I picked up “Klara and The Sun” to read and I don’t remember why.
Maybe it was the premise, the idea of artificial intelligence friends.
Maybe it was the hoopla behind the book. Publishing excitement is always good for driving sales.
Maybe it was the author. I’ve read another book of his before and knew their strength and weakness.
Maybe it was something different and in this constant dumpster fire, pandemic-weary existence, I needed to remind myself, and my writing-self, that reading could be fun. That getting lost in a book is a simple pleasure that can not be taken away.
Regardless of what brought me into the book, I’m glad it did. So much so that I’m doing something that I’ve never done before.
I’m going to review the book 100 pages in.
Of course I’ll review the whole book when I’m done but, like running shoe reviews that give first impressions, 100 pages is a good marker (beyond good) to be able to talk about a book with some certainty.
But it must come with some rules:
- Absolutely no spoilers
- Discuss the writing (always)
- Give general impressions but leave the big stuff for the big review. So, no ratings.
- You still gotta give a summary.
- Say whether you’re going to continue reading it or not.
So, here we go! Let’s start with the summary. I am getting this one from the awesome bookstore, Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Tx.
“Klara and the Sun from Nobel-winner Kazuo Ishiguro is a radiant new novel about the bond between Klara, an Artificial Friend, and Josie, her human companion. The setting, a dystopian realm of genetic editing and stark class divisions, is not surprising given the author’s previous work, yet Ishiguro’s immense, unwavering portrayal of kindness is astonishing and revitalizing. Classic Ishiguro themes of loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice weave through the novel, but the thread of love runs deep, giving the book warmth and hope so that the earned twist feels more like a dawn than a sunset. Whether you’re returning to Ishiguro or discovering his voice for the first time, I’m excited for you. This is a chance to bask in the brilliance of one the greatest writers of our time.”
I have to admit, this is my second Ishiguro novel. He is known for Remains of the Day but I picked up Never Let Me Go instead.
I had a love/hate relationship with that book. LOVE/HATE. Going into “Klara and the Sun” gave me Never Let Me Go vibes — good until a certain point and then I didn’t care what the ending was when I stopped reading it entirely.
But by page 100, I was able to let my guard down and sink into the world of Klara and Josie.
Ishiguro is saying so many things here about humans and their relationship with humanity — both their own and in general — through the eyes of an special Artificial Friend. In what way can humanity be replaced and at what cost?
I find myself questioning the setting and I’m also glad for it.
- What lead to this world?
- How is this world both familiar and foreign? And why is it so?
Ishiguro is hinting at pollution and technology advancements as the downfall of humans. Again, this is only a hint, and in the first 100 pages, t hasn’t developed as much as it needs to for me to come to any conclusion. I suspect there will be some form of exposition later where all will be revealed, or enough will be, to jump head first into conclusions.
It is here that I am worried.
This same technique was used in Never Let Me Go. While this unfolding is enough to move the reader, it’s only up to a certain point. After that, it becomes an annoying game of keep away and the reader feels betrayed.
I hope that doesn’t happen here. This book is mixed-genre meaning is combines two genres into one thing. In this case it’s literary and dystopian. This is hard to do and other writers have attempted it with mixed results. The key to a successful mix is choices, when the best of each genre is allowed to shine. So far, at 100 pages, Ishiguro’s choices have been spot on.
I’m continuing with this book and hope that it continues to make good choices.
Curling up with my Kindle,