From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational abilities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come into browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
Length: 307 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber
I pre-ordered the beautiful Waterstones exclusive edition of this book because I have loved everything I’ve read that Kazuo Ishiguro has written. I don’t often pre-order hardback editions of books for two reasons: I’m not a huge fan of hardback books (I find them hard to hold while reading) and they’re expensive. Ishiguro is one of very few authors I will make an exception for.
Klara and the Sun didn’t let me down. The book opens with Klara, an Artificial Friend, waiting in a store to be bought by a family. We get to see her observations about the world, and her voice is quietly optimistic. With no bad experiences in her short life, she sees such positivity in the small sliver of the world she can see.
Which is refreshing. We see the world through her new eyes, and there is a childlike simplicity in that. Though I’m not generally a fan of reading about children, I didn’t mind reading about Klara and her eventual family. Ishiguro poses a lot of questions about the world, and drops in so many small clues and hints that the story never felt tedious or boring.
I’ve written elsewhere about his writing style, He economises with words, but you never feel like you’re missing any descriptions of the world or characters. The tone of this book is different yet again to the tone of any of his previous books. It is a little reminiscent of Never Let Me Go, in that it is science fiction and asks similar questions about the human condition. Is there more to being human than thoughts and memories?
There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. I read it quickly and easily, sinking into the story and completely losing track of time. It’s a sad book, and yet full of hope as well. Ishiguro does a good job in Klara and the Sun of showing humanity at its best and also at its worst – and somehow, these two things can happen in the same person at the same time. We can be generous, and loving, but also thoughtless and selfish all in the same breath.
I loved this book, and I just want to give Klara a hug. Ishiguro remains one of my favourite authors.