#TBT “Never Let Me Go” Is the Good Kind of Pain

#TBT “Never Let Me Go” Is the Good Kind of Pain

I went through a massive Kazuo Ishiguro phase in college, possibly because I suspected adulthood meant living in a perpetual state of peripheral melancholy. Seriously, when I finished Never Let Me Go, I cried…in a McDonalds. There is no place more inappropriate to cry over literary masterpieces than McDonalds, but it felt right at the time.

I wept because Ishiguro has mastered writing tragedy completely devoid of melodrama. Michael Bay may have been able to turned the existential dilemma of clones into a fun popcorn flick, but Ishiguro’s original is devastating in its treatment of the problem by never addressing it. No one questions the ethics of cloning in the story. There is no gruesome confrontation about the truth of what’s happening to these characters being slowly harvested for organs.

The pain of the story doesn’t come from their inevitable deaths, but from their doomed living. Unrequited love and missed chances cut deeper, false hope and cherished dreams die harder when it’s clear it’s all for naught. But the human spirit doesn’t die that way. It’ll scream even when it’s snuffed out like a whisper.

If the text doesn’t inspire tears in inappropriate public venues, than the film starring Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan will definitely send you over the edge.


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