Klara and the Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro. Knopf, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-31817-1
Nobel laureate Ishiguro takes readers to a vaguely futuristic, technologically advanced setting reminiscent of his Never Let Me Go for a surprising parable about love, humanity, and science. Klara is an Artificial Friend (AF), a humanlike robot designed to be a child’s companion. She spends her days watching humans from her perch in the AF store, fascinated by their emotions and hungry to learn enough to help her future owner. Klara, who is solar-powered, reveres the sun for the “nourishment” and upholds “him” as a godlike figure. Klara is eventually bought by teenager Josie and continues to learn about humans through her interactions with Josie’s family and childhood friend. When Josie becomes seriously ill, Klara pleads with the sun to make her well again and confronts the boundary between service and sacrifice. While the climax lends a touch of fantasy, Klara’s relationship with the sun, which is hidden at times by smog, touches on the consequences of environmental destruction. As with Ishiguro’s other works, the rich inner reflections of his protagonists offer big takeaways, and Klara’s quiet but astute observations of human nature land with profound gravity (“There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her,” Klara says). This dazzling genre-bending work is a delight. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/11/2020
Release date: 03/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-7352-8124-0
Book - 978-0-593-31818-8
Paperback - 486 pages - 978-0-593-39656-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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