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Klara and the Sun: A novel av Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun: A novel (utgåvan 2021)

av Kazuo Ishiguro (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
1,3728210,351 (3.91)1 / 113
Titel:Klara and the Sun: A novel
Författare:Kazuo Ishiguro (Författare)
Info:Knopf (2021), Edition: 1st Edition, 320 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Klara and the Sun av Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. 11
    Blommor till Algy av Daniel Keyes (Othemts)
  2. 11
    Never let me go av Kazuo Ishiguro (JGoto)
    JGoto: Style and themes are similar in both of these novels by Ishigura.

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Visa 1-5 av 81 (nästa | visa alla)
Despite all the international acclaim garnered by Kazuo Ishiguro in recent years, Klara and the Sun is my first experience with one of his novels. The immediate buzz about this one was so great that I knew I had to read it, but ended up waiting for five months for my name finally to reach the top of my library’s “hold list.” Thankfully, Klara and the Sun was worth the wait, and now I can look forward to reading more from Ishiguro, including his backlist.

Klara and the Sun takes place at some time in the relatively near future in an unnamed country in which people seem to have splintered into communities that share certain characteristics and status levels. Those wanting to move to a new city or state first have to find a community willing to invite them there. This is definitely a country of haves and have-nots, and the impression is that rapidly advancing technology, especially the use of artificial intelligence, has a lot to do with the economic split.

The novel’s narrator, in fact, is a lifelike robot called Klara, who introduces herself this way to the reader in the novel’s first few sentences:

When we were new, Rosa and I were mid-store, on the magazine table side, and could see through more than half of the window. So we were able to watch the outside — the office workers hurrying by, the taxis, the runners, the tourists, Beggar Man and his dog, the lower part of the RPO Building. Once we were more settled, Manager allowed us to walk up to the front until we were right behind the window display, and then we could see how tall the RPO Building was.

Klara and Rosa, two robotic Artificial Friends (known to the world as AFs) themselves become friends while they spend all those hours waiting to be taken home by the one teenager who will choose them off the showroom floor. They are friends, but they are not really much alike. Klara, in fact, is everything that Rosa is not: curious, thoughtful, empathetic, and observant. And she will turn out to be the perfect match for the teen girl who finally returns to purchase Klara just when the AF is beginning to think it will never happen for her.

Klara’s new human friend, Josie, is not having an easy time of it at home, but she could not have made a better choice for an AF than Klara because Klara is completely dedicated to her new role as Josie’s protector and advocate. Klara, though, must work within the limitations of her role and she sometimes, especially in the early days, allows herself to be manipulated by others who may not have Josie’s best interests in mind. Klara, though, never stops believing that better days are ahead for Josie and her family — and she never stops working to make that happen.

Bottom Line: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara is one of the most unforgettable characters I’ve encountered in a while. Some may argue that Klara’s selflessness and dedication to her friend Josie is only to be expected; Klara is, after all, only a well designed machine; that she had no choice but to do the things for Josie and her parents that she does. But even Manager, the woman Klara refers to in the novel’s opening paragraph, believes that Klara is special, that she is, in effect, almost human. One of the more intriguing aspects of Klara and the Sun is watching Klara figure out things for herself as she experiences more and more of the world. This is one novel I will not be forgetting…especially that ending. ( )
  SamSattler | Sep 16, 2021 |
This is a page turner of a literary sci-fi novel that never quite reaches the depths of Ishiguro's earlier work. In a near future of a U.S. where parents can decide to genetically enhance their children, professional workers are outsourced by robots, and Artificial Friends can be purchased to make things a little less lonely, Klara (our narrator) is an exceptionally observant AF who immediately forms a bond with a junior high aged girl, Josie, as she stands on display in the window of her store. After a few false starts, Klara goes home with Josie and her mother to start her life of companionship and protection of her child. The problem is, however, that Josie is sick and getting sicker, and only Klara's hope and faith (maybe!) can save her.

Both the charm and the weakness of the book come from us being tied to Klara as our window into the story. Klara is hyper intelligent and extremely observant, but also a machine that approaches every new situation with an unusual naïve wisdom. Her way of categorizing people and places and the glitches in her perception as the novel moves forward are entertaining and evocative. However, being stuck in a robot and not getting to enter the minds of the complicated and flawed humans in Klara's world keeps us stuck behind a melancholy wall of programming. The glimpses we do get into family relationships and futuristic world building are tantalizing but ultimately unfulfilling. And because our view comes through Klara, the big moral questions of the novel end up being given pretty simple and cliched answers. Definitely worth reading and not bad, but a little disappointing given the high bar Ishiguro set with his earlier novels. ( )
  kristykay22 | Sep 13, 2021 |
The first 2/3s of this book were very very bad. The twist that came 2/3 of the way in was pretty unexpected, but came way too late and couldn’t redeem how boring the rest was, and the resolution was also pretty bad too. This was honestly the worst book from Kazuo I’ve read, which is a shame because I love robogirls (as evidenced by my love for Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou). I think I'm going to stop reading anything that's about whether AI or robots or cyborgs or clones have feelings because at this point I don't care!!

If you’ve read anything else by Ishiguro it’s not hard to imagine what he does with a story about servile robots. The themes here are basically the same as in Never Let Me Go, or even Remains of the Day, but a lot less bleak and maybe because of that a lot less interesting. Klara’s neuroses aren’t funny and telling like Stevens, but cloying and annoying, especially how she spends the whole book talking in third person to everyone she meets. I get that Ishiguro has a weird british fascination with propriety but a lot of those themes just seemed on the nose here and I felt like I was reading a YA book. Josie & Rick’s story was straight out of “Fault in our Stars” (and that is NOT a good thing!). The kids seemed way younger than they were meant to be and the characterization was not believable. In fact, the only character I found believable or even sympathized with at all was the mom. The concept of "lifted kids" was really interesting but predictably he does very little with it. The idea of robots having some sort of religion is cool too, but definitely not the focus of the book.

I guess if you’ve already started this book I would say keep reading, keeping in mind there’s a pretty good twist, and I will admit the way little hints were woven into the story was pretty elegant, so I give it an extra star for that. But otherwise, skip this one and read one of his older books. If you want genre fiction, Never Let Me Go and Buried Giant are both fascinating to me because he actually says something new with preexisting genre tropes; Klara and the Sun has definitely been done before, and done much better, even by worse writers than himself! ( )
  jooniper | Sep 10, 2021 |
Klara and the Sun - Ishiguro
4 stars

I put this book aside for several months after I first started it. Klara made me uncomfortable. She was too sweet, too naive, too compliant. My initial reaction to her was that she wasn’t very interesting. At the same time, I felt that there was a big, flashing warning sign that something sinister was lurking just under the superficial surface. That’s the sort of thing I’d expect from Ishiguro. I was right.

I think this book is a perfect companion piece to Never Let Me Go. On the surface nothing seems to be terribly wrong. A young orphan gets to go to a nice boarding school. A sick girl gets a friendly robot to look after her needs and keep her company. This is where Ishiguro is such a genius. It all sounds good, but something doesn’t fit. Despite Klara’s limited perspective or Kathy H.’s restricted viewpoint, all of the underlying societal corruption and exploitation is eventually revealed.

I had the obvious expectation that Josie would die. All of Klara’s acute observations point that way. However, Josie’s survival was the perfect plot twist, if not the happy ending. The ‘lifted’ child goes off to her exclusive, competitive university. She’s on track to continue her privileged life. The disadvantaged ‘normal’ boy takes his talents to the revolutionary underground. Clearly there’s something brewing in the subculture of unemployed people like Josie’s father. Klara is content with her patch of sun as she is discarded in the junkyard. She is content because she is programmed to be agreeable. She doesn’t have any choice. ( )
  msjudy | Aug 31, 2021 |
Beautifully written, slightly weird and very thought provoking novel about life a future with genetic editing and artificial friends that develop their own superstitions. Where the book falls short is the idea that the artificial friend takes in rational human beings with its own supersition. Otherwise a very good read. ( )
1 rösta jvgravy | Aug 27, 2021 |
Visa 1-5 av 81 (nästa | visa alla)
In de licht dystopische roman voert Ishiguro een balanseer act uit op de rand van kitch. Hij slaagt er echter op een uitzonderlijke wijze in om in evenwicht te blijven. Klara en de zon is een zeer geslaagde, enigszins verontrustende en gelaagde nieuwe roman van de meesterverteller en Nobelprijswinnaar…lees verder>
Most of Ishiguro’s novels are slender books that are more complicated than they at first seem; Klara and the Sun is by contrast more simple than it seems, less novel than parable. Though much is familiar here—the restrained language, the under-stated first-person narration—the new book is much more overt than its predecessors about its concerns.... Ishiguro is unsentimental—indeed, one of the prevailing criticisms of him is that he’s too cold, his novels overly designed, his language detached. (Some of the worst writing on Ishiguro ascribes this to his being Japanese, overlooking that he’s lived in England since he was a small child.) In most hands, this business of the mother-figure who sacrifices all for a child would be mawkish. Here it barely seems like metaphor. Every parent has at times felt like an automaton. Every parent has pleaded with some deity for the safety of their child. Every parent is aware of their own, inevitable obsolescence. And no child can offer more than Josie’s glib goodbye, though perhaps Ishiguro wants to; the book is dedicated to his mother.
It explores many of the subjects that fill our news feeds, from artificial intelligence to meritocracy. Yet its real political power lies not in these topical references but in its quietly eviscerating treatment of love. Through Klara, Josie, and Chrissie, Ishiguro shows how care is often intertwined with exploitation, how love is often grounded in selfishness ... this book focuses on those we exploit primarily for emotional labor and care work—a timely commentary during a pandemic in which the essential workers who care for us are too often treated as disposable ... If Never Let Me Go demonstrates how easily we can exploit those we never have to see, Klara and the Sun shows how easily we can exploit even those we claim to love ... a story as much about our own world as about any imagined future, and it reminds us that violence and dehumanization can also come wrapped in the guise of love.
... the real power of this novel: Ishiguro’s ability to embrace a whole web of moral concerns about how we navigate technological advancements, environmental degradation and economic challenges even while dealing with the unalterable fact that we still die.... tales of sensitive robots determined to help us survive our self-destructive impulses are not unknown in the canon of science fiction. But Ishiguro brings to this poignant subgenre a uniquely elegant style and flawless control of dramatic pacing. In his telling, Klara’s self-abnegation feels both ennobling and tragic.
Critics often note Ishiguro’s use of dramatic irony, which allows readers to know more than his characters do. And it can seem as if his narrators fail to grasp the enormity of the injustices whose details they so meticulously describe. But I don’t believe that his characters suffer from limited consciousness. I think they have dignity. Confronted by a complete indifference to their humanity, they choose stoicism over complaint. We think we grieve for them more than they grieve for themselves, but more heartbreaking is the possibility that they’re not sure we differ enough from their overlords to understand their true sorrow. And maybe we don’t, and maybe we can’t. Maybe that’s the real irony, the way Ishiguro sticks in the shiv.... In Klara and the Sun, Ishiguro leaves us suspended over a rift in the presumptive order of things. Whose consciousness is limited, ours or a machine’s? Whose love is more true? If we ever do give robots the power to feel the beauty and anguish of the world we bring them into, will they murder us for it or lead us toward the light?

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In memory of my mother
Shizuko Ishiguro
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When we were new, Rosa and I were mid-store, on the magazines table side, and could see through more than half of the window.
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Mr Capaldi believed there was nothing special inside Josie that couldn’t be continued. He told the Mother he’d searched and searched and found nothing like that. But I believe now he was searching in the wrong place. There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her.
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