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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:
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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

  • 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
  • “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)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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 page turner and a heartbreaker, a tour de force of knotted tension and buried anguish.”


  • “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
  • A 2005 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • Winner of Margaret A. Edwards Award (Alex Awards), 2006

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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