Finished the superb Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Seems like a bit of a return to the style of "Remains of the Day" and "An Artist of the Floating World": shorter, and relatively straightforward compared to his more tortuously contorted recent books.
Book works on a couple of levels, one as an cooly horrific story; one as a meditation on lost opportunities and mortality. As usual though, Ishiguro carefully avoids details and specifics, so considered as an exercise in SF world-building it would be an abject failure. In this case that didn't irritate me though, as the ambiguities are essential.
(Don't read these spoilers if you have any intention of reading the book).
The great unresolved question for me is to why the Donors don't resist their fate, despite being apparently given a high degree of freedom. Have they just been so carefully brainwashed that it`s unthinkable? Is the alternate society so strictly regimented that escape is impossible? Have they been genetically engineered to be compliant? Or is it just that most people don`t question their culture's assumptions? Plenty of other cultures have had apparently willing human sacrifices. It would be easy enough to find an explanation, but I think it works better to leave unresolved.
I absolutely loved the ending. Seemed to me one of the best dramatic inversions ever: you're introduced to the characters who you think are going to be unveiled as monsters, but turn out to be well-meaning, partly successful fighters against even worse monstrosity that's revealed to be triumphant.
I'd class this as among his best books, and one of the best novels I've read in age. While short and with an easy prose style though, it is slow-paced and character-driven. Highly recommended.
Went to the Hayward to see the Undercover Surrealism exhibition ("Picasso, Miro, Masson and the vision of Georges Bataille"). High-concept. diverse selection themed around 1930s avant-garde magazine "Documents". Mixes up some of the ethnic folk art that inspired them with a sprinkling of first-rate art, like Picasso's "Two women running on the beach", a couple of Dali's. plus a lot of photographs and some sculptures.
Quite entertaining, though might irritate purists and there's a fair amount of padding to fill out the Hayward's generous space. At £7.50 might be a bit expensive for some. Gallery quiet, cool and uncrowded on a rainy weekend day, no kids.
Have had brown basmati rice a few times. Quite tasty and I like the texture, but it's even more of a pain to cook. You have to soak it for several hours to get all the starch out, it takes 45 minutes to steam instead of 25-30, and apparently it goes off a lot more quickly. Back to white Basmati after this I think.
Probably visiting Paris for the first time soon. Any tips?
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