Seldom does a book convey existential melancholy as well as Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go. It may be because stories about loss, in particular the loss of hope, are rarely told so plainly and without melodrama. At its core, Never Let Me Go is about human decency, particularly as it survives in the face of swiftly moving time and weighty, ever-present duty. The memories recounted by the narrator, Kathy H., are imbued with what is best described by the Portuguese word, saudade, in essence, a nostalgic longing for something that does not and cannot exist. Ishiguro captures the idea beautifully through characters who are compelled by their unique world to accept their own mortality.
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