Of Ishiguro’s 8 novels I’ve read 6, missingThe Unconsoled and A Pale View of the Hills. And I’ve read his volume of short stories. I’ve really enjoyed reading his books although the last three have not been as good, imo. Anyway, I felt I should read Klara and the Sun but procrastinated a bit at first and other books popped up.
Klara and the Sun
by Haruki Ishiguro
2021 / 249 pages
Read by Sura Siu – 10h 16m
This book feels a lot like Never Let Me Go in that the main characters are not humans as we know them. In Never Let Me Go they were clones but in Klara and the Sun they are Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Friend – AF) of some sort, worked into robots manufactured to be friends with young adults. They sit on the store shelves waiting to be chosen and purchased to go to their owner’s homes to fit in as appropriate. They are usually purchased for young teens to keep them from being lonely due to home schooling.
The first person narrator is Klara who is apparently a notch above the average AF and is a astute observer of human behavior. So we have a naive narrator as is totally typical of almost all Ishiguro’s novels. Her human is named Josie and although she is from a privileged family and very bright, she is also crippled in some way and has serious health issues. She is home schooled.
Rick is a neighbor boy who is different for some reason and not completely acceptable to Josie’s rarified crowd. They are all considered children and have toy playmates (AFs) but are 12-14 years old.
Klara doesn’t use the pronoun “you” to humans but uses their first names instead. And it’s “the Mother” and “Melania Housekeeper.” Rick is Rick though, but he’s different. I think that’s probably to keep the characters distanced from the reader and the AFs from the humans. The reader remains aware that Klara is an AF.
The book is excellent for beating the Covid-19 depression.