Book review: Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro

Faber and Faber

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

I don’t know when last I was as enthralled with a book as much as I was with Klara and the Sun.

It has definitely become one of my new favourites and I rarely pick favourites.

The book is Nobel literature prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s second foray into science fiction.

His first, Never Let Me Go, was adapted into a rather mediocre film and if you’ve seen it, don’t let it cloud your judgement about the writer who is undoubtedly in a class of his own.

I don’t know when last I read science fiction this good, writing this good or storytelling this good. Klara and the Sun is a deep, thinking book with no cheap thrills or gimmicks. It will stay with you long after you have finished it.

It’s hard to write about this book without feeling like I’m spoiling it in some way because the best way to discover Klara and her story is to peel away the intricate layers bit by illuminating bit.

Knowing too much about it before going in would diminish it’s enjoyment somewhat.

The story is told in several chapterless parts with a small cast of well-crafted characters.

It is fundamentally about Klara, an artificial friend, who is highly sensitive, uniquely intuitive and has keen observation abilities that are almost human. Klara navigates the world in a childlike way that is hopeful and endearing and has a completely unjudgemental view of some hideous human behaviour.

But the story is also about the humans in Klara’s sphere and their trials and challenges.

Their stories are told through Klara’s unique and naive narrative.

Some of the concepts in the book have been touched on before in movies like Bicentennial Man and AI but Klara and the Sun diverges and goes deeper in a very raw emotional way which previous attempts don’t even come remotely close to.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone and it is definitely one that I’m keeping on the shelf for rereading.

My next mission is to find more of this remarkable writer’s work.