3.5 star

Review: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

From the best-selling author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, a stunning new novel—his first since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature—about the wondrous, mysterious nature of the human heart.

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

This was a book that my friends and I did for another book club, and boy is it a good one! Good one in the sense that it is a good book club book, as it is full of thought-provoking insight and perspectives I have never ever before thought of. To top it all off, it’s written by an Asian author, so what’s not to love?!

Klara and the Sun revolves around a most interesting premise: the Artificial Friend, or the AF. Klara is one such model of AF, and she watches from her store, hoping one day to be chosen. The book completely takes place in her POV and how she perceives the world, and will totally transport you into a place you never even thought to look. The world is somewhat futuristic, and it is unclear whether it is Earth or not, but certainly whatever the world is, it will take you on an adventure.

The characters were all excellent in this book. Each AF was crafted well, and the humans that are in the story were also either well-fleshed out or were a proper foil. They weren’t too many main characters, and everything really does happen through the eyes of Klara. Klara builds relationships with the people/AFs around her and there is truly something special about looking at something such as relationship with humans from a different perspective that is quite haunting.

The use of literary devices such as foreshadowing was incredible in this book. This was probably my favourite part of the book. The sense of foreboding and dread I had running through the whole book was almost essentially like a thriller. The emotions were so tense, it’s hard to believe that you’re looking through the eyes of a robot. The way the story was told was quite excellent and I think it really is something people should read, just to gain more perspective into the world as we see it. This book really challenges the status quo, and what can be thought of as normal.

The main reason I don’t have this rated higher is that there were some discussions that were mildly introduced but then left unexplored and left to the imagination. While this was definitely a stylistic choice, it wasn’t my favourite. More importantly though, there is a major point near the climax that I once again wasn’t in favour of the route that was chosen. Certainly it was a reasonable route to take and I won’t fault anyone for it, but I felt like more could have been explored if the last 15-20% of the book was slightly different. However, the ending did still leave me in minor shock so I won’t take that away from it.

Overall I would recommend this read for sure, it’s something that people should read for that shift in perspective, and really makes us question a lot of the emotions and actions that humans have. Just this alone is enough for me to recommend the book, and I don’t think whether you love the actual plot/story that much is that important to the value that this book provides.

Overall Recommendations

Klara and the Sun is a very interesting book that takes place through the eyes of a narrator who is a robot, namely, an Artificial Friend. She starts off in a store, wondering if one day she’ll be picked up as she was made (and named) to do, and we see the world through her eyes as she makes her journey. Full of emotional ups and downs (lots of downs), and full of novel perspective you may never have considered, this is certainly one that I recommend people picking up just for a fresh new take on the human psyche and the way we express love and care for those around us.


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