Ishiguro's "<Strange> Rubbish": Style and Sympathy in Never Let Me Go

  • Adam Parkes
  • MFS Modern Fiction Studies, January 2021, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • DOI: 10.1353/mfs.2021.0007

What is it about?

This essay reconsiders the much-remarked flatness of Ishiguro’s style in Never Let Me Go in light of the novel’s textual history. Drawing on the Kazuo Ishiguro Papers at the University of Texas, I show how Ishiguro’s compositional practice courts and complicates problems of critical sympathy and identification. Readerly sympathy remains in doubt even when Kathy H.’s narrative develops lyrical tendencies. As Ishiguro turns what Zadie Smith calls “lyrical realism” into the object of stylistic cloning, he revives the case for critical distance established earlier in the novel.

Why is it important?

First scholarly article on Never Let Me Go to make extensive use of the Ishiguro archive at the University of Texas.

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