Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro is a dystopian science fiction story. It is much like Never Let Me Go but, somehow, not as brilliant. That is not to say Klara and the Sun is not readable. Far from it. Kazuo Ishiguro Nobel Prize winner, has a special talent for making you believe his sci-fi world is as believable as our own reality. He writes with an elegant simplicity conveying complex feelings.
“Hope,’ he said. ‘Damn thing never leaves you alone.”
Klara, an Artificial Friend
The book is set in a future where it is possible to have your child genetically engineered to enhance their academic abilities. Schooling is provided at home by on-screen tutors, limiting all social interactions. For those who can afford it, an AF (Artificial Friend) is their constant companion.
Klara is an AF for Josie. We follow Klara’s journey as she narrates her life experiences from the store window to her stay with Josie. Although Klara is exceptionally intelligent and observant, her knowledge of the world is limited. We see how she navigates the world and learns more about the concepts of human emotions.
“There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her.”
Klara and the Sun
Klara, who needs solar energy to function, has great faith in the sun’s ability to cure. When she realises Josie is ill, she makes it her mission to plead with the Sun to make her better. However, not knowing much beyond the limits of the store she was at, she needs to figure out the ways of the world. Along the way, she meets new people and figures out more about living in the human world.
“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”
Klara and the Sun theme of Lonliness and Vulnerability
Loneliness is one of the signature emotions that Ishiguro tries to deal with in the book. In her new position, Klara has many opportunities to observe the strategies that humans devise to fight off loneliness and conceal vulnerability.
The details of the new world order are slowly revealed to the reader, and we realise how isolated each person becomes in the process of achieving perfection
“Until recently, I didn’t think that humans could choose loneliness. That there were sometimes forces more powerful than the wish to avoid loneliness.”
It is a story that reminds you of the pitfalls on the way to attaining a future that prioritises greatness and efficiency, over human emotions and needs.
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