“There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her.”
The brilliant Kazuo Ishiguro’s KLARA AND THE SUN is a slow-burn, page-turner that explores humanity, mortality, and love through the perspective of a sentient AI. In this genre defying dystopian sci-fi story Ishiguro questions whether or not there is something unique within each person and if life is truly irreplaceable.
Klara is an Artificial Friend, a humanoid robot companion, with impeccable observation skills who learns about humanity by watching the world through the storefront window she is displayed in. Klara’s life changes when she is purchased for Josie, a teenage girl with an unknown illness. The conflict of the story centers on whether Klara can help Josie overcome her sickness and if not, if she can help Josie’s mom survive her daughter’s death.
I absolutely loved Klara and found her to be a very unique and interesting narrator. She is pure, a blank slate whose understanding is restricted by her narrow vision: Klara sees a lot but understands little. For example, Klara is solar-powered so she reveres the Sun and imbues it with mystical powers. Since Klara is our narrator the reader experiences the world through her innocence and naiveté, which adds an unclear vagueness to the story. Important details like the cause of Josie’s illness and the society’s cast system of “lifted” and “non-lifted” people are often only indirectly discussed. I really enjoyed experiencing everything through Klara’s distinct perspective; the cloudy ambiguity of the story increased the mysteriousness and kept me on the edge of my seat!
KLARA AND THE SUN is a robot dystopian story that only Ishiguro could create! It’s beautiful, meditative, emotional, and haunting. I still find myself ruminating about many of the book’s ideas and events. I definitely recommend getting your hands on a copy!
** Knopf provided the book for honest review
- Title: Klara and the Sun
- Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
- Published: March 2, 2021 (Knopf)
- Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian
- Booky Nooky Rating: * * * *