Med Humanities 36:61 doi:10.1136/jmh.2009.003285
  • PostScript
  • Book review

Never let me go

Written by Kazuo Ishiguro. . Published by Faber and Faber, New York, 2006, pp276, soft cover. ISBN 978-0571224135
  1. Robert C Abrams
  1. Correspondence to Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Box 140, 525 East 68th Street, New York 10065, USA; rabrams{at}

    Although Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguru is not exactly new, having been first published in 2005, a fresh look may be considered timely just ahead of the release in 2010 of a film based on the story. Never let me go may be on its face a work of science fiction, but not far below the surface lies a core of surprising clinical relevance. That clinical core deals with the most fundamental of concerns, namely, the ways in which patients who are aged or terminally ill adapt to their fate. The book's insights into the potential for maturation at the end of life make it a read of serious interest to clinicians, perhaps most particularly geriatricians. Also considered by Ishiguru is the depth of understanding, or lack of it, that patients nearing death can expect to receive from those persons charged with their care. In fact, the novel is a caricature of medical cruelty, whether systemic or individual, intentional or unwitting.

    Written by the author of the celebrated Remains of the day, Never let me go features principal characters who are clones. Raised for the sole purpose …