Nostalgia and Memory in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as a Recreation of Ishiguro’s Own Childhood.

Nostalgia and Memory in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as a Recreation of Ishiguro’s Own Childhood

A dystopian book with the ideal addition of both visionary and sentimental edges is called “Never Let Me Go.” The book’s author, Kazuo Ishiguro, is a British-born novelist who was born in Japan and has lived there his entire life, giving his writing a definite Britishness. In the modern world of novelists and fiction writers, he is a well-known author who has received a significant international honour. Ishiguro has also produced other works of writing that have won awards, such as The Remains of the Day (1989). He has earned multiple spots among the Nobel Prize winners thanks to his writing prowess. Ishiguro’s sixth book, Never Let Me Go, has won more than three awards, including the Italian Serono Prize and the German Corine International Book Prize ().

Nostalgia and Memory in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as a Recreation of Ishiguro’s Own Childhood.


This research study examines how memory functions as a tool for Kazuo Ishiguro to recreate his own upbringing in Japan in Never Let Me Go. This thesis statement serves as the foundation for the argumentative paper, which aims to address two research questions: the first concerns if nostalgia enhances life quality, and the second concerns how the author’s childhood recollections influenced the composition of the novel. To accomplish these goals, the paper will first summarise the story before delving into the author’s life through the narrator’s memories. The research will largely rely on the book Never Let Me Go as its primary source of information and will also use secondary sources, particularly scholarly ones.

Recap of the Novel

Like in his other books, Ishiguro uses the narrator’s voice in Never Let Me Go to share a story about the experiences of three identical twins, Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy. The three clones were made, along with other clones, to act as organ donors for people. Kathy has been a “career” at the beginning of the story for exactly one full decade and two years. She had vivid memories of their time at the fictional boarding school Hailsham, where their teachers always highlighted the need of leading a healthy lifestyle. The institution made a commitment to do research and demonstrate that clones could resemble people if given access to compassionate conditions and a quality education. This was in the context of the widespread perception that clones were less human.

The school then permits Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth—all of whom were 16 years old—to relocate to the Cottages, a residential community, so they can experience life outside the classroom. At the cottages, Tommy and Ruth carry on the romance they started in high school while Kathy engages in overtly sexual encounters with other men. In the meantime, Kathy and Tommy realise they have feelings for one another, and they start an illicit romance that causes the three friends’ friendship to fall apart. Ruth and Tommy start donating their organs as soon as they leave the Cottages, and Kathy starts taking care of other donors while she waits her turn. After her first donation, Ruth’s life begins to decline.

Ruth advises Kathy to change her donations before she passes away so that she may spend more time with Tommy, her true love. Following Tommy’s hypothesis that Madame used the arts to read people’s souls and identify which students were in love, Tommy and Kathy renew their romance and go to Madame to request a postponement of their donations. To their surprise, Madame lacked these abilities and just gathered works of art to raise money for the school. The two get this devastating information just as Tommy needs one more donation to reach “complete.” As a result, Kathy quits taking care of Tommy, and the book concludes with the lonely narrator, Kathy, waiting for her donations to begin.

Ishiguro’s Childhood and His Literature

First-Person Narrator

For his works of postmodern fiction, Ishiguro favours the first-person narrator. It seems that Ishiguro’s identity is revealed through the first-person narrative style, which permeates all of his works of literature. Ishiguro envisions himself as an itinerant author who experienced an identity problem as a child, according to (). Therefore, he compares his own childhood memories—memories of the brief time he spent in Japan—to Kathy’s beautiful recollection. His books all have a strong first-person narrative element. So, is it just a coincidence that Ishiguro frequently employs the first-person narration of protagonists who utilise nostalgia as a diversion from their implicitly horrifying present circumstances? Many commentators believe that this level of consistency goes beyond ordinary coincidence.

Nostalgia and Memory in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as a Recreation of Ishiguro’s Own Childhood.

Author’s Life

Ishiguro was born just ten years after the incident involving the atomic bomb. He was born to Mr. Shizuo Ishiguro in Nagasaki in 1954. The British government offered his oceanographer father a position conducting research in the North Sea. The family was forced to relocate to Surrey in southern England as a result. Kazuo was only five years old at the time. The family always had hope of going home soon because the father’s employment was only supposed to be a temporary one. They lived more like tourists than immigrants in England. Kazuo could therefore study British grammar at school, but their family culture retained its original Japanese flavour. His parents could provide him with Japanese books.


A careful examination of the book Never Let Me Go reveals that Ishiguro uses memory as a tool to reconstruct his own fantastical upbringing. He has actually had the experience of coexisting in two entirely different worlds, just as he recalls through Kathy’s sentimental description. He attempts to recreate the Japan he was familiar with as a child in this book, and it seems that his conclusion is similar to that of the dying donor in “Hailsham.” That must have been a lovely location. (5) Ishiguro Therefore, even though there are no overtly Japanese aspects in the book, I am convinced that Kathy’s wistful memories of her idyllic childhood in Hailsham are directly related to the author’s own memories of his youth in Japan.


    You get full access to this sample paper