First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
From the best-selling author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, a stunning new novel – his first since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature – about the wondrous, mysterious nature of the human heart.
From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
Happy Friday everyone! Another work week has come to a conclusion. Today happens to be a Philippine holiday in commemoration of the Day of Valor. April 9 was declared as a national holiday in observation of the anniversary of the Fall of Bataan, an important marker in the Japanese invasion of the archipelago during the Second World War. Apart from its historical significance, April 9 is also my mother’s birthday. Happy birthday mom! I pray for you and your fellow health care workers’ safety in this most trying of times. I hope this pandemic ends soon so that I can travel back home.
As it happens to be a Friday, I am posting a new First Impression Friday update. As I have already mentioned in my prior posts, I am in the midst of an Asian literature month, the third consecutive year that I am doing so. My journey brings me to the newest work of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro (yes, he is British but he is also ethnically Japanese). Ever since I first heard of the announcement to Klara and the Sun’s impending publication in 2021 late last year, I was giddy in anticipation. Ishiguro has certainly won me over back when I read my first Ishiguro novel, An Artist of the Floating World. Klara and the Sun is also more special as it is Ishiguro’s first novel since winning the prestigious literary award.
Klara and the Sun relates the story of the titular Klara, an Artificial Friend the readers first meet as she was bannered on the store front. She is a B2 unit but with the perpetual technological advancement, she and her generation of Artificial Friends have become insignificant. From the store’s glass display, she slowly found herself being relegated to the backline. Fortunately, she has caught the attention of a young girl named Josie. She promised that she will come back for her. Klara held on to this promise, to the extent of subtly refusing the offers of other prospective buyers, to the store manager’s dismay. It took some time but she finally found her home.
The story is easy enough to follow. There is a lack of time perspective but I guess it doesn’t matter that much, considering the advancement in technology that we have. What I am liking about this narrative is that Ishiguro is yet again going beyond his boundaries. This is fully exhibited in his last three works (Never Let Me Go, The Buried Giant and Klara and the Sun). From historical fiction to exploration of artificial intelligence to a fantastical portrayal of the medieval times, it seems like Ishiguro is always up to the task of pushing the envelopes, as far as his narrative and storytelling is concerned. However, such bold steps can sometimes be disastrous. Whilst I liked his earlier works, I have to admit that I am a little underwhelmed by his latter works.
And this underwhelming feeling is reverberating throughout Klara and the Sun. I feel like the story of Klara is all too familiar, too predictable perhaps. I already have an inkling as to how the story is going to develop and it is becoming clearer as I read into the book. The scene between Josie’s mother and Klara in Morgan Falls made me all the more certain of how the story is going to pan out. By the way, this scene made me cringe; it was contrived and out-of-place. However, I am still hoping that what my gut is telling me is wrong and that the story will get better as I get along. This is notwithstanding the fact that I have read several mixed review on the novel. I hope that it lives up to the hype and that Ishiguro’s genius won’t collapse on the ambitiousness of the narrative.
Klara and the Sun is marketed as a a work of science fiction but I am not getting that much sci-fi, so far. I am hoping to finish it over the weekend. How about you fellow reader, what book are you going to read this weekend? I hope it is a book that you’ve been looking forward to and I hope you enjoy it. Keep safe, and happy weekend!