Looking Forward

Looking forward to reading this book by the author of Remains of the Day. Just reading Agent Rose about our local celebrated ‘spy’ Eileen Nearne who died alone in Torquay in 2010. Interesting reading if you have a spare few hours. Charlotte PS not particularly well written I must add but such brave people!

7 thoughts on “Looking Forward

  1. I was hoping for a bit of “cheer” after Kevin! but Never Let Me Go is another disturbing subject but, again, quite enthralling. The almost matter of fact, colloquial style of the narrator, Kathy, somehow makes the subject more horrible and sinister-very clever!
    The “students” are prepared for their future by being “drip fed” scraps of information, or, as Kathy says, “told and not told”…this is reminiscent of other restrictive regimes where people are trapped by lack of information and brainwashing.
    What is intriguing is the way that Madame and Miss Emily try to make life more normal and entertaining for their “not quite human” students, who are “bred” to serve the rest of the human race. Are they on a guilt trip? In a macabre way, it mirrors most people,s need to know the provenance and welfare standards of farm animals bred to feed us! Others, of course, like in the book, close their eyes to it.
    Spooky stuff!


    • Hi Jon, I actually see the novel as non-judgemental, more a comment or warning as to the inevitable outcome of society,s obsession with prolonging life at any price and creating the perfect human being. It is interesting ,that when this latter option is referred to, it is seen as quite shocking and unpalatable…weird, considering what else was going on!
      I like the fact that it is written in the first person,allowing us to empathise with the flaws of the narrator and feel sympathy for her acceptance of the horrible fate in store! Yes, Charlotte, I do, at times, feel frustrated at their passivity…why doesn,t someone break out!!
      The book ends with a melancholy resignation that the future will be unchanged, and the issues raised will remain buried and unresolved. Japanese philosophy maybe…depressing stuff!


  2. Taking up Jon’s point about allegory and whether their is a political angle.

    It seems to me that the book is describing the life of a closed group, they have a shared life experience, cut off from the real world and so create their own world of fads, fantasies, taboos, paranoid rumours etc.

    This is like real life in which people inhabit their own patch and get their news and analysis of the world through narrow channels of information – often drip fed – and so have a partial understanding of the world around them.

    Does this have any recent resonances?

    Ishiguro did something similar with Remains of the Day in which the main characters live in a closed world of servitude and their values reflect this.


    • Yes, Paul, many parallels…did anyone see the programme about the Hutterites..not sure of the spelling. It is a religious sect based in Canada, where contact with the “world” is minimal? It is a very regimented, communal regime but they do get “runaways”,…mainly young peaple. These escapees are not actively prevented from leaving, but many return as they have no money, no official identity and are not streetwise so are prey to exploitation in the big, wide world!
      I am sorry that I shall miss the next meeting…..I think the discussion on this book will be interesting!


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