As the story unfolds, you realise that you've connected in a human way to a clone, and once the reality of this is revelaed to you the language of the story unravels to show the distinctive ways in which the people of the society and indeed the system of society, relates differently to the clones versus other living beings.
The function of this is to bring in to question 'what is it to be human'?
And the book continues to explore this theme towards the end as the donors/clones begin to wonder what is it that shows their 'soul'. A topic that drifts in and out throughout the story, but takes on new and desperate meaning towards the end of the the novel.
Donors, clones, are assigned 'carers' who are other clones. And we learn early on that Kathy, our guide in the story, has been a carer for many years. As a healthcare professional, I immediately connected with her and wanted to understand her, which teaches me something about my relational humanity that I'm still unpicking! But I wanted to find comparisons between my reality and hers, looking for humanity in every phrase.
This is what Ishiguro does so well, he builds and nurtures a deep connection betweeen the reader and the charachters until you become part of the story. And we are part of the story, we operate as observers and confidents, which reminds us that stories need be heard as well as told. The life and soul of the story is in the exchange of them. Kathy's words lay unheard, closed in the book until you open it and invest in it.
I can't help but see as the most powerful teaching in art for clinicians and a mirror up to our humanity.
I have loved this book, from the moment my dear friend recommended it. The beauty and power of the story and teaching held within simply grows, even now as I am typing on my computer and thinking in my own writing.
We look forward to sharing more with you over this next month on Pain Geeks.