(80) Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro [Bk 2 of 10 for May]

I’ve been waiting to read this since it came out, but it never felt like the right time. But I chose K for the month, and so it seemed very much the right time.

Loved this. Gulped it down, read half of it between 10 pm and midnight on Saturday, got up and finished the book the next morning. I don’t really want to analyze this just now, want to enjoy the glow. But here’s the plot:

Klara is an AF, an artificial friend. In this (future but recognizable) world, most children/adolescents have AFs to combat loneliness and to enhance interpersonal skills, since education happens remotely and individually. Klara, the narrator, is more perceptive than most AFs, even those of a later model. She is adopted/bought by Josie’s mother, after Josie picks her out. Josie’s health and happiness are Klara’s primary concern; we (the readers) see and have to figure out what’s going on through her somewhat different but often correct lens. But by the end, what’s going on with the humans isn’t really a primary concern, Klara becomes central.

I’m expressing this poorly. His stuff is haunting, waves of nostalgia/sorrow/pity for a mistaken life overwhelm when I think of Remains of the Day, and I just don’t think about Never Let Me Go (didn’t hit me as hard, anyway– it seemed more intentionally heartbreaking, and so my guard was up.) Buried Giant took me a while to get through it, but it lingers. Enjoyed this, or maybe just felt it, immensely.

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