RaveThe Telegraph India (IND)The novel’s surreal underpinning is consolidated by Ishiguro’s persistent reminders that Klara’s vision is segmented into boxes and that she is not seeing humans the way other humans do, but in a more fragmented manner ... Reflections on profound questions take place even as Ishiguro builds up anxiety around Klara and the ailing girl whose AF she is ... There can be a looseness about Ishiguro’s novels — structurally or in terms of lengthy dialogues. Klara and the Sun, however, is taut, elegant and haunting. It is best read as a keen-eyed inquiry into the uniqueness of the human heart. Is there a soul, something, anything that is beyond the reach of technology that seems to be the harbinger of destruction of everything we know? Through the novel’s drama, Ishiguro offers us an answer which is as disturbing as it is intense.
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, trans. by Michele Hutchison
MixedThe Telegraph (IND)... an unflinching examination of a family falling apart in the madness of grief, rendered all the more unnerving because of the childishly plain, matter-of-fact way in which the compulsive behaviour of the various family members are reported by Jas, our narrator ... Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who grew up with the values of the Dutch Reformed Church, paints a vivid picture of the constant struggle between the piously coercive and the perversely rebellious. The author does not hold back when it comes to poking into shadowy corners to stir up uneasy memories of prepubescent explorations of sexuality and mortality ... The author must be commended for succeeding in an area where many others have failed—fictionalized childhood, with a child as the narrator, is prone to embellishment, presenting the world as a simpler, sanitized space than we know it to be. Rijneveld’s lack of reservation, her frightening extremity—which, in Michele Hutchison’s lucid translation, never strikes to be ornamental or manipulative—gives full voice to the enormity of the children’s grief and their total deprivation when it comes to human affection ... Yet, the amount of violence in the novel also seems to be disproportionately high ... the Mulder family is dysfunctional even before its disruption by grief and then bovine epidemic. This makes it hard to care about, or even be shocked by, the events of the plot after a while ... It is when Rijneveld strays into fantasy and tries to pack in one too many ideas—a common pitfall with a debutant novel—that the reader is left with a sense of discomfort.