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Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go: a model of ‘completion’ for the end of life
  1. Robert C Abrams
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert C Abrams, Department of Psychiatry and Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Box 140, 525 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065, USA; rabrams{at}


Kazuo Ishiguro's remarkable novel, Never Let Me Go, is a potent critique of societal and medical inhumanity. However, it can also read as a study of psychosocial development across the life span, featuring age-specific milestones and acceptance of death as the fixed point towards which humans advance through the stages of maturation. Emphasising a developmental perspective based on Eriksonian and Jaquesian theory, Ishiguro's storyline is followed closely and retold in this article. At each critical point in the novel, the differing styles of preparation for death are considered.

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