognised as a twin and was initially sent off in the direction of the gas chamber – when her sister told Mengele they were twins he had her brought to his laboratory

Josef Mengele was an assistant to a well-known researcher who studied twins at the Institute for Heredity Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt – he started working at Auschwitz in May 1943.
There he had an unlimited supply of twins to study, and he wouldn’t get in trouble if they died.
According to Prof Paul Weindling of Oxford Brookes University, author of Victims and Survivors of Nazi Human Experiments, hundreds of children were used in Mengele’s experiments.
“I found a record of a prisoner doctor and bacteriologist who was forced to work for Mengele that there were 732 pairs of twins,” he says, and suggests the doctor was interested in genetics. “I think Mengele might have been interested in the inheritance of the propensity to having twins.”
He believes many of the twins survived Auschwitz, although he thinks Roma twins were almost certainly killed.

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Ishiguro, an unquestionably a master of deliberate literary construction has chosen to capture his reader’s identity and affection, to Kathy H., Ruth and Tommy, with a coming-of-age-tale. Young people are described in a,  not uncommon, British boarding school.    We are allowed the intimate participation of the loyalties and trivial clique activities and jealousies   I was deep into the book before I suspected the great moral lesson that I believe was Ishiguro’s message. I guess he thought holding the moral lesson until late in the book would make the teaching more effective. From Kathy H.’s opening narrative, she says she is  “carer”  to people who are “donors”  These terms raised my suspicions but I did not get, early, the hint that  Ishiguro leaves the reader. In the later part of the book, you will gradually discover his lesson.

“This book is about the value of unique individual humans lives. The master storyteller weaves, not just a  single tale, but THREE stories in parallel, a task beyond my expectations. (a) a tender platonic LOVE STORY (b) an MYSTERY-THRILLER (c) a SCATHING CRITIQUE of the limits of the use of humans as research subjects.

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 heartbreaking tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.”
Within the grounds of Hailsham,  Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy become adults do they, and the reader learn the truth of what their benefactors have done in a lesson of “the end does not justify the mean”. More importantly it is a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we how we treat the vulnerable in our society. There are also themes of memory, the impact of the past and a warning to future generations.

“I cannot lose you, because if I ever did, I’d have lost my best friend, my soul mate, my smile, my laugh, my everything.” Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Charles Clanton Rogers, AB, MD, FACR   Emeritus Professor GWU

September 14, 2015

(1) Wikipedia

(2) BBC  The Twins of Auschwitz
By Andy Walker
BBC News
28 January 2015

©2005 Kazuo Ishiguro; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

11 thoughts on “Blogger’s GPS; Review: Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

  1. bbnewsab says:

    I think this is your best book review so far!

    It’s full of intense emotions and strong feelings.

    A review that can be written only by a sensitive and empathetic person.

    But I don’t quite understand what emotions or feelings this book woke up in your brain and your heart, KK.

    I can easily understand the anger and disgust you must have felt by reading about, for example, Joseph Mengele’s twin experiments and other horrible Holocaust memories brought up to the surface by Kazuo Ishiguro.

    Likewise, it’s not hard to realize that this novel must also be about true and genuine love (an emotion closely related to happiness and joy).

    But I’m a demanding man, KK. :o)

    Now I want you to tell me – and other followers – more about the emotions caused in your brain and heart by this author and his book.

    Until recently there was a commonly-held belief among psychologists that there are six basic emotions to deal with and choose among on the human personality palette: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust.

    But last year that belief was challenged. Maybe there are just four basic emotions on our “palette”: happiness, sadness, fear (which, in turn, seems to be closely related to surprise), and anger (together with anger’s little “sister” disgust).

    Why not give us some more information about all these four – or sex – emotions, KK?

    For example, is it possible to rank them in order of precendence? If not, at least try to give some more examples, taken from the book’s content, of how the author Kazuo Ishiguro managed to move both your brain and heart. (Not many authors are capable of letting his readers be strongly influenced on both these levels. Do you think he some day is going to be awarded a Nobel Prize?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Thank you for these very encouraging and helpful comments PV!
      Your questions and suggestions require a careful and deliberate elaboration. I will definitely attempt to develop my best answers. It may be tomorrow. I may even require a supplement post.

      Yes I think his ethical challenge to the potential abuse of the vulnerable, for research subjects and the debate of what is adequate “informed consent” remains relevant and is definitely Nobel Prize material. There have been many breaches of ethical research, e.g. The Tuskegee Syphilis study by U.S. clinical research NOTstudy, which must NOT be echoed, no matter the potential benefit to Society! Although, the need for new scientific answers often require bold research protocols, “the ENDS are never adequate justification of the MEANS”! I believe the “meaning of Life” requires respect for the most vulnerable. The quantity and quality of care we devote for the welfare of infants, children, the elderly, injured and the infirm will define us for all time.! ccr

      Liked by 1 person

  2. clanton1934 says:

    I omitted a critical word in my reply. The sentence should read:”……which must NOT be allowed to be echoed, no matter the potential benefit to society! This is a bedrock value. I will try to elaborate on your other incisive (and insightful) questions tomorrow, ccr

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve convinced me. I’ve now got the book on order. Thanks Charles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Laura, I will reimburse you the cost, if you are disappointed in “Never Let Me Go”- Charles

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bbnewsab says:

    @clanton1934: Dear KK, don’t overinterpret my “demands”. What I meant can rather be boiled down to this “wish”: Why not relate – and relate to – more episodes in Kazuo Ishiguro’s book that caused intense emotions and strong feelings in your heart and brain?

    The passages about Joseph Mengele can’t be the only ones stirring a mental storm inside you.

    One thing is for sure, KK. You know how to express and substantiate your own feelings and emotions.

    It can be easily seen, and understood, that you and the English language are very good friends, and that there is a teacher, longing for conveying and sharing both knowledge and wisdom to others, hidden inside your body.

    Don’t be afraid to let this teacher out. With his “help” you are able to continue building bridges that unite people from all parts of the world.

    BTW, KK, are there any aliens following your blog? Or are we who subscribe to your blog all “just” earthlings? 🙂

    Now time for wishing you and your readers Good night from my Swedish horizon. // PV

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      PV, the reply to your “demand” are in draft form, now!
      If I have any E.T. readers, I can only cope with English as well as you Swedes do. K

      Liked by 1 person

  5. clanton1934 says:

    I meant to say: if I have any extraterrestrial readers, I hope that they are as masterful with my sole language, as the Swedish people are. 🌎♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bbnewsab says:

    But IF you some day will get one or more alien followers, you should act proactively, KK. 🙂

    Start by reading this article: http://skepticalhumanities.com/2012/11/19/channelled-languages-and-similar-phenomena-7-non-historical-fringe-linguistics-16/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. clanton1934 says:

    Mary Doria Russell wrote a classic science fiction “The Sparrow” with a great deal of hypothesized extraterrestrial languages and communication. Music was a vehicle and an essential component.

    Like

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