Never Let Me Go
Kathy and Tommy: The Connection That Validates Two Entire Lives—and Brings Up Questions If Clones Really Lived
Kathy, the stoic narrator in Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Never Let Me Go,
has always felt a connection with her boarding school classmate Tommy.
(Warning: spoilers ahead.) While the two have some extraordinary
circumstances with which to contend—they happen to be clones, created so
that their organs may be harvested—their romance operates under the
usual rules. So when Kathy's best friend stakes her claim on Tommy,
Kathy walks away. By the time Kathy and Tommy find one each other again,
he's on his deathbed. In their world, rumor has it that clones may
receive a deferral that will spare their life, if they can prove they
are really in love...and thus human. Sure, love saves us all, but in
this instance, love would really, really save Tommy, who is about to
have all of his organs removed. As Kathy puts it, "There was something
in Tommy's manner that was tinged with sadness, that seemed to say:
'Yes, we're doing this now and I'm glad we're doing it now. But what a
pity we left it so late.''' He may be correct, but what we love about
Kathy is that even in an existence defined by disappointment, when she
should know better, she allows herself to love generously, as if that
deferral were still possible, long after she finds out that it is not.
We should all love like it will save us from being sliced open. You
know, so to speak.
— Amy Shearn