Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Dear Fellow Reader,

This week we move to speculative fiction. I will admit that this is an accident. I did not mean to keep this journey though genres going. I just wanted to read this book.

If you are unfamiliar with it, speculative fiction is “a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements.”

I had not read any of Mr. Ishiguro’s work before. I know that it is supposed to be amazing and wonderful, but I had just not made reading one of his books a priority until now. (As a total aside, I have decided that keeping lists of book s that I want to read is useless. There are always so many books to read that I never look at my list. I picked up this month’s Book Page magazine at the library and was all set to make notes of books to read and stopped myself. I know I have a journal that has a list of books that I want to read. I’m not sure where it is and I don’t need to find it. As they say, “So many books, so little time.”

Klara and the Sun is a story narrated by Klara, who is referred to as an AF. While not defining the term, AF stands for Artificial Friend. In the book, AFs are purchased to be friends for teenagers. The AFs are a way to help them not feel lonely. As the book opens, Klara is in a store waiting to be chosen to by a teenager. Klara is a series B2 AF and the new B3 AFs are much more popular. Klara is intelligent and has a keen sense of observation. She watches everything that she can see from the front window of the store and learns from what she sees. She particularly wants to learn about loneliness so that she can help her teenager. She is solar powered, and she feels the sun has great power to heal. Klara is adopted (sold to?) a woman and her daughter. She goes to live with them out in the country.

Okay, there are things I just didn’t get in this book. Klara talks about seeing boxes. I think it must be because of the way her vision operates but it wasn’t clear to me. Also, she seems to refer to cell phones as “oblongs”. (Why wouldn’t she know the words “cell phone”?) While I was lost from time to time, I kept going. If you want a happy ending, this might not be your cup of tea. I wanted to read the book because Mr. Ishiguro is known as a phenomenal writer. And he writes beautifully. While I may not have understood everything in the book, I wanted to keep reading and I finished it in a few days.

If you like speculative fiction or are looking for something different to read, this is your book. Or, if you feel like I did that there was a new book out by an author that you haven’t read before and have heard wonderful things about, then by all means pick it up. I do wonder if I might have liked Remains of the Day better, but we’ll have to find that out another time.

Thanks for reading.

About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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