Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro

Published by: Faber and Faber
Pages: 320
Date released: 02/03/2021
Date read: 22/04/2021

“The Sun always has ways to reach us.”

From her place in the store, Klara, and Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, carefully watches the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In his first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

I’m a bit late to the party with reading Klara and the Sun, and I was really looking forward to it, but I must say I was deeply disappointed.

I have read previous books of his such as Never Let Me Go and found they have a tendency to be – whilst written very well – a case of style over substance. The prose is written well and is beautiful to read, but you soon realise that nothing is actually happening. The narrative told in a 400-page book could actually fit in less than a quarter of that.

The many reviews I read of this book billed it as his “masterpiece” and that it was “so moving and thought-provoking”. I kept reading and reading until I got to the masterpiece, and it just never came. Quite often, I felt I had more questions than the prose actually answered. A number of things weren’t actually explained, and I actually had to Google it to find out what bits meant. Normally in books that introduce unknown things (normally in science-fiction or fantasy), they are explained the further you get in the book, but this never did, and I was a bit lost.

The above synopsis from GoodReads says the book explores the question “what does it mean to love?” and yet I wouldn’t say that question comes through in any way.

Another reviewer I spoke to described it as a “children’s fable…It lacked the depth and subtlety of his other books”. And I think that sums it up perfectly. Everything is on the surface and it didn’t make me feel anything at all.

One thought on “Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. I am intrigued by your comment about style over substance. Yes, he does play with style a lot (and I believe that comes partly from the fact that the Japan is a highly formal society). Now I really have to read this book soon. I have quite a long TBR list, and this was at the top, but I do wait for books to come on sale before I buy them.

    Liked by 1 person

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