How do you review a book to entice a reader to pick it up, without giving away details that might spoil the reading experience? You need to give enough information – without giving away key surprises within the book, but enough detail to compel the reader to give it a go.
That is the issue with this post about the award-winning tale, Never Let Me Go.
Masters of the trade (authors and their publishers) are careful with what they reveal on the cover and back of the book. So what can a reviewer use?
Maybe you should focus on what others say about the author?
‘Kazuo Ishiguro is a master storyteller, in a class of his own making.’ Independent.
‘Ishiguro has always been good at presenting the past – and childhood – as a kind of universal affliction, but probably never so well as in this novel…’ New Statesman
‘Ishiguro’s novels are preoccupied by memories, their potential to digress and distort, to forget and to silence, and, above all, to haunt.’ British Council – Literature
Or take an excerpt from the blurb:
‘Kazuo imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England.’
You then may ask yourself: who are the students? what is their special story? what genre is it? (dystopian, mystery?)
Initially, Hailsham School appears to be an idyllic location – perhaps a privileged boarding school location. Students have their own special quirks and idiosyncracies. They develop close friendships within their small group, as might happen at any school. But the school’s purpose is what waits to be discovered as you travel through the years; as narrated by Kathy, one of the former students.
Over three stages of Kathy’s life, we learn more about friendships, fortune and the fragility of life.
There are many levels on which you can read this tale – and then, wonder what thoughts Ishiguro meant to spark. Of course, a film interpretation has been produced, but really, you should read the book before seeing it – to avoid the spoilers of knowing the story before reading it, and to develop your own experience and understanding first. (Hopefully, this trailer is more enticing than revealing…)
# For Older Readers.
# If you have read this before, would you read it again? Was it a different experience ‘knowing’ parts of the story, or did you just enjoy the rediscovery as you went along?