Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro (AUDIOBOOK) – 03.01.23

Like many Ishiguro novels, Klara and the Sun was a beautiful, but surreal and often confusing read. It is narrated by Klara, who is an ‘artificial friend’ or sentient robot person, beginning when she lived in the shop waiting to be bought, and then when she went to live with her new family to befriend their sickly daughter.

Klara is an unreliable narrator in that although she is intelligent and has a photographic memory, she is naïve in how she sees the world. As she is solar powered, she has a strange relationship with sunlight, and views the sun as a sentient benevolent deity.

The reader’s understanding of the world (or at least mine) slowly puts together the pieces of what’s going on, and it wasn’t really until I’d finished the book, and dwelt on it in my thoughts (and googled a bit!) that I felt I fully got a grasp on the story, and that’s where it kind of fell down in my estimation.

Spoiler Alert – don’t read on if you don’t want the ending to be spoiled.

So, when I finished the book, I still had questions – I like that everything is not overexplained, but can be ascertained, but I did have to look at other people’s summaries of the book before I felt I fully understood. But I just didn’t buy the basic premise. The book is set in a future (or alternate present) where genetic modifications can create much more intelligent children, but they are risky and often result in sickly children who are likely to die before reaching adulthood. This is why the artificial friends are used, to make siblings for children whose own siblings have died. Only the more wealthy families can afford the genetic modifications, creating an ‘underclass’ of children with lower intelligence.

I just didn’t believe that parents would choose intelligence over the health of their children. Even in a world where not getting the adaptations put your children in a lower ‘class’ I still don’t think parents would risk losing their children, or even putting them through sickness.

Still, it’s an interesting and thought provoking book – probably would be a good one for book groups to discuss.

Published by sarahrwray

I'm an erstwhile writer and forever reader and book reviewer.

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