I'm a slow reader. It's probably something I should work on considering my job requires me to do a lot of it, but I value thoroughness over careless skimming, which is what it comes down to for me. I'll miss something important if I go too quickly. Sometimes I read a book twice. It's always better the second time around. It's not always ruined if you know what is going to happen, but you are always presented with another layer when reading a good book for the second time.
I have read Never Let Me Go once so far. It took me a while, but it was fantastic, and I can't wait to get stuck into it again. I bought the film on DVD way back in June last year, and decided I would wait until I had read the book to watch it. The night I finally did, I stripped the DVD case of its cellophane wrapping and slid the disc into my laptop. I snuggled up in my marshmallow bed and fell in love. It made its way into my list of top films of all time, as did the book.
Reading a book with a narrative similar to that of a friend telling you a story is comforting. I felt valued while reading Never Let Me Go, like Kathy, the narrator, trusted me. She was investing so much time telling me about her life, and it was fascinating. Ishiguro's simple yet clever stream of consciousness style of writing is engaging and one that I will always favour over needlessly wordy sentences and paragraphs that, yes, are often poetically put together, but can confuse and detract from the story itself.
Nothing is left out and nothing is forgotten. Everything is significant, even the seemingly pointless anecdotes that thread the entire story together. Nothing has to happen, exactly, for a story to be good. That is one of the many lessons I learned in my three years at University studying creative writing. What doesn't happen can often be the biggest arc in a story, and the unwritten is sometimes just as powerful as the words that are in print before you.
If you like stories that invite you into another world - somebody's life, with a subtle but emotive subtext then you will love Never Let Me Go as much as I did.
I used to dislike Carey Mulligan. I think after watching The Great Gatsby my mind was changed and I decided that she is, in fact, fantastic. She certainly didn't disappoint in Never Let Me Go, either, and she portrayed Kathy just as I imagined her when reading the book.
Of course, being limited to a 90 minute time frame, lots had to be cut from the original story but none of it was lost - just condensed, and so brilliantly, too. Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield were spectacular, and excelled in their parts as Ruth and Tommy. I think the film conveyed a much stronger sense of a love triangle between the three friends, and upon reflection, I have decided that this is much because of the visual impact of 'looks' people can give in certain situations - a lot of which were exchanged in this film, as were many of the silences that filled many of the scenes.
It sounds cheesy, but at the end of the film I suddenly felt all too close to Kathy - like I could really identify with her character. Just one of the lines she says in the final scene of the film really rang true to me and I suddenly felt like we had thought the exact same things in the hour or so I had seen into her life and the twenty-one years I had lived of my own.
It's been two weeks since I lost him. I've been given my notice now. My first donation is in a month's time. I come here and imagine that this is the spot where everything I've lost since my childhood has washed out. I tell myself, if that were true, and I waited long enough, then a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field, and gradually get larger until I'd see it was Tommy. He'd wave and maybe call. I don't let the fantasy go beyond that. I can't let it. I remind myself I was lucky to have had any time with him at all. What I'm not sure about is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.*
It was, predominantly, a visual experience, but one with a script so sound and poetic, I was happy with Alex Garland's creation. The film evoked so much feeling within me, making me want to watch it again straight away.
This may be the one occasion in my life to date where the film and book have aligned in terms of worth and quality. I can't decide which one I prefer, and maybe I don't have to. Maybe I can appreciate both for what they are, as separate pieces of work. I only wish I had discovered them sooner. Have you read the book or seen the film? If not I urge you to do so - they are both exceptional and you might just feel a little different - somewhat changed - when you get to the end of either one.