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Extended Audio Sample Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (143,440 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2005 ISBN: 9780739317990
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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 heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Ishiguro’s provocative subject matter and taut, potent prose have earned him multiple literary decorations, including the French government’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and an Order of the British Empire for service to literature…. In this luminous offering, he nimbly navigates the landscape of emotion — the inevitable link between present and past and the fine line between compassion and cruelty, pleasure and pain. Booklist
  • His books are Zen gardens with no flowery metaphors, no wild, untamed weeds threatening — or allowed — to overrun the plot. The Globe and Mail
  • A writer of Ishiguro’s intelligence, sensitivity and stylistic brilliance obviously offers rewards. The Gazette (Montreal)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro distinguishes himself as one of our most eloquent poets of loss. Joyce Carol Oates, TLS
  • Ishiguro is a stylist like no other, a writer who knows that the truth is often unspoken. Maclean’s
  • One of the finest prose stylists of our time. Michael Ondaatje
  • Ishiguro shows immense tenderness for his characters, however absurd or deluded they may be. The Guardian
  • [Ishiguro is] an original and remarkable genius. The New York Times Book Review
  • "A page turner and a heartbreaker, a tour de force of knotted tension and buried anguish. Time

  • A Gothic tour de force. . . . A tight, deftly controlled story . . . . Just as accomplished [as The Remains of the Day] and, in a very different way, just as melancholy and alarming. The New York Times
  • Elegaic, deceptively lovely. . . . As always, Ishiguro pulls you under. Newsweek
  • Superbly unsettling, impeccably controlled . . . . The book’s irresistible power comes from Ishiguro’s matchless ability to expose its dark heart in careful increments. Entertainment Weekly
  • “That this stunningly brilliant fiction echoes Caryl Churchill’s superb play A Number and Margaret Atwood’s celebrated dystopian novels in no way diminishes its originality and power. A masterpiece of craftsmanship that offers an unparalleled emotional experience.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Globe and Mail Best Book (Top 100)
    A New York Times Notable Book (Top 100)
    One of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Best Books of 2005
    One of Seattle Times’ Top Ten Best Books of 2005
    Finalist in the National Book Critic Circle Award
    A TIME Best Book
    One of TIME’s 100 Best Novels (from 1923 to the Present)
    Shortlisted for Page Turners, BBC One’s new book club
  • "A clear frontrunner to be the year’s most extraordinary novel. The Times (UK)
  • So exquisitely observed that even the most workaday objects and interactions are infused with a luminous, humming otherworldliness. The dystopian story it tells, meanwhile, gives it a different kind of electric charge. . . . An epic ethical horror story, told in devastatingly poignant
    miniature. . . . Ishiguro spins a stinging cautionary tale of science outpacing ethics.
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • Perfect pacing and infinite subtlety. . . . That this stunningly brilliant fiction echoes Caryl Churchill’s superb play A Number and Margaret Atwood’s celebrated dystopian novels in no way diminishes its originality and power. A masterpiece of craftsmanship that offers an unparalleled emotional experience. Send a copy to the Swedish Academy. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • Elegiac, compelling, otherworldly, deeply disturbing and profoundly moving. Sunday Herald (UK)
  • Brilliant . . . Ishiguro’s most profound statement of the endurance of human relationships. . . . The most exact and affecting of his books to date. The Guardian (UK)
  • Ishiguro’s elegant prose and masterly ways with characterization make for a lovely tale of memory, self-understanding, and love. Library Journal (starred review)
  • “A page turner and a heartbreaker, a tour de force of knotted tension and buried anguish.”

    Time

  • “Superbly unsettling, impeccably controlled…The book’s irresistible power comes from Ishiguro’s matchless ability to expose its dark heart in careful increments.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “One of Kazuo Ishiguro’s greatest novelistic skills is his restraint. A writer who never reveals more than we need to know, he doles out details in small, carefully rationed increments, like delicacies too rich to squander—leaving readers craving more. Nowhere is this skill more apparent than in this dark, dystopian tale of three former friends, all alumni of a British boarding school, who unravel a horrifying secret about their alma mater. We find it utterly compelling.”

    Barnes and Noble

  • “Ishiguro pulls the reader along to that understanding at a steady, insistent pace…Ishiguro carefully and deliberately unfolds Hailsham’s secrets one by one, piece by piece.”

    Washington Post

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2006 YALSA Alex Award
  • A 2005 ALA Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2006 Arthur C. Clarke Award Nominee
  • A 2005 Time Magazine Top 10 Book
  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005
  • A 2005 Man Booker Prize Finalist
  • A 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • Winner of Margaret A. Edwards Award (Alex Awards), 2002
  • A 2005 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • Winner of Margaret A. Edwards Award (Alex Awards), 2006
  • Winner of Alex Award - YALSA, 2006

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Felicity | 2/19/2014

    " This novel kept me quite intrigued after I got used to the writing style which is very conversational. Mostly I didn't mind that but every now and then it was slightly irritating. Apart from that, the central concept of the application of science/medical technology without ethical governance is very interesting and it also explores the ideas of soul, consciousness and humanity. I found the novel engaging because what's happening around these issues with regards to the main characters is revealed very slowly. But it is also a character driven story about the relationships between these three main characters which I liked, even though the way they interact with each other is often frustrating. It is a very sad story though and so I was glad to be finished reading something that generates such feelings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vie | 2/17/2014

    " i enjoyed this book a lot! tommy is easily my favourite character from it but the reason i didn't rate this 5 stars is because i still have lots of unanswered questions. but maybe that's a good thing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Estela | 2/7/2014

    " Really, really good. Amazing characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren Hanrahan | 2/2/2014

    " Equal parts compelling and frustrating. The way the author was coy about the larger context for the first third of the book started to get on my nerves, but there was enough foreshadowing to know it was going somewhere. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frances Sawaya | 1/28/2014

    " Having taught a course in cloning and genetic engineering (many moons ago), I enjoyed Ishiguro's view of a future world where there is a huge question about the morality of manipulating life for selfish needs. And it seems as if these ethical problems are on our near horizon. Quite poignant reading! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cherubim Cassandra Paula Javier | 1/18/2014

    " A sad, haunting book about three children who grew up in an adoption center. It's poetic, and lyrical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ivy Lee | 1/11/2014

    " A Surprising read--I fell in love with the characters and the plot! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abigail Wallace | 1/8/2014

    " beautiful. would have been 5 stars if not for the crazy small print. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Courtney Pheils | 1/4/2014

    " Might have been better had I not heard a little of what it was about before I read it. I like the over all concept but I found myself just reading this one to finish it so I could start another. It was rather depressing too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gemsy | 1/1/2014

    " One of those stories that will haunt me for the rest of my life. An absolutely chilling, moving, sad and brilliant concept. Definitely, definitely recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corey | 12/10/2013

    " Is there a subtler writer at work today? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paul | 11/9/2013

    " I'm surprised the book was short listed for a Booker. I didn't think it was a great book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amalia Liogas | 9/29/2013

    " A well written book, yet the passivity of the students left me wanting to scream at them to fight back. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisadlh | 8/26/2013

    " Gobbled it up on a rainy Saturday. Sad and delicate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan Travis | 7/19/2013

    " Unsettling yet thought-provoking, but I felt it was incomplete. I want to know what happens to Kath. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Corinne Halberg | 6/24/2013

    " Vapid death. Unemotional relationships. A lack of sentiment for the lives we live. Really quite a depressing book. Do not read if you have any signs of depression or don't deal well with death. I was intrigued by the story but it moved so slowly I became disinterested almost as quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 5/27/2013

    " Interesting book. I liked that the voice stayed consistently in her own world, in that she didn't ask the same questions the reader would have. I would call it sci-fi lite, good for literary fiction fans who want to try something different. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzie | 3/21/2012

    " I swithered between three and four stars for this and, to be quite honest, I'm still not sure what to think of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lannie | 10/6/2011

    " I really enjoyed the relationships of the characters in this novel setting. It was futuristic with a sense of reality that was never forceful, which really allowed me to take in the 4 characters' lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ute Oduol | 7/9/2011

    " Well written, sad,deep. Nice read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gweneth Moir | 6/6/2011

    " One of the most emotionally difficult and dark stories I have read. My whole body reacted and I found it difficult to finish. This book was a struggle to read for me simply because of the subject. Just saw the movie - was much easier for me to disengage from. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Audrey | 5/24/2011

    " Currently still reading the book - the beginning is a little slow but have been told by someone Kazuo's writing is beautiful and this book will pick up as I keep reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gena | 5/24/2011

    " Just how far is a society willing to go in their attempt to stay young and healthy? Where does the line begin to blur enough for us to become property of ourselves in the most literal and horrible way? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 5/22/2011

    " Deep disturbing and thought provoking. The first person narrative is engaging. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meghan | 5/21/2011

    " This is one of my favorite books of the last couple of years. Ishiguro's style is haunting and poignant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jun | 5/20/2011

    " I loved this. I love the way Kazuo Ishiguro writes... I guess I found a new great author (which is harder to do as one gets older).

    Just everything about this story was perfect for me... maybe not a 5, b/c just a few personal things I didn't like tooo much.... but it's pretty up there! "

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