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Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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 wil Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: What does it mean to love?


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Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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 wil Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: What does it mean to love?

30 review for Klara and the Sun

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    I was super into this book in the first half and could have easily given it 4 stars. It was charming to see the world through the eyes of an innocent and optimistic AI, and the audiobook narration added to the whimsy. I was excited to see all the potential developments unfold among the protagonist and the family she lives with. Unfortunately, the story didn’t go anywhere from there. There weren’t any groundbreaking observations of human nature, nor enough emotional stakes to make the book specia I was super into this book in the first half and could have easily given it 4 stars. It was charming to see the world through the eyes of an innocent and optimistic AI, and the audiobook narration added to the whimsy. I was excited to see all the potential developments unfold among the protagonist and the family she lives with. Unfortunately, the story didn’t go anywhere from there. There weren’t any groundbreaking observations of human nature, nor enough emotional stakes to make the book special.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I read right to the end of Klara and the Sun to be really sure there wasn't a moment, a clever twist lurking somewhere, that would make me love it. I pushed through an underwhelming narrative of recycled sci-fi themes, waiting, surely, for Nobel Prize-worthy goodness. The kind that made me fall for Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day. But I couldn't find it. So then I went to read the starred reviews from critics who raved about this book to see where I went wrong. I read the gushing Publ I read right to the end of Klara and the Sun to be really sure there wasn't a moment, a clever twist lurking somewhere, that would make me love it. I pushed through an underwhelming narrative of recycled sci-fi themes, waiting, surely, for Nobel Prize-worthy goodness. The kind that made me fall for Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day. But I couldn't find it. So then I went to read the starred reviews from critics who raved about this book to see where I went wrong. I read the gushing Publisher's Weekly review that cites the author's "astute observations of human nature" as being star-worthy, pulling the following quote as an example: “There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her,” Klara says. ...and I couldn't help wondering why the best example they could come up with reads like something from the most saccharine of children's novels. I turned next to Kirkus who uses examples of solar-powered androids and vague mentions of pollution to present this as some kind of climate change/dying planet parable. Despite listing few, if any, original ideas in the body of the review, and, in fact, declaring it "familiar territory" to readers of Aldiss or Collodi, Kirkus slaps a star on the work anyway. Is it just that no critics will dare say anything bad about an author of Ishiguro's standing? Is this also why I felt such a complete disconnect between what the reviews said about Atwood's The Testaments and what I was actually reading? Klara and the Sun takes on the same old sci-fi themes authors have been exploring for decades, and does nothing new with them, in my opinion. A girl called Josie and her mother purchase an AF (Artificial Friend) called Klara, who then observes their interactions, plus the interactions between Josie and her friend, Rick. Much time is spent looking at the sun, sketching, and navel-gazing. I cannot figure out if we are actually supposed to be surprised by the info Ishiguro reveals halfway or not, because it is obvious from the moment Klara is purchased. The story is deliberately vague, which here feels lazy rather than mysterious. Klara's stiff AI narrative voice makes for a dull read, and it is even more disappointing to discover we are not being led anywhere remarkable. And I would like to say here that I actually have very high tolerance for quiet character studies about human behaviour. Give me some Anne Tyler or Celeste Ng any day. But I sadly did not find this to be a very successful one of those either. Klara, Josie, Rick, and Josie's mother are not characters I will remember. This whole book lacked a spark for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Do you hear the eerie sound of trumpets informs us an unpopular review is on its way! I am not sure I read the same book everybody did. All those critics have written marvelous things about this one which made truly excited to dive into! We’re talking Nobel prize winner author! This is brand new book of the author of “Remains of the day” and “ Never Let me go”! What could possibly go wrong? But too many things absolutely went so wrong! I felt like I stuck in mud and sunk deeper at each page! Eve Do you hear the eerie sound of trumpets informs us an unpopular review is on its way! I am not sure I read the same book everybody did. All those critics have written marvelous things about this one which made truly excited to dive into! We’re talking Nobel prize winner author! This is brand new book of the author of “Remains of the day” and “ Never Let me go”! What could possibly go wrong? But too many things absolutely went so wrong! I felt like I stuck in mud and sunk deeper at each page! Everything I read were blurry, vague, going nowhere, no smart earth shattering twist, no sign of brilliant intelligence of the author. It was just flat and as long as I pushed harder I couldn’t get any result. When I reached the conclusion and expected to get something different at the end, another disappointment train crashed me over and over again. The story was simple. Jodie’s mother purchased an AI( artificial friend) for her daughter to observe her and her interactions with her friend Rick. Most of the book they stare at the sun and keep sketching. If there’s some reference about climate change, air pollution or any other sensitive issues I couldn’t catch it. So it doesn’t seem like a dystopian or apocalyptic story. After seeing those five stars and high recommendations I feel weird! Did I miss something everyone easily got? Did I lose my objective perception? Am I not smart enough to understand the deeper meaning of the story? Maybe I was in the wrong mood and this was wrong book for me to read at the very wrong time! But I still give my two stars, covering my ears not to hear your boos! As my final decision : unfortunately this book is definitely not for me!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angie Kim

    I tore through the ARC in less than 24 hours, and now I'm just sitting here with tears in my eyes, completely and utterly satisfied. I love Klara, the insightful and noble Artificial Friend, and I wish she were real so that I could hug her and tell her how much she means to me. This book is all my favorite things rolled into one--sci-fi, mythology, suspense and mystery, and coming of age (yes, of a robot). It's a beautiful and powerful exploration of important questions about humanity: what make I tore through the ARC in less than 24 hours, and now I'm just sitting here with tears in my eyes, completely and utterly satisfied. I love Klara, the insightful and noble Artificial Friend, and I wish she were real so that I could hug her and tell her how much she means to me. This book is all my favorite things rolled into one--sci-fi, mythology, suspense and mystery, and coming of age (yes, of a robot). It's a beautiful and powerful exploration of important questions about humanity: what makes a person? What makes a life worth living and remembering? How do our beliefs and observations change the world, and vice-versa? In many ways, I think Klara and the Sun is a companion piece of sorts to Never Let Me Go (probably my favorite Ishiguro novel until this one), examining one world's solution to achieve the same type of "improvement" to society and human life that NLMG did. The goal is similar, but the means are almost opposite in the two books--two sides of the same coin. (Ugh, it's hard to express without specific references, but I don't want to even risk spoiling anything!) I cannot WAIT for everyone to read this book because I need to discuss and debate it!!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henk

    Human callousness and the cruelty of forgetting and changing. All captured in a near future America with some very faint glimmers of hope intertwined “Sometimes,’ she said, ‘at special moments like that, people feel a pain alongside their happiness. I’m glad you watch everything so carefully, Klara.” One does not read Kazuo Ishiguro his works for literary fireworks on a sentence level. This is especially true for Klara and the Sun, told from the perspective of a quickly learning AI (or AF, artific Human callousness and the cruelty of forgetting and changing. All captured in a near future America with some very faint glimmers of hope intertwined “Sometimes,’ she said, ‘at special moments like that, people feel a pain alongside their happiness. I’m glad you watch everything so carefully, Klara.” One does not read Kazuo Ishiguro his works for literary fireworks on a sentence level. This is especially true for Klara and the Sun, told from the perspective of a quickly learning AI (or AF, artificial friend in the world building of Ishiguro). Her narration is initially childlike and naive and does not change much even with better of understanding of humanity. In a sense the writing is a bit like Haruki Murakami, with the themes being what pulls you into the book. Not to say Klara hasn't got an endearing and immersive narrative voice, because I was definitely hooked to keep on reading. Ishiguro describes a near future world were inequality of changes are entrenched by genetics and artificial friends are companions available to the elite, to assist in homeschooling and keeping children company. The first part of the book details how Klara is selected by Josie, and reminded me quite a lot in feel and tone to the Sonmi-451 section of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. After this initial chapter we return to more familiar Ishiguro themes like servitude (The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go both come to mind) with Klara interacting with Josie and her mother, slowly learning more of the world and her purpose in it. Klara as AI has a lot of magical thinking, and in contrast to the more familiar Terminator AI version or the Matrix, she is set on strictly following her designed goal to care for fragile Josie. There are important themes of loss and coping woven in, and questions on what make humans unique, if anything, in a world where artificial intelligence becomes ever more potent. There is also a tint of doomed love with neighbour Rick and Josie, almost anime like (I was reminded a bit of Makoto Shinkai's your name.), but with a poisoned dagger edge embedded in it. The gravity of the world as it is, Ishiguro seems to say, is maybe too strong even versus all our good intentions. Also quite filmic is a meeting at the end of the book in an Edward Hopper like restaurant, where there are decisions made over dreams and futures based on events and interactions from long ago. Without self regard, Klara truly embodies love, in a way that feels superior to what we humans seem to be able to muster. She does not fundamentally change, but her surroundings do and people and time move on. Hence the ending felt for me emotionally impactful and a perfect illustration of something the author said during the digital launch events: There is something very cruel about the human condition

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joel Rochester

    There is so much nuance to this book I— I will come back with some more thoughts later but I really enjoyed this!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jack Edwards

    Ishiguro has an unparalleled ability to craft dystopian societies which are simultaneously shocking and disorientating, yet oddly familiar -- they are believable because they take present values or ideas and stretch them to the extreme. He also has an unmatched ability to construct scenes in which misunderstandings cause conflict, so awkward and frustrating that the reader wishes they could intervene. Klara and the Sun imagines what the future of artificial intelligence and genetic-engineering co Ishiguro has an unparalleled ability to craft dystopian societies which are simultaneously shocking and disorientating, yet oddly familiar -- they are believable because they take present values or ideas and stretch them to the extreme. He also has an unmatched ability to construct scenes in which misunderstandings cause conflict, so awkward and frustrating that the reader wishes they could intervene. Klara and the Sun imagines what the future of artificial intelligence and genetic-engineering could entail in this incredibly suspenseful novel which presents a myriad of ethical dilemmas without providing answers or solutions. This ambiguity is deliberate, encouraging the (probably pretty confused) reader to make rational connections between our present society and this imagined one. What steps would have to be taken right now to reach that state? I found the first 100 pages a little slow as the plot didn't seem to be developing any further than what the blurb described -- it was just a book about AI -- but stick with it, as the narrative soon unravels in subtle and complex ways.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    If NEVER LET ME GO is your favorite Ishiguro, he is serving up something very similar here. Ishiguro can hop between genres, but this is surprisingly close to that familiar territory, though with enough differences to be its own unique thing. What you may recognize: the near-future setting that is mostly similar to the present but gradually we learn of some astonishing differences; the first-person narrator that is a kind of outsider who doesn't fully understand the world they live in; themes of If NEVER LET ME GO is your favorite Ishiguro, he is serving up something very similar here. Ishiguro can hop between genres, but this is surprisingly close to that familiar territory, though with enough differences to be its own unique thing. What you may recognize: the near-future setting that is mostly similar to the present but gradually we learn of some astonishing differences; the first-person narrator that is a kind of outsider who doesn't fully understand the world they live in; themes of loneliness and what makes a person human. Even the style of the prose is familiar, Klara and Kathy H. can feel quite similar sometimes. (I re-read NLMG just a few months ago so it's very fresh in my head.) With all that said, this is a slower book, one that focuses more on parents and children, and one that examines class. It's interesting to me that in NLMG and KATS, Ishiguro takes on two common tropes of science-fiction: clones and robots. He also both addresses and never addresses the most common questions books about them explore: whether and to what extent they are human. Here, Klara is our first-person narrator guiding us through the world and there is never a question that she feels empathy and hope. The book still explores the ways Klara sees the world, how she is more or less human, but it is not the book's central question, and yet it also is. As you'd expect if you have read Ishiguro, it's quite a delicate business, the way he works in his themes, and here he beats around the bush a little less. This is also quite slow, Klara's plot unfolds gradually but the real plot that Klara doesn't quite understand doesn't really unfold until nearly 80% of the way through the book. You definitely need to be ready to invest some time in this one. But it does all come together and from there it's quick. I wouldn't say this is up there with my favorite Ishiguro's--I still like NLMG better, I would say REMAINS OF THE DAY is my favorite but I haven't read it in at least a decade so I'm due for a refresh--for me it falls in the middle. But an Average Ishiguro is still something to be happy about.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nataliya

    This book made me sad. Sad not because of the story but because I read it expecting the brilliance that the author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go can deliver in spades — and instead I got... well... this. A dull and lackluster book that slowly fizzles out under the burden of its unengaging narrative voice that neuters most of the impact from its bleak ending hiding inside the world’s saddest, most delusional servile optimism. Because by the time I plodded to the end, exhausted fro This book made me sad. Sad not because of the story but because I read it expecting the brilliance that the author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go can deliver in spades — and instead I got... well... this. A dull and lackluster book that slowly fizzles out under the burden of its unengaging narrative voice that neuters most of the impact from its bleak ending hiding inside the world’s saddest, most delusional servile optimism. Because by the time I plodded to the end, exhausted from the oppressive naïveté of the childlike servile narrator, this banality (that inside it, admittedly, packs a bit of a punch) actually started to make sense at its face value, because I had no desire left to care: “There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her.” It’s a frustratingly vague story about a childlike AI - the titular solar-powered Klara - who is made to be a faithful and servile companion for a young teenage girl. Klara is a robot who is devoted to her kid Josie, observing the life around her and worshipping the Sun in the manner that stops being cute and becomes a bit disturbing. Klara’s voice full of childlike innocence mixed with some stilted “robotic” constructions, sadly, does not help create an interesting narration. She’s supposedly very observant and apparently very intelligent — but I know it only because we are told so by the other characters while Klara herself, through her inner monologue and actions, comes across as little but a humanoid teddy bear. For the life of me I could not understand what made her such a great companion, and how supposed supreme observational skills and intellect coexisted with such bland and dull inner (and outer, really) voice. Me, after 250+ pages of Klara’s pensive yet unrelentless optimism. And the vagueness of so many things in the story — the things that Klara’s narrative attention just slides off before anything becomes interesting — is really irritating. It’s not vague in a way that lends mystery feel but in a way that makes me wonder if the author himself had no idea about how certain things are supposed to work in this world, therefore sticking with just the blurry outlines and barest bones of worldbuilding. The focus is on Klara and Josie and maybe Rick — but they are not interesting enough to compensate for the vaguely futuristic dystopian sketch of the world around them. And all the potential in the relationships around Klara - the awful mother-daughter dynamic, the mother-Rick confrontation, the strange mother-son relationship, the absent father, the tensions between the elite and those left behind - all that was barely a glimpse as we kept circling back to Klara’s obsession with her owner and the Sun. The story itself lacks much of the subtlety that I came to expect from Ishiguro. Things that are warped and wrong are telegraphed loud and clear (think those interactions at the party between both children and adults, and most of Josie’s mother’s actions, and the lifted/unlifted contrasts through Rick and all the others who have the privilege he does not). The lines are painfully clear, drawn starkly like those frustratingly often appearing boxes in Klara’s overwhelmed vision — all giving it a feel of a story that wants to make itself obvious for a younger audience, but can be a bit trite and simplistic for older readers. Not to mention that the idea itself of (view spoiler)[replacing a dead child with a robot who learns to mimic that child’s behavior in order to lessen the sadness of a parent of a dead child (hide spoiler)] is a concept too ridiculous to ever really take seriously for adults, but something that can be tried and debunked for younger readers. I do wonder if it was conceived as a sad tale for kids and got aged up to appeal to a wider audience? I expect better from a writer who penned The Remains of the Day - with all the subtlety and nostalgia and criticism of the unfair social order and musings on human nature and love and servility. Read that one instead. It seems to have hit a perfect note for many readers, but for me it fell flat. And its denouement, meant to be pensive and bittersweet and maybe a bit anger-provoking behind the facade of sweetness made me just sigh in sadness that I got through all those pages for *this*. Because I kept hoping for the story to redeem its stiff bland journey by suddenly growing some metaphorical teeth in the end — and yes, Klara’s end (view spoiler)[basically as a discarded toy because ultimately nobody ever came to see her as a person and not a tool or a toy to be discarded once used because your worth itself isn’t intrinsic but dependent on others placing value in you (hide spoiler)] was quietly heartbreaking and said a lot about us humans — but at that point my senses were too dulled by all the pages of Klara’s obsessively naive narration to really care and feel the impact as it should have been. Sadly, the story ended up apathetically lifeless, and that’s unfortunate. Maybe I’m too much of a cynic, and overwhelming majority of readers, judging by the overall rating, would disagree with my gripes, but it is what it is. 2 stars. It pains me to rate a book by Ishiguro so low. ———— Buddy read with Stephen and Barbara.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marchpane

    Klara is hyper-observant, always watching those around her closely. Noticing if, say, a flicker of sadness passes across someone’s features. Klara is also an Artificial Friend, a lifelike android destined to become a companion for a human child. Is it empathy, the way she notices, observes, adjusts her behaviour accordingly? Or something else? Ishiguro excels at narrators who are detached, almost affectless, without being cold. Of this type, Klara is both exemplar and simulacrum. Her sensitivity Klara is hyper-observant, always watching those around her closely. Noticing if, say, a flicker of sadness passes across someone’s features. Klara is also an Artificial Friend, a lifelike android destined to become a companion for a human child. Is it empathy, the way she notices, observes, adjusts her behaviour accordingly? Or something else? Ishiguro excels at narrators who are detached, almost affectless, without being cold. Of this type, Klara is both exemplar and simulacrum. Her sensitivity to other people’s feelings is heightened to an ‘uncanny valley’ degree that makes her both deeply sympathetic and a little creepy. Her narration is formal, punctilious, scrupulously accurate. Her machine’s eye view of the world—which in unfamiliar or confusing settings, renders visually as a bizarre, tessellated jumble—keeps the reader slightly off keel. As Klara and the Sun plays out, it feels almost like a Victorian-era novel: a friendless girl of low means is engaged by a wealthy family to act as a companion for their ailing daughter; the household mostly treat her as invisible but then start to take her into their confidences; there is a budding romance across class lines, and hints at dark family secrets. The final act brings back the sci-fi with a unique dilemma for Klara. Without getting into spoilers, it’s a fresh and original A.I. tale, one that isn’t just another variation on Pinocchio. Faith and rationality; love and devotion; loneliness and grief. Which, if any, traits are uniquely, unprogrammably human? Big philosophical questions that are posed with Ishiguro’s typical subtlety and understatement.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric Anderson

    “Klara and the Sun” is the first novel Ishiguro has published since he won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature which – of course - means that this is one of the publishing events of the year, but given this author's output producing a new novel roughly every five years means it's also coming right on time. I was entranced by his most recent novel “The Buried Giant” which reads like the most psychologically-compelling fable or fantasy tale. Yet, even though I have a high regard for his work, I was “Klara and the Sun” is the first novel Ishiguro has published since he won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature which – of course - means that this is one of the publishing events of the year, but given this author's output producing a new novel roughly every five years means it's also coming right on time. I was entranced by his most recent novel “The Buried Giant” which reads like the most psychologically-compelling fable or fantasy tale. Yet, even though I have a high regard for his work, I was initially skeptical of the premise of “Klara and the Sun” which is told from the perspective of an Artificial Friend or AF who at the beginning of the story is waiting on a shop shelf for an adolescent child to purchase her. It sounds similar to the film series Toy Story or perhaps a bit like Pinocchio. This isn't a coincidence since Ishiguro described in a recent interview how he initially conceived of this story as a children's book. Additionally, given that this new novel is also about genetic engineering, the question of what it means to be human and it's set in an unspecified future point means it's also reminiscent of his novel “Never Let Me Go”. But the magic of Ishiguro's writing is that any reservations I had were quickly forgotten as I got into the drama of this suspenseful and moving story. It's difficult to discuss this book without giving spoilers, but I'm going to do my best to avoid them. This isn't simply a saccharine tale because it's sweetness is also what makes it unsettling as we follow Klara's gradual understanding of the world around her and the expectations placed upon her. She's a naïve, highly perceptive and well-intentioned AF who has no qualms with the purpose she's been designed for: to support, nurture and give unqualified friendship to her child owner. When she is eventually purchased she does exactly that and her loyalty means that she goes to great lengths to be the best companion she can. Her faith in the power of the Sun drives her to perform a charmingly ardent act to help her child and around this time we also learn about the deeper purpose for which she was purchased. This means that these two narrative threads which are light and dark intertwine at almost the same point making the reader feel beguiled as well as horrified. It's a powerful effect which makes it a gripping story as well as one which raises lingering questions about the binding force of love. Read my full review of Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro on LonesomeReader

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook.... read by Sura Siu “Klara and the Sun” is sooooo GOOD... Absolutely MAGNIFICENT!!! There’s already a myriad of reviews describing the plot, and/or analyzing Kazuo Ishiguro, or comparisons to Ishiguro’s other novels, and ‘more’ analyzing of the characters, the narrative, and book cover.... Dozens of marvelous reviews... So.... I’m just going add that “Klara and the Sun”, is one of my 2021 favorites!!! ....loved, loved, loved every second of it!!!! The audiobook was as wonderful as can be! I Audiobook.... read by Sura Siu “Klara and the Sun” is sooooo GOOD... Absolutely MAGNIFICENT!!! There’s already a myriad of reviews describing the plot, and/or analyzing Kazuo Ishiguro, or comparisons to Ishiguro’s other novels, and ‘more’ analyzing of the characters, the narrative, and book cover.... Dozens of marvelous reviews... So.... I’m just going add that “Klara and the Sun”, is one of my 2021 favorites!!! ....loved, loved, loved every second of it!!!! The audiobook was as wonderful as can be! It doesn’t matter what a readers genre preferences are... ....every man, woman, and child can find enjoyment in “Klara and the Sun”. The Sun shines through loneliness and love.... and after listening to this powerful wonderful novel.... I listened to “The Sunhine Song”, by Jason Mraz... to linger my melancholy mood a little longer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED novel!!!! ....Klara rates top artificial friend in 2021.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    There is something unnameable about the way Ishiguro’s books make me feel. I cannot explain it in words. They feel like a breath of fresh air on a crisp autumn day. Seeing an old friend after a long period of separation. That moment of complete silence in the early hours of the morning. The writing was the author’s usual, simplistic style that never fails to captivate me. Full of subtle hints that leaves the reader desperate to figure out what our characters are going through. Pages rich with nua There is something unnameable about the way Ishiguro’s books make me feel. I cannot explain it in words. They feel like a breath of fresh air on a crisp autumn day. Seeing an old friend after a long period of separation. That moment of complete silence in the early hours of the morning. The writing was the author’s usual, simplistic style that never fails to captivate me. Full of subtle hints that leaves the reader desperate to figure out what our characters are going through. Pages rich with nuance and deeper meaning. Ishiguro purposefully omits detail and specifics which allows the reader to flesh out thier own version of how to perceive Klara’s world (honestly this is my favourite part of his writing!! I like forming my own ideas and theories). The futuristic setting doesn’t feel far fetched, but fills one with kind of feeling of foreboding. A look into where things are headed for us. Klara was such an interesting narrator — naive and wise and full of hope. Her observations of humans and the way she makes sense of the world were fascinating. I’d begun to understand also that this wasn’t a trait peculiar just to Josie; that people often felt the need to prepare a side of themselves to display to passers-by – as they might in a store window – and that such a display needn’t be taken so seriously once the moment had passed. Her reverence of the sun was most captivating. Despite being a robot, her faith felt genuine and the spirtual aspect of her personality was unexpected but engaging to read. There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her. Ultimately this is a story of love and hope and all that we would do to hold on to those we love. If you’re looking for a complex sci-fi novel — this is not it. I’d recommend this to literary fiction lovers and anyone who enjoys poignant slow paced reads. Rating 4.5 thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy for review Find Me: Ko-Fi • Blog • Instagram • Twitter • Tiktok

  14. 5 out of 5

    William2

    Is this a YA novel? The language is beautiful but supremely flat. It reminds me of Never Let Me Go in its dystopian setting and grueling humorlessness. I’ve real all of Ishiguro’s novels. My favorite is The Unconsoled, among others reasons because of its wit. For example, in one scene set in a cinema Clint Eastwood stars in 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s nothing like that here. And I am reminded of what Martin Amis recently said about the necessity of wit (be it subtle or broad) in fiction. The Is this a YA novel? The language is beautiful but supremely flat. It reminds me of Never Let Me Go in its dystopian setting and grueling humorlessness. I’ve real all of Ishiguro’s novels. My favorite is The Unconsoled, among others reasons because of its wit. For example, in one scene set in a cinema Clint Eastwood stars in 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s nothing like that here. And I am reminded of what Martin Amis recently said about the necessity of wit (be it subtle or broad) in fiction. The story in its moral ambiguity seems to me roughly analogous to what Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley did for vivisection in Frankenstein. Klara is often treated like a cipher. Despite having some confused ideas about the world her capacity to read humans is startling. She’s sentient with a sense of the spiritual. Guess her fate.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    Published today 2 March 2021 – the Nobel Laureate discussed his latest book on a Guardian Live event this evening (with an audience of 3500+) – his first event of what he calls a virtual world book tour. Alex Clarke hosted with questions asked by pre-recorded video by Daisy Johnson, Bernardine Evaristo, David Mitchell and Emma Thompson. Here are my notes on the evening. The genesis of the story is a children’s story – for children of 5-6 years old that Ishiguro had developed. He has always been fa Published today 2 March 2021 – the Nobel Laureate discussed his latest book on a Guardian Live event this evening (with an audience of 3500+) – his first event of what he calls a virtual world book tour. Alex Clarke hosted with questions asked by pre-recorded video by Daisy Johnson, Bernardine Evaristo, David Mitchell and Emma Thompson. Here are my notes on the evening. The genesis of the story is a children’s story – for children of 5-6 years old that Ishiguro had developed. He has always been fascinated by the link between the hopeful and sweet illustrations and the text – which, with a wish not to deceive our children too much, hint partly at the darker side of reality. He ran the short story past his daughter (Naomi – of course a novelist in her own right) in 2014-15 and was hold he could go nowhere near children with it as he would traumatise her. The story was about a stuffed toy bought by a girl in a shop – the girl was not well and the two of them watch the Sun pass from one side of the room to the other. The novel is more optimistic than the original children’s story. The Science/Artificial Intelligence idea is something he is also interested in – and he felt if the book was in an adult part-dystopian world – the teddy bear could be an AI Robot. Ishiguro enjoys writing with a distanced or alienated narrator which allow him to bring an external perspective on humanity and to focus on the oddness of the narrator. Klara fits this well – her entire role is to prevent loneliness in teenagers so her entire focus (initially) is on loneliness and what it means in humanity. This approach – a distanced narrator - allows him to focus on the themes he wants to explore in an economical way. He does not think of the setting of this novel as dystopian in the same way as “Never Let Me Go” – this is a confused world, in flux and trying to work out how to re-organise itself in response to rapid technological change. Historically – effectively his first three novels - he had very stable backgrounds (country houses for example) and tended to focus his novel on the darker sides of humanity. He then had a (his words) “rather odd” midpoint of his career when he focused on dream-scapes. In his last three novels including this one - he has (which he thinks is a process of maturity) to have a darker background but in his novels to celebrate the better parts of humanity. Klara believes in some form of innate goodness – and focuses on the Sun as a benign presence. His narrators often do not realise how lost they are until much later in the novel – or how little they are in control of their emotions and decisions. A lot of his books feature narrators (Stevens, Kathy, and now Klara) who do not realise until later that what they consider their best efforts are part of something different and less benign. He likes this idea as it captures how difficult it is for all of us to get a real perspective on the present and metaphorically the reality of our own lives. His early novels were written by narrators looking back at their life – trying to make sense of their life and their decisions. As he himself has got older he has realised you don’t even really see a clear path even in retrospect where critical decisions and mistakes can be identified – he now realises luck and circumstance have much greater effect. So he know sees this as a convenient storytelling device but as something he no longer wants to rely on. As someone who explores themes (and sees settings as secondary) he feels he has the freedom to try genres. He described his like for genre as slightly childlike – and a little like someone who likes to try their hand at cooking different types of food, he enjoys trying his hands at different genres. He then finds that some of the constraints and forms of the genre give his ideas more strength. His early models for great artists are people who switch genres – he mentioned Dylan’s switch from folk to electric which he was “in awe“ of as a 14-15 year old (by which time Dylan’s greatness as someone who switched genres was already established) . He also mentioned Stanley Kubrick (horror, science fiction, cold war satire), Miles Davis, Picasso. From an early age he understood that great artistry meant moving on – after writing “Remains of The Day” he felt he needed to go on an electric tour and get boo-d by his previous fans – something that happened a little with “The Unconsoled”. He likes to mention Worcestershire in every novel. David Mitchell (at the time on tour for his debut novel “Ghostwritten” asked him why he always mentioned it) – at the time he did not recognise this (and still does not think he did it in his first novel) but as a result he chose to make this his signature (as standing for a traditional part of England). He always writes in a first person style, addressed to some form of audience, because he still thinks of himself as a folk singer/songwriter performing his songs to a small pub (which was his original impression) He tends to start his book with the ending as the after-effect of a book, the emotions and ideas a reader is left with after reading, is the crucial thing he is aiming it. He thinks too much critical writing advice concentrates on how you keep a reader engaged as they read the book – he is far more interested in how to stay in the mind of a reader long after they have finished the book. He is far more interested in longevity than engagement and as a result sacrifices something of the reading experience to achieve this. Last year has shown a clear divide between two different views: a rational, evidence based version of the truth and an emotional version of truth (where what you feel and believe to be true is true) – and this divide (shown between the science of COVID-19 and the reaction of Trump supporters to the election) has made him fundamentally question what he does. Does fiction even deserve a Nobel Prize – are artists and fiction writers on the wrong side of the fence of this divide over truth. Is it enough anymore to simply say fiction is important because it contains emotional truth (which is what he says in his Nobel acceptance speech).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    My days of enjoying Ishiguro might be forever over. For a literary fiction writer to take on the subject of AI is already too heavy a lift as it's been explored so thoroughly in genre fiction and TV, and explored well. However, I thought Ishiguro would be able to add some special magic and find a new angle, like he did in Never Let Me Go. Alas, this narrative and perspective are incredibly boring and a tad twee and I am not interested whatsoever. I feel like many aging authors, once great, like My days of enjoying Ishiguro might be forever over. For a literary fiction writer to take on the subject of AI is already too heavy a lift as it's been explored so thoroughly in genre fiction and TV, and explored well. However, I thought Ishiguro would be able to add some special magic and find a new angle, like he did in Never Let Me Go. Alas, this narrative and perspective are incredibly boring and a tad twee and I am not interested whatsoever. I feel like many aging authors, once great, like Ishiguro, McEwan, Atwood, think that they have something new to say in the world of SF, but they really don't, maybe they did, back in a day, but not anymore. I'll let people unfamiliar with SF go on and shower praise on Ishiguro. I'll just stand here and marvel at the travesty.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    I couldn't put it down. An examination of the beautiful and terrible human condition by way of a robot. I couldn't put it down. An examination of the beautiful and terrible human condition by way of a robot.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro Klara and the Sun is the eighth novel by the Nobel Prize-winning British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, published on March 2, 2021. Klara and the Sun, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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. The book is narrated by one such Ar Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro Klara and the Sun is the eighth novel by the Nobel Prize-winning British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, published on March 2, 2021. Klara and the Sun, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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. The book is narrated by one such Artificial Friend (AF) called Klara. Although exceptionally intelligent and observant, Klara's knowledge of the world is limited. From the window of the store in which she is for sale, Klara learns about the world outside, and watches the sun which she always refers to as 'he' and treats as a living entity. As a solar-powered AF, the sun's nourishment is of great importance to her. On one occasion she notices that a beggar and his dog are not in their usual position; they are lying like discarded bags and do not move all day. It is obvious to Klara that they have died, and she is surprised the next morning to see that they are living and that the sun has with his great kindness saved them with a special kind of nourishment. Klara comes to fear and hate what she calls the "Cootings Machine" (from the name printed on its side) which stands for several days in the street outside, spewing out pollution that entirely blocks the sun's rays. Klara is chosen by 14-year-old Josie, who lives with her mother in a remote region of prairie. Soon after joining them, Klara learns that the lifting process carries some risk: Josie's older sister Sal had earlier died, and Josie herself is gravely ill. Josie's only near neighbor and childhood friend is Rick, a boy of about her own age. Although academically able, Rick has not been lifted and faces discrimination and reduced career prospects. In spite of this, Josie and Rick have always known that they will be together forever. From Josie's bedroom Klara has a good view of the sun's progress across the sky, and comes to believe that he goes to his nightly rest within a farmer's barn that stands on the horizon. With Rick's help, she makes her way there one evening across the grasslands. Although surprised to find the sun's resting place is not actually in the barn, she pleads with him to pour his special kind of nourishment onto Josie and to save her life, as he did the beggar. She offers in return to find and destroy the pollution-creating Cootings Machine. تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دهم ماه آوریل سال 2021میلادی عنوان: کلارا و خورشید؛ نویسنده کازئو ایشی‌گورو؛ مترجم شیرین شکراللهی؛ تهران، کتاب کوله پشتی‏‫، 1399؛ در 378ص؛ شابک 9786004614603؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ژاپنی تبار بریتانیایی - سده 21م عنوان: کلارا و خورشید؛ نویسنده کازوئو ایشی گورو؛ مترجم شیوا مقانلو؛ تهران: نشر نیماژ‏‫، 1400؛ در 319ص؛ شابک 9786003677081؛ این نسخه های فارسی چاپ شده ولی هنوز منتشر نشده اند داستان رمان «کلارا و خورشید»؛ در مورد رباتی به نام «کلارا» است، که میخواهد با انسانها دوست شود؛ داستان رمان در مکانی ناشناخته روی میدهد؛ «کلارا» از جای خود در قفسۀ فروشگاه، مشتریان را می‌نگرد، و به این امید است تا کسی پیدا شود و او را برگزیند؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21/01/1400هجری خورشیدی

  19. 5 out of 5

    AnnaLuce

    / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / Klara and the Sun presents its readers with a quiet yet touching meditation on life. In a similar fashion as Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro's foray into the speculative realm is deeply grounded in the mundane. Yet, in spite of its ordinary trappings, Klara and the Sun is a work that is brimming with ambiguities. Ishiguro excels at this type of narrative, ones in which ordinary scenes and interactions are interrupted by moments of unquiet. The near future o / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / Klara and the Sun presents its readers with a quiet yet touching meditation on life. In a similar fashion as Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro's foray into the speculative realm is deeply grounded in the mundane. Yet, in spite of its ordinary trappings, Klara and the Sun is a work that is brimming with ambiguities. Ishiguro excels at this type of narrative, ones in which ordinary scenes and interactions are interrupted by moments of unquiet. The near future of Klara and the Sun comes to us slowly, and even in the end, much of it remains unknown to us. Our narrator Klara, an Artificial Friend, an android whose primary function is that of providing companionship to children. From the confines of her store, Klara has but a limited view of the outside world. Through the store window, she watches passersby, taking notice of their behaviors, appearances, the emotions they seem to manifest. Klara reveres the Sun, which every day provides her with 'nourishment'. Klara is purchased as an AF for Josie, a girl afflicted by an unnamed illness. In her new home, Klara learns more about people and their incongruities. Klara's purpose is to be there for Josie, but, even she cannot seem to be of any help when it comes to Josie's illness. Josie, who lives with her mother (who Klara refers to as 'the mother') and their somewhat brusque housekeeper ('Melania housekeeper'). As time goes by, through Klara, we learn more about this near future. There are communities of post-employed, there are lifted and unlifted children, and both Josie and 'the mother' seem to have mysterious 'plans' up their sleeves. Klara's child-like narration belies her unsettling reality. From the way children treat their companions, to the lengths parents will go to provide their children with the best chance at succeeding in life, the world Klara witnesses is far from reassuring. In spite of its domestic setting, which takes us from the kitchen to the living room, and with the occasional foray into the outside, Ishiguro explores questions of love, freedom, and memory. And, of course, humanity. What makes us human? What makes me, me? Ishiguro provides no easy answers or solutions, depicting instead the different ways Klara and those around react to the same worries and fears. Klara is often a witness to crucial exchanges. Yet, her passive role does not mean that she is unable to understand a certain situation/conversation or the motivations and emotions of those involved. The simplicity, one could even say purity, of her voice might annoy some readers, especially those who are looking for more complex or ambivalent narrators. Still, I grew quite fond of her, and there were many instances in which she struck me as more human than the actual humans. One thing that I am unsure of is why Klara—who usually does not describe the physical appearance of others—noticed, in two different instances, that one of the people in her vicinity was Black. As far as I can remember, she does not comment on anyone else's race or ethnicity (we learn that Melania is European through her accented English and another mother making a comment about European housekeepers). Klara guesses Josie's friend's accent but only after talking to him. So why would an android who usually does not describe those around her as white or would notice that someone is Black? Was this Ishiguro pointing to this: Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses ? Or that Klara was designed after a white person or to have a white person’s perspective? Otherwise it just seems odd. There were also certain plot points that felt a bit too neat, especially towards the end. And while I am always appreciative of Ishiguro's prose, of his ability to capture ephemeral emotions and thoughts, of the ambiguous nature of his stories, I found myself wishing for more. Josie, alongside her mother and neighbors, never earned their way into my heart. That is to say, I felt at a distance from them. The tension between them was certainly palpable and well rendered but, ultimately, I found them somewhat dull. Although I wasn’t blown away by this novel I did overall enjoy it. Klara is the novel's star, and I found her to be a deeply compelling protagonist who challenged my notions of 'human'. Readers who prefer faster-paced narratives may want to give this one a large berth but if you were a fan of Never Let Me Go you might find this to be just as gripping (I, for one, finished in less than 24 hours).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    One day a couple years ago I was sitting at my desk at the library when a colleague came in and excitedly told me there were two men in a rowboat coming down the creek. It's a slender and shallow creek and you wouldn't expect to see a rowboat coming down it, so I could understand her delight. She went to take some photos while I went about my work, declining to check it out myself. That evening at home I told my partner about it, how Christy had seen two men in a rowboat in the creek behind the li One day a couple years ago I was sitting at my desk at the library when a colleague came in and excitedly told me there were two men in a rowboat coming down the creek. It's a slender and shallow creek and you wouldn't expect to see a rowboat coming down it, so I could understand her delight. She went to take some photos while I went about my work, declining to check it out myself. That evening at home I told my partner about it, how Christy had seen two men in a rowboat in the creek behind the library. "Wow!!" she exclaimed, asking if I'd gone out to see them. When I responded that I hadn't, she wanted to know why not. "Well, I'm not interested in rowboats nor two men in a rowboat," I replied. S (in her sexy Italian accent):  "Yes you are, Jenna! You love rowboats!" J:  "Um, not really. Why do you think I like rowboats?" S:  "You always say how much you want to get one and how cool they are." J:  "Um... no...." (scrunching my face in confusion). "Why would I want a rowboat?  What the heck would I do with one?" S:  "You could talk with it, and have it do things for you, and......" J:  "Oooh! A robot! You're talking about a robot!! No, it was a boat! You know, with oars? That you row? A rowboat!" We both started laughing, me imagining her confusion over why I suddenly had lost interest in robots and both of us picturing an X-Men figure traipsing down the creek behind the library, supported on either side by two burly men. The letters r-o-b-o-t are pronounced in Italian the way we English speakers pronounce "rowboat". Maybe you had to be there but it was incredibly funny.  When I asked why she didn't think it odd that there would be a robot in the creek, she shrugged, "This is America. Anything can happen in America". She's got a point. Given my love of robots, I've been eagerly awaiting Kazuo Ishiguro's new book Klara and the Sun. Unfortunately, it did not provide nearly as much enjoyment as that discussion about the rowboat. Perhaps I had too high hopes for it, but it just didn't deliver. Klara is an Artificial Friend, a robot made to be a companion/babysitter for children. Klara is amazing and I would love to sit down and have a conversation with her. Her observational skills are sharper than most humans' and the story begins with her in the window of a shop, watching the world outside. She observes the Sun and the taxis and the Beggar Man with his Dog. She notices different facial expressions on people's faces as they hurry by. She is abhorred by a machine that produces Pollution, blocking out Sun's rays. Klara is purchased for Josie, a young girl with some sort of illness, and it was easy to figure out, almost from the beginning, what the trajectory of the story would be. I won't say more about the plot because I don't want to give anything away. This had the makings of an incredible story but unfortunately didn't live up to my expectations. I enjoyed hearing Klara's thoughts and learning how she saw images differently than how humans see them. She sees through cameras and is programmed to differentiate shapes. Things appear two-dimensional and sometimes it takes a few seconds before she can figure out what something is. For instance, two humans embracing is a different shape than two humans not touching, and she might at first think they are a wide mug. Walking down a path is easy for most people, but for Klara it can be a challenge. If the path is uneven, strewn with rocks, or overgrown with high grass along the sides, it can throw her off. It's easy to appreciate, reading this book, how difficult it is to enable robots to walk over a variety of surfaces. Things like this in the book I loved. Unfortunately, there was so much dialogue that dominated these pages. Though I had to resort to it myself with the story at the beginning of this review, I dislike dialogue in books. Also, the dialogue was sometimes stilted and sometimes unbelievable, especially when the children were talking. There's not much that happens, which would have been ok had the book been limited to Klara's observations, thoughts, and feelings. I like introspective books and don't need a lot going on. However, the book just kept heading -with the overuse of dialogue - towards a "shocking" climax that I had figured out early on and thus wasn't shocking. If you like futuristic stories and don't mind constant jibber jabber between the characters, you'll probably enjoy this. Klara is a remarkable character and kept me interested in the story, despite knowing where it was going and despite having to sometimes skim through pages of chit chatting. I'm glad I read this even though my enjoyment was only three stars. Klara is a memorable character who I adored and who makes me look forward to the day when I can have my very own robot. (But no rowboat, please.) And just in case you think it's only Italians whose accents confuse English words.... imagine my partner's amusement when I ask for a "penna" (pen) and pronounce it as "pene" (penis). She has told me I am absolutely not allowed, ever, to ask for a pen when we're in Italy. I suppose I'll be stuck writing with matiti (pencils, not my titty).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meike

    Yup, Nobel Prize winner Ishiguro gives us a novel written in the tone of a children's book, and while I'm usually a literary snob who demands at lest 1634 meta-levels to enjoy a text, I still really liked this effort. Our narrator is Klara, a robot equipped with artificial intelligence, who is bought to support Josie, a sickly, lonely teenager. Set in a future - and how near that future actually is is one of the main questions of the book - where machines are programmed to understand and replace Yup, Nobel Prize winner Ishiguro gives us a novel written in the tone of a children's book, and while I'm usually a literary snob who demands at lest 1634 meta-levels to enjoy a text, I still really liked this effort. Our narrator is Klara, a robot equipped with artificial intelligence, who is bought to support Josie, a sickly, lonely teenager. Set in a future - and how near that future actually is is one of the main questions of the book - where machines are programmed to understand and replace humans, and where humans are engineered to perform better, classism reigns and society gets more and more atomized. In Josie's social circle, Klara quickly becomes the confidante of many characters, mainly because she is programmed to oblige and because she is unable to follow interests of her own. Fully dedicated to the well-being of Josie, Klara crafts a plan that she thinks will help the child to become healthy again... To choose a solar-powered AI (so powered by the same energy as nature) as the narrator is the real feat of Ishiguro, as it enables him to ponder human behavior and emotions, while questioning whether it is possible to actually craft an artificial human (and the reason Klara gives for her standpoint that it isn't possible is pretty remarkable). The current discourse about self-optimization, a society glued to screens and societal disparities is well-reflected, and while the author doesn't bother all too much with the nuances, the basic points are all there and rendered in an affecting, powerful narrative. Never Let Me Go might be a stronger effort revolving around similar themes, but still, this is very touching, thought-provoking and well worth reading. You can learn more about the novel in our latest podcast episode (in German).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    [4.5 stars] Reading this reminded me a lot of my first time reading Never Let Me Go in 2013. I inhaled that book. I was so compelled by the world Ishiguro created and how he slowly doled out information. Klara and the Sun is no exception. This novel has a quiet, almost nostalgic atmosphere that gently guides the reader into a simulacrum of our world, but with something slightly off. That dissonance kept me turning the pages wanting to not only find out more about the characters' environment but a [4.5 stars] Reading this reminded me a lot of my first time reading Never Let Me Go in 2013. I inhaled that book. I was so compelled by the world Ishiguro created and how he slowly doled out information. Klara and the Sun is no exception. This novel has a quiet, almost nostalgic atmosphere that gently guides the reader into a simulacrum of our world, but with something slightly off. That dissonance kept me turning the pages wanting to not only find out more about the characters' environment but about the characters themselves. Klara, especially, as an AI narrator felt so human. But what even does it mean to be human? This is probably Ishiguro's most pressing question at the heart of both of these novels. I think I'll need time to continue pondering my feelings about this book and what I made of the plot itself. It seems to me that it's a story that will only impact me more the longer I sit with it, so for that I feel hasty in writing a review immediately upon finishing it. But nonetheless I wanted to share that I really loved this book and understand the hype. For me, it was engaging, heart-breaking, intriguing, and so many other adjectives. I can definitely imagine myself returning to it again in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    In many ways this is The Remains of the Day meets Never Let Me Go. With its particular limited first-person narration, I thought of the former almost immediately. The thought of the latter arose mostly from plot elements, though its narration too is similar to Klara’s. In fewer words, this is quintessential Ishiguro. It’s hard to discuss this novel without giving away elements that are better experienced. Tension, even dread, is increased by the doling out of select details; but it’s mostly due t In many ways this is The Remains of the Day meets Never Let Me Go. With its particular limited first-person narration, I thought of the former almost immediately. The thought of the latter arose mostly from plot elements, though its narration too is similar to Klara’s. In fewer words, this is quintessential Ishiguro. It’s hard to discuss this novel without giving away elements that are better experienced. Tension, even dread, is increased by the doling out of select details; but it’s mostly due to the familiar being rendered unfamiliar. The nonhuman narrator inspires reflection on human traits: our possibly irrational faith in our life source (whatever we might deem it to be); our treatment of perceived inferiors; our reliance on hope. It’s all done with a quiet, careful style; simple prose that needs to be looked under. As I started the last section of memories being overlapped and sorted, my brain pounced again on The Remains of the Day. By the end of Klara’s story, it was as if I’d gained new understanding of a fictional man (Mr. Stevens of The Remains of the Day) through a fictional robot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fulcher

    Hmm - well that was a disappointment - curse of the Nobel Prize? I am a huge Ishiguro fan, and was genuinely emotional when I heard his name in the live broadcast from Stockholm on 5 October 2017. That love of his works is built particularly on the first three novels, perfecting a form that culminated in the Remains of the Day, and his masterpiece The Unconsoled. And I was even one of those who felt The Buried Giant, despite some oddities, showed his genius. But Ishiguro has revealed that Klara a Hmm - well that was a disappointment - curse of the Nobel Prize? I am a huge Ishiguro fan, and was genuinely emotional when I heard his name in the live broadcast from Stockholm on 5 October 2017. That love of his works is built particularly on the first three novels, perfecting a form that culminated in the Remains of the Day, and his masterpiece The Unconsoled. And I was even one of those who felt The Buried Giant, despite some oddities, showed his genius. But Ishiguro has revealed that Klara and the Sun, albeit with a teddy bear rather than a robot, started as a book for young children, and he actually made the final novel rather more upbeat. I suspect it may have been better staying in the original form, than this which felt rather Ishiguro-by-numbers. As far as specifics, the choice of an AI first-person narrator rather distanced the story from the wider world in which the human character were immersed, ones similarly navigating, in Ishiguro style, through a changing world and one where past decisions might be regretted. The themes of gene-altering, displacement of even professional workers by AI, and the resulting impact on human communities (some form of fascism?) felt underexplored and certain topics (the Englishness of one of the characters for example) were dropped in it seemed at random. Roman Clodia's review expresses many of the novel's issues well: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Still a poor Ishiguro is still a relatively good novel, so 3 stars and I will still eagerly snap up whatever he does next.

  25. 4 out of 5

    marta the book slayer

    Wearing sunglasses for this review because I am anti-sun and anti-Klara I wish I had quotes to put at the front of this review but nothing remarkable grasped my attention long enough to want to highlight it. I have such a strong dislike of this novel, I will not be caring about spoilers in my review. Read at your own discretion 1/5 Klara and the Sun is such a fitting title for this novel. I mean it is literally about Klara and the Sun. The novel begins with Klara, an artificial friend, in a storefr Wearing sunglasses for this review because I am anti-sun and anti-Klara I wish I had quotes to put at the front of this review but nothing remarkable grasped my attention long enough to want to highlight it. I have such a strong dislike of this novel, I will not be caring about spoilers in my review. Read at your own discretion 1/5 Klara and the Sun is such a fitting title for this novel. I mean it is literally about Klara and the Sun. The novel begins with Klara, an artificial friend, in a storefront. Because this novel is in her POV, the dictation is very straightforward and simplistic. She knows she needs the sunlight to survive (is she a plant?) and values its importance. Therefore the first 1/4 of the novel is Klara in the shop window and her observances of the sun. Once she is finally purchased by a sickly child who promises her a home with plenty of sunlight, Klara's immediate focus is on the child. Let's not get too carried away though, KLARA IS STILL OBSESSED WITH THE SUN. She is convinced that pollution has blocked the sunlight causing Josie (her human friend) to be sick. It has become Klara's sole responsibility to provide enough sunlight to replenish Josie to full health. Then for 600 pages all we read about is the sun. Klara wants to destroy the pollution causing machine. Klara prays to the sun. Klara thinks about the sun. Klara meets different people and somehow manages to convince them to help her with her sun plan. I mean maybe there are some secondary plot lines (????) aka Josie almost dying and Klara becoming her as an artificial child. What the fuck "lifting" a child even means ??? Why is Josie an annoying prick ??? (Sorry more questions than secondary plot lines because nothing was explained or fully developed) Forget writing an interesting novel. When you pick a title just stick to it and make sure your novel repeats the wordsKlara and the sun as much as possible. How do people actually get emotionally invested in this bootleg Westworld existentialist artificial robot praying to the sun, I have no idea. thank you, next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    3.5, rounded up. (Some spoiler-ish comments below - BEWARE!) I had only read Ishiguro's last two novels prior to this one; I loved Never Let Me Go, but was less enchanted by The Buried Giant ... this fell somewhere in the middle. And in one sense it can almost be thought of as a companion to NLMG - Ishiguro says he basically rewrites the same book over and over, and one can see that being operative here. As with those two novels, the author plunks the reader down in a strange world that bears SO 3.5, rounded up. (Some spoiler-ish comments below - BEWARE!) I had only read Ishiguro's last two novels prior to this one; I loved Never Let Me Go, but was less enchanted by The Buried Giant ... this fell somewhere in the middle. And in one sense it can almost be thought of as a companion to NLMG - Ishiguro says he basically rewrites the same book over and over, and one can see that being operative here. As with those two novels, the author plunks the reader down in a strange world that bears SOME relationship with our own, with a couple of things just a bit off. It takes over half the book to really orient oneself as to what is actually going on, and even then, several things don't QUITE add up. Up until about the two-thirds point, I was liking this well enough, although I thought there were some longueurs that I felt could have been tightened up, or eliminated. But the more things became clear, the more disillusioned I became, the book also became a bit didactic (Pollution is inserted as almost a trendy topic, but not dealt with other than cursorily), and my eyes rolled a couple of times. I don't necessarily NEED everything tied up in a neat bow, but several things that seem as if they MIGHT be important are not really explicated fully. The most egregious of these is the whole 'lifted' child concept - if I'm reading it correctly, it refers to genetically enhancing a child's abilities with gene splicing - and both Josie and her sister Sal have undergone such experimentation, which resulted in the latter's demise and Josie's 'illness' ... but that is never made clear. There are also two things that just didn't make sense to me: if Klara is going to 'become' Josie, should she expire - then why is Capaldi's 'portrait' necessary at all? It would seem superfluous. And this is REALLY nitpicky, but it bugged me: as Klara and Chrissie are about to go to Morgan's Falls, Klara states she has never been in a car - so how did she get from the store TO the house?! Later, going to Capaldi's, Klara is assured there is room for her in the car, so she doesn't have to be put in the trunk - but if THAT is why Klara says she's never 'ridden', why would they have put her there when there were only two other passengers, if there was room for her when there are five?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    One hundred years ago, a play titled “R.U.R.,” by Karel Capek, debuted in Prague and gave us the word “robot.” Since then, androids have been dreaming of electric sheep, and we’ve been having nightmares about the robot apocalypse. But calamity rarely comes in the neat, clarifying ways we fear. Leave it to Kazuo Ishiguro to articulate our inchoate anxieties about the future we’re building. “Klara and the Sun,” his first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in 2017, is a delicate, haunting story, st One hundred years ago, a play titled “R.U.R.,” by Karel Capek, debuted in Prague and gave us the word “robot.” Since then, androids have been dreaming of electric sheep, and we’ve been having nightmares about the robot apocalypse. But calamity rarely comes in the neat, clarifying ways we fear. Leave it to Kazuo Ishiguro to articulate our inchoate anxieties about the future we’re building. “Klara and the Sun,” his first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in 2017, is a delicate, haunting story, steeped in sorrow and hope. Readers still reeling from his 2005 novel “Never Let Me Go” will find here a gentler exploration of the price children pay for modern advancements. But if the weird complications of technology frame the plot, the real subject, as always in Ishiguro’s dusk-lit fiction, is the moral quandary of the human heart. Klara, the narrator of this genre-straddling novel, is an Artificial Friend (AF), a popular class of androids designed to provide companionship to teenagers. Why young people would need artificial companionship is one of the chilling questions that Ishiguro raises but postpones so naturally that the horror feels almost incidental. When we meet Klara, she (it?) is on display in something like the Apple Store, an elegant retail shop catering to well-heeled parents. Older AFs such as Klara rotate with the latest models, competing for attention based on their specifications and social cachet. Klara’s particular skill is. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This is my first time reading Kazuo Ishiguro and this novel persuaded me to add some of his previous work to my tbr list. Pop culture is experiencing an influx of movies, books, and tv shows about artificial intelligence and robots as it is becoming increasingly clear that those things will become a part of our society. For better or worse. In my experience with the fictional works that deal with these existential themes, I feel like they tend to hit viewers and readers over the head in much too This is my first time reading Kazuo Ishiguro and this novel persuaded me to add some of his previous work to my tbr list. Pop culture is experiencing an influx of movies, books, and tv shows about artificial intelligence and robots as it is becoming increasingly clear that those things will become a part of our society. For better or worse. In my experience with the fictional works that deal with these existential themes, I feel like they tend to hit viewers and readers over the head in much too obvious ways. Thankfully, Ishiguro has crafted a novel that is much more subtle and gave me a visceral, emotional reaction. Set in a future where AI robots are becoming a growing part of society, Klara and the Sun is a book about an AF (artificial friend) named Klara, whose purpose is to be a companion to a teenage girl (Josie). This is not a plot driven book and readers that have expectations of a sci-fi action novel will be severely disappointed. Instead the book focuses on interactions between the family and friends of Josie through the eyes of Klara (the artificial friend). One of the things I liked most in this book was the character of Klara. Klara’s view of the world is often flat and vague, as she’s trying to make sense of the physical, emotional, and human world around her that she doesn’t totally understand. Ishiguro does a great job of writing from the pov of an AI robot. I wasn’t familiar with the author so it was at times laboring to get through the first half of the book. However, once I got to the midpoint, I found myself reading faster and with more intent as the theme of the story started to take shape.The heavy lifting I had to do at the beginning of the book paid off in a major way. A large chunk of the first half is setup for a poignant climax at about the 80 percent mark. There were many themes in Klara and the Sun that resonated with me. Loneliness, mortality, existence, love, hope, are some that come to mind. But perhaps the most important theme from the book was what it means to be human. Ishiguro tackles this question in a unique way by telling a story through a character that is not human, but is instead observing humans and trying to make sense of the humans she observes while also trying to make sense of an unfamiliar world. Klara and the Sun was one of those books that will stick with me for a while as I also try to make sense of an increasingly unfamiliar world.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars: “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro is an interesting story told by Klara, who is basically a robot. Ishiguro provides his writing the freedom of telling his story through innocent, non-emotional insights by using Klara. Klara is an AF, and Artificial Friend. Think of Rosie in the Jetsons. Klara is a humanoid machine, built for the sole purpose of companionship. The story begins with Klara in a toy store. Klara’s favorite spot is being in the window of the store. This position allow 3.5 stars: “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro is an interesting story told by Klara, who is basically a robot. Ishiguro provides his writing the freedom of telling his story through innocent, non-emotional insights by using Klara. Klara is an AF, and Artificial Friend. Think of Rosie in the Jetsons. Klara is a humanoid machine, built for the sole purpose of companionship. The story begins with Klara in a toy store. Klara’s favorite spot is being in the window of the store. This position allows Klara to see humans and watch their behaviors. With Klara’s observations, she intends to use these bites of information to be the best possible AF. A sickly girl, Josie, comes into the store and falls in love with Klara. Time doesn’t allow for her to purchase Klara, and Josie promises to come back to get her. Josie’s illness is a mystery until later in the story. The reader knows that some children have been “lifted” and are in a better position to go to college, gain employment, and be successful. What is involved in being lifted is only alluded to, by Josie’s mother. Josie does come back and purchases Klara, but only after Josie’s mother makes Klara pass a test. The mother’s interest in Klara’s find tuned observations is what allows Josie to get Klara. Once at home with Josie, Klara makes many interesting observations of Josie’s homelife and social life. Some observations are perplexing to Klara and allows Ishiguro to provide some subtle humor. Josie begins to experience more sick days. Klara is solar powered, and because of this, she adores the sun. In fact, she comes up with the idea of providing gifts to the sun to help Josie. In Klara’s view, the sun is all powerful, and provides the source of life. Ishiguro writes a futuristic story about artificial intelligence taking over the workplace and going as far as “buying” friends for your child. This story is about how far our society could go in creating robots to replace humans. Yet, there is a question of the basic human emotion: love. Can an artificial intelligent being provide and receive love? I enjoyed this story. It does provide some fodder with regard to how far humans should be replaced. This is borderline sci-fi, similar to “Never Let Me Go.” There were no robots in that story, but he questioned how far we could go in procuring future health. I listened to audio production, narrated by Sura Siu.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    A quick word of background on my relationship with Ishiguro: whatever magical element he generates through his specific brand of alchemy, it’s kind of my kryptonite. Finishing one of his books tends to send me into a day-long episode of the vapors in which I wander around in a kind of dazed and wistful malaise, unable to think of anything else and yet unable to speak to anyone else about it. After The Remains of the Day, I spent the remains of my own day stalking violently yet ambivalently about A quick word of background on my relationship with Ishiguro: whatever magical element he generates through his specific brand of alchemy, it’s kind of my kryptonite. Finishing one of his books tends to send me into a day-long episode of the vapors in which I wander around in a kind of dazed and wistful malaise, unable to think of anything else and yet unable to speak to anyone else about it. After The Remains of the Day, I spent the remains of my own day stalking violently yet ambivalently about, like Catherine Earnshaw on the moors, and after Never Let Me Go, you could find me supine, staking out dust motes on the ceiling as it felt like an invisible HD camera zoomed in on my face. Likewise, Ishiguro’s characters are so fantastically isolated, attempting to eke out meaningful and personal values-resonant existences on the fringes of enormous ethical conundrums around which they (and the reader) have only the sketchiest information and sense of agency. And with that, we have Klara - perhaps a most isolated character of all, as the extremely proficient yet imperfect product of profoundly imperfect humans, endeavoring so earnestly from the margins not only to first do no harm, but also, to do an unprecedented level of help, to deliver help and care to the maximum extent possible! Well, I won’t get into what happens, or especially the ending, but I found it, and her, absolutely heartbreaking. To all you fellow helping professionals out there, as well as to all caregivers generally, whether professionally or personally, or basically anyone invested in the logistics and the emotional labor and the loyal leaps of faith involved in caring - I’m sure some of you can relate to Klara’s experiences, both for better and for worse. I definitely felt like... I’ve had those days, you know? One quick note - Klara’s heartbreaking qualities may have been bolstered by the fact that I couldn’t help but visualize her as Gemma Chan, the actor who does such an excellent job playing Mia, a household-helper “Synth” with a role somewhat similar to Klara’s, in the 2015-2018 television series Humans, which I believe is a British show based on a Swedish show and which aired on AMC in the US and I think may be currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. I saw at least the first season or two of this show and thought it pretty great, and all of the other acting is very good too, especially with the actors playing the other Synth characters. Also: 2021 PopSugar Reading Challenge: Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR reading challenge - “A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI character” (2020 challenge, #28).

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