Review: Klara And The Sun

  • Title: Klara And The Sun
  • Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian
  • Year: 2021
  • Synopsis: 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 on the street outside. She remains hopeful that 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. 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?

To begin with, if you’re on bookstagram, then you know there’s been hype surrounding this book. It’s the main reason why I bought it last year. I heard/read such good reviews and comments on it, that my expectations were a bit high. Not that I disliked it, but it wasn’t what I had been waiting for.

The story explores the meaning of humanity and its essence. It makes you wonder if there were such thing as Artificial Friends (AF), where would the boundary that differentiates our psyche from theirs be?

Klara demonstrates throughout the story to be an intelligent AF, willing to do anything as long as it makes Josie, her human teenager, happy. She learns through meticulous observation and often reaches correct conclusions about the world surrounding her. She’s also naive and lacks further information. But contrary to the other people in the story, she always remains hopeful during adverse times, which would rather seem like a human characteristic, yet she possesses it so naturally.

The story is told from Klara’s perspective in first-person as she recalls her experiences with Josie. However, maybe it’s because she’s a robot, but her narrations didn’t transmit strong emotions (at least not strong enough for me), so the story felt overall bland. The emotions that she does feel are rather superficial so I couldn’t grasp a closer connection with her. Perhaps that was part of the purpose of this book?

The ending, however, took me by surprise and not in a happy-good way. I believe Klara deserved something better. It demonstrates how the humans in the story viewed the AFs — as mere machines. It just felt so inhuman, but then again, she was never human, was she? Wouldn’t they have considered her part of the family after all those years spent together? I know I would have, but that’s just me.

Overall rating: 3.5 / 5

“Until recently, I didn’t think that humans could choose loneliness. That there were sometimes forces more powerful than the wish to avoid loneliness.”

Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara And The Sun

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