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Klara and the Sun
Cover of Klara and the Sun
Klara and the Sun
A novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick • ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SUMMER 2021 READING LIST • A Best Book of the Year by Harper's Bazaar, Vulture, and moreA...
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick • ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SUMMER 2021 READING LIST • A Best Book of the Year by Harper's Bazaar, Vulture, and moreA...
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Description-

  • NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SUMMER 2021 READING LIST A Best Book of the Year by Harper's Bazaar, Vulture, and more
    A magnificent new novel from the Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro—author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day"a masterpiece that will make you think about life, mortality, the saving grace of love” (NPR).

    The first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, 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.
    Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
    In its award citation in 2017, the Nobel committee described Ishiguro's books as "novels of great emotional force" and said he has "uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."

Excerpts-

  • From the book 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. 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. And if we were there at just the right time, we would see the Sun on his journey, crossing between the building tops from our side over to the RPO Building side.
     
    When I was lucky enough to see him like that, I’d lean my face forward to take in as much of his nourishment as I could, and if Rosa was with me, I’d tell her to do the same. After a minute or two, we’d have to return to our positions, and when we were new, we used to worry that because we often couldn’t see the Sun from mid-store, we’d grow weaker and weaker. Boy AF Rex, who was alongside us then, told us there was nothing to worry about, that the Sun had ways of reaching us wherever we were. He pointed to the floorboards and said, ‘That’s the Sun’s pattern right there. If you’re worried, you can just touch it and get strong again.’
     
    There were no customers when he said this, and Manager was busy arranging something up on the Red Shelves, and I didn’t want to disturb her by asking permission. So I gave Rosa a glance, and when she looked back blankly, I took two steps forward, crouched down and reached out both hands to the Sun’s pattern on the floor. But as soon as my fingers touched it, the pattern faded, and though I tried all I could – I patted the spot where it had been, and when that didn’t work, rubbed my hands over the floorboards – it wouldn’t come back. When I stood up again Boy AF Rex said:
     
    ‘Klara, that was greedy. You girl AFs are always so greedy.’
     
    Even though I was new then, it occurred to me straight away it might not have been my fault; that the Sun had withdrawn his pattern by chance just when I’d been touching it. But Boy AF Rex’s face remained serious.
     
    ‘You took all the nourishment for yourself, Klara. Look, it’s gone almost dark.’
     
    Sure enough the light inside the store had become very gloomy. Even outside on the sidewalk, the Tow-Away Zone sign on the lamp post looked gray and faint.
     
    ‘I’m sorry,’ I said to Rex, then turning to Rosa: ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take it all myself.’
     
    ‘Because of you,’ Boy AF Rex said, ‘I’m going to become weak by evening.’
     
    ‘You’re making a joke,’ I said to him. ‘I know you are.’
     
    ‘I’m not making a joke. I could get sick right now. And what about those AFs rear-store? There’s already something not right with them. They’re bound to get worse now. You were greedy, Klara.’
     
    ‘I don’t believe you,’ I said, but I was no longer so sure. I looked at Rosa, but her expression was still blank.
     
    ‘I’m feeling sick already,’ Boy AF Rex said. And he sagged forward.
     
    ‘But you just said yourself. The Sun always has ways to reach us. You’re making a joke, I know you are.’
     
    I managed in the end to convince myself Boy AF Rex was teas­ing me. But what I sensed that day was that I had, without mean­ing to, made Rex bring up...

About the Author-

  • KAZUO ISHIGURO was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 and moved to Britain at the age of five. His eight previous works of fiction have earned him many honors around the world, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Booker Prize. His work has been translated into over fifty languages, and The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both made into acclaimed films, have each sold over two million copies. He was given a knighthood in 2018 for Services to Literature. He also holds the decorations of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star from Japan.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 30, 2020
    Nobel laureate Ishiguro takes readers to a vaguely futuristic, technologically advanced setting reminiscent of his Never Let Me Go for a surprising parable about love, humanity, and science. Klara is an Artificial Friend (AF), a humanlike robot designed to be a child’s companion. She spends her days watching humans from her perch in the AF store, fascinated by their emotions and hungry to learn enough to help her future owner. Klara, who is solar-powered, reveres the sun for the “nourishment” and upholds “him” as a godlike figure. Klara is eventually bought by teenager Josie and continues to learn about humans through her interactions with Josie’s family and childhood friend. When Josie becomes seriously ill, Klara pleads with the sun to make her well again and confronts the boundary between service and sacrifice. While the climax lends a touch of fantasy, Klara’s relationship with the sun, which is hidden at times by smog, touches on the consequences of environmental destruction. As with Ishiguro’s other works, the rich inner reflections of his protagonists offer big takeaways, and Klara’s quiet but astute observations of human nature land with profound gravity (“There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her,” Klara says). This dazzling genre-bending work is a delight.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2020
    Nobelist Ishiguro returns to familiar dystopian ground with this provocative look at a disturbing near future. Klara is an AF, or "Artificial Friend," of a slightly older model than the current production run; she can't do the perfect acrobatics of the newer B3 line, and she is in constant need of recharging owing to "solar absorption problems," so much so that "after four continuous days of Pollution," she recounts, "I could feel myself weakening." She's uncommonly intelligent, and even as she goes unsold in the store where she's on display, she takes in the details of every human visitor. When a teenager named Josie picks her out, to the dismay of her mother, whose stern gaze "never softened or wavered," Klara has the opportunity to learn a new grammar of portentous meaning: Josie is gravely ill, the Mother deeply depressed by the earlier death of her other daughter. Klara has never been outside, and when the Mother takes her to see a waterfall, Josie being too ill to go along, she asks the Mother about that death, only to be told, "It's not your business to be curious." It becomes clear that Klara is not just an AF; she's being groomed to be a surrogate daughter in the event that Josie, too, dies. Much of Ishiguro's tale is veiled: We're never quite sure why Josie is so ill, the consequence, it seems, of genetic editing, or why the world has become such a grim place. It's clear, though, that it's a future where the rich, as ever, enjoy every privilege and where children are marshaled into forced social interactions where the entertainment is to abuse androids. Working territory familiar to readers of Brian Aldiss--and Carlo Collodi, for that matter--Ishiguro delivers a story, very much of a piece with his Never Let Me Go, that is told in hushed tones, one in which Klara's heart, if she had one, is destined to be broken and artificial humans are revealed to be far better than the real thing. A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2021
    With echoes of themes in his internationally lauded Never Let Me Go (2005)--that life can be manufactured, bartered, bought--Booker-ed, Nobel-ed, and knighted Ishiguro presents a bittersweet fable about the human heart as "[s]omething that makes each of us special and individual." Or not. Klara is an AF, as in Artificial Friend. She is also "quite remarkable," "has extraordinary observational ability," and while she might not be the latest B3 model, her empathic skills are unparalleled. She's delightedly chosen by 14-year-old Josie, who takes her home to live with Mother and Melania Housekeeper. Next door is Josie's best friend, Rick, and his single mother. Klara integrates, routines settle. But Josie is ill, with an older sister who died too young. Desperate to save Josie, Mother covertly pushes science, Melania attempts bullish protection, and Rick promises true love. Klara, meanwhile, devises her own plan: a deal with the Sun, who's already, miraculously, rescued Beggar Man and his dog. Sacrifices will be necessary. In Ishiguro's near-future dystopia, Klara--appropriately monikered to suggest both clear and obvious--could prove to be the most human of all.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ishiguro is a big draw and his return to the mode of the mega-popular Never Let Me Go will generate particularly fervent requests.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2021

    When Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day; Never Let Me Go) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017, a member of the Academy noted, "He is not out to redeem the past, he is exploring what you have to forget in order to survive in the first place as an individual or as a society." Here, in his first novel since winning that esteemed award, Ishiguro imagines a world in which artificial intelligence has advanced into a form of companionship and a potential mode of immortality. The book's protagonist is Klara, an Artificial Friend with advanced observational capabilities. On sale in a shop, she is ultimately chosen by a family with a sick child, Josie. As Klara spends more time with the family, she comes to understand their collective hopes, dreams, and fears. Her objective processing of emotion slowly evolves into an understanding of the human condition. With restrained prose and vivid language, Ishiguro replaces the tired trope of whether computers can think with a complex meditation on whether computational processing can approximate emotion. VERDICT Ishiguro's latest novel is without resolution but will leave the reader with wonder.--Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., Hamilton, NY

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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