PositiveThe New RepublicMost of Ishiguro’s novels are slender books that are more complicated than they at first seem; Klara and the Sun is by contrast more simple than it seems, less novel than parable. Though much is familiar here—the restrained language, the under-stated first-person narration—the new book is much more overt than its predecessors about its concerns ... Klara inspires the humans in the book to muse about whether science can transcend death. Her owner grapples with the ramifications of choosing to have her own children genetically modified in order to enhance their potential. That this novel serves up these bigger questions so explicitly feels at first like a miscalculation, or a flaw in the narrative design, which locks us in Klara’s perspective. But I don’t think Klara aims to wrestle with these questions at all. Klara is a machine, but she’s also a contrivance, the perfect metaphor for parenthood ... Klara’s cool remove from human emotion isn’t a shortcoming but a function of her being a machine. We pity Stevens but can never quite muster the same for Klara. Her lack of interiority will prevent some readers from engaging with the book; those who want a novel that makes them feel will be stymied by emotion’s absence. Accustomed to negotiating with Ishiguro’s narrators, I kept trying to see past Klara and into the world of the book. But the narrative gives Klara no reason to provide the exposition we want: what year it is, what nation we are in (there are clues that it’s the United States, new territory for an Ishiguro novel), the specifics that clarify this invented world to be a version of our own—the very promise of science fiction.