I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but I personally found it a bit disappointing. One of those books that’s impossible to discuss without spoilers, so beware!
I didn’t buy the chemistry between the three main characters, which is a major focal point of the novel. I’m pretty anti-love triangle in general, but I didn’t understand what Ruth and Tommy, or Tommy and Kathy, really saw in each other. I did think the character of Ruth was really well-developed, and she felt and acted like a real person. Kathy was too much of an every-girl narrator, and I never really felt like I understood Tommy or his motivations. It felt like he was just being bossed around by other characters the whole time.
The cloning concept was interesting, but I didn’t think it was as handled as well as it could have been. Why is everyone scared of the clones? Why are the clones so accepting of their fate, especially the Hailsham kids, who seem to be encouraged to be independent thinkers? Wouldn’t it have been relatively easy to end the cloning system in the clones revolted? There seems to be a lot of them.
The story is told mostly in anecdotes and flashbacks that follow a certain formula. Kathy will tell a story and then say, “but you can’t really understand that unless I tell you about what happened at the bus stop/cottage/barn”, line break, “one day at the bus stop/cottage/barn…”. This works a few times, but Ishiguro relied so heavily on this that all the anecdotes became so tiresome and repetitive, one right after the other.