The Nobel Prize-winning author of Never Let Me Go returns with the story of Klara, an artificial friend who observes human life from her place on the shop shelf and—after she has been purchased—from inside the home of a troubled family.
... Klara and the Sun confirms one’s suspicion that the contemporary novel’s truest inheritor of Nabokovian estrangement—not to mention its best and deepest Martian—is Ishiguro ... Never Let Me Go wrung a profound parable out of such questions: the embodied suggestion of that novel is that a free, long, human life is, in the end, just an unfree, short, cloned life. Klara and the Sun continues this meditation, powerfully and affectingly. Ishiguro uses his inhuman, all too human narrators to gaze upon the theological heft of our lives, and to call its bluff ... Ishiguro keeps his eye on the human connection. Only Ishiguro, I think, would insist on grounding this speculative narrative so deeply in the ordinary; only he would add, to a description of a battle between sunlight and darkness ... Whether our postcards are read by anyone has become the searching doubt of Ishiguro’s recent novels, in which this master, so utterly unlike his peers, goes about creating his ordinary, strange, godless allegories.
... moving and beautiful ... an unequivocal return to form, a meditation in the subtlest shades on the subject of whether our species will be able to live with everything it has created ... Ishiguro’s best books are hard to summarize with any justice past the first hundred pages because, like a handful of other great writers — Louise Erdrich, Dostoevsky — he is almost incidentally one of the best pure mystery novelists around. With just a few words he creates ambiguities that make most of his books feverish reads, one-sitters ... a distinctly 'mature' novel — as assured as ever, but slapdash in places compared to the author’s meticulous earlier work. And he’s never been strong with dialogue (his books are so profoundly interior). But these minor criticisms glance off Ishiguro’s work like bullets off the hull of a battleship. Few writers who’ve ever lived have been able to create moods of transience, loss and existential self-doubt as Ishiguro has — not art about the feelings, but the feelings themselves.
... takes place in the uncomfortably near future, and banal language is redeployed with sinister portent ... For four decades now, Ishiguro has written eloquently about the balancing act of remembering without succumbing irrevocably to the past. Memory and the accounting of memory, its burdens and its reconciliation, have been his subjects. With Klara and the Sun, I began to see how he has mastered the adjacent theme of obsolescence ... Klara is likable enough — as she was manufactured to be — but it’s hard to empathize with her on the page, which is maybe the point. The stilted affect that so often characterizes Ishiguro’s prose and dialogue — an incantatory flatness that belies its revelatory ability — serves its literal function ... complements [Ishiguro's] brilliant vision, though it doesn’t reach the artistic heights of his past achievements.