“Klara and the Sun”

I was left strangely underwhelmed by Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Klara and the Sun”. It wasn’t the quality or style of Ishiguro’s writing (which to my mind has only failed to come up to scratch in “The Unconsoled”), nor in the inventiveness of the basic premise. I think I felt left down by the way the plot developed in the second half of the book.

[Spoiler alert!]

Throughout the book I think we were being prepared for Klara’s plea to the Sun to fail, and for Josie to die. After all, Ishiguro had done a great job in building up this sweetly naïve ‘Artificial Friend’ – and wasn’t it ridiculous that the Sun could save someone’s life? So when Josie suddenly gets better – against all the odds – I actually felt let down. And I expected to see more decay in Klara from the ‘personal’ sacrifice she made in order to destroy the pollution machine, her ‘deal’ with the Sun. Yes, we get some sense of a reduction in capability, but it’s a little vague. And I think there was possibly an opportunity missed for the Mr Capaldi, ‘Artist’, sub-plot – especially after Josie gets better.

The immobile Klara ending up in the scrap yard confirms her as a twee innocent AF, almost as if she’s learned nothing. Not so smart then – though there is some pathos in the thought of her being like an old Vauxhall Zafira destined for the crusher…

I wouldn’t put anyone off reading Ishiguro – ever (you should watch the Alan Yentob ‘Imagine’ documentary with him) – and I’m sure the majority will feel more favourably towards Klara than I…