After Remains of the Day, who would have thought that Kazuo Ishiguro would have in him a dour, sci-fi novel set in a sort of boarding school. To talk about the plot would be to ruin what is essentially a 280 page slow reveal, where little of slivers of awfulness and horror find their way into the story, making us recoil in disgust as we glimpse only a fraction of the world that exists outside Ishiguro’s narrative. Told in first person from a naive standpoint, the book “wants us to inhabit their ignorance, not ours” according to a Powells.com essay. The novel never holds steady or lets us gather our bearings, we spend the novel perpetually leaning forward, trying to grasp meaning among the mundane storytelling. Ishiguro lets us figure out the more horrific passages ourselves, and that’s what make it so stomach-churning. Mark Romanek is directing the inevitable film version, for which, no doubt, all secrets will be revealed in the trailer. Could be read as the metaphoric story of a cow on its way to the slaughterhouse.
(The book infected my dreams more than once, a good/bad sign.)
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