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Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun is the eighth novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, who has won many prizes for his work. To read this book you need to bend to the author’s wishes, as he drip feeds information throughout the story. The reader needs to be patient and persistent with the minimalistic writing which means the reader has a greater input into the work because one must “fill in the gaps.”  At first this is slow, but once you become familiar with Klara and how she thinks, her narration makes sense.

Klara is an AF; An Artificial Friend. In America in the future, parents buy their children a suitable AF to keep them company. Life is very different and most parents choose to have their children genetically modified. The story is told by Klara and begins in the shop where other AF’s are stored.

From the beginning we realise that Klara is more thoughtful, more observant, and more curious than the other androids. She has a beautiful naivety, and clarity of thought without sentimentality. When she is put in front of the shop window, she makes her own sense of all she sees.

Josie is a teenager who comes by the store with her mother. She has seen Klara in the window and chooses to take her home. Josie is very ill and has times when she is bed ridden and sleepy.

Klara offers support in many ways and her understanding grows when Rick, their neighbour comes to visit every day. They play a bubble game, where Josie draws people and Rick fills in the bubble above them to show what they are saying.

There are many versions of love for Klara to examine in Josie’s family. Her mother and Father are separated and have very different ideas about Josie’s needs. She had a sister who died, and the parents have different ways of remembering her, some more physical than others.

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone with Klara and the Sun, but glory in the precise and amazing prose it presents.

Author Kazuo Ishiguro
Publisher Faber
ISBN 9780571364879
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released March 2021