What would you do if you find out that you are brought into this world for a special purpose? A purpose of brightening somebody’s life at the expense of yourself. What if you are made to live in an artificial world with sole purpose to unzip your organs when needed?What would you feel if someone walks up to you one day to announce that, “You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided.”
A thought so chilling to even to think about, finds life and voice in ‘Never Let Me Go’.
This novel is set in a school by name ‘Hailsham’ where cloned children are reared in an artificial establishment to be the donors of future. A world completely devoid of moral implications and incredibly insensitive to the sensitivity of human emotions. A world of three kids: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, filled with what seems like a benign bliss of childhood unravels into a great sham of artificiality, where simple words like ‘donations’, ‘complete’ assume grotesque ramifications.
Kathy’s observation about Madame’s revulsion: “Madame was afraid of us. But she was afraid of us in the same way someone might be afraid of spiders. We hadn’t been ready for that. It had never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel, being seen like that, being the spiders.”
Or the silent acceptance of donations reflected thus: “All the same, some of it must go in somewhere. It must go in, because by the time a moment like that comes along, there’s a part of you that’s been waiting. Maybe from as early as when you’re five or six, there’s been a whisper going at the back of your head, saying: “One day, maybe not so long from now, you’ll get to know how it feels.” So you’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you–of how you were brought into this world and why–and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.”
Subtly dark and infinitely sad, this book casts a fatalistic note on human lives that are led in a cloak of artificiality. Probably, thats why my heart didn’t ache for the characters, though it bled for the sheer helplessness of the situation. A deep seated loathness for a place from which there is no escape, rather than to await the dead end that is reserved by the time one is born. This book sets itself not to explore the technicalities of cloning or the perils of being a clone, but rather captures the fine nuances of humanity in minute detail and makes one wonder about the core definition of it. The context of the book feels artificial, the tone has a note of fatality, yet the people feel awfully natural. Albeit, cast in a cloud of cold desolateness. This book is not for those who are on look out for heroes. For all the characters are patient victims in waiting for their end, leading a life as if its on loan, with an air of detachment around them which they flaunt mercilessly, accepting in silence the grim fatality of the life that they are leading.
How glad I was that this story is still a piece of fiction and not a disgusting manifestation of the modern day genetic experiments that intend to deliver greater good to greater lot at the cost of assured unhappiness for some.