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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 cover 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 more than 2 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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Sura Siu will be a fresh voice for many listeners, and her wonderfully subdued narration proves perfect for portraying Klara, the all-too-observant "AF" (artificial friend) purchased by a mother for her ailing child. Assigned to look after Josie, Klara slowly discovers she is being groomed to be the failing child's replacement. On this charged premise novelist Kazuo Ishiguro builds a complex story of the bond between master and servant, the relationship between dominance and dependence, both of which are reminiscent of his bestselling REMAINS OF THE DAY. Siu conveys a range of contrasting voices--male and female, adult and adolescent, American and British. In this challenging assignment, she proves herself a performer of rare grace, subtlety, and virtuosity whose haunting portrayal of Ishiguro's more than human main character will linger in listeners' minds for days. D.A.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2021

    Nobel Prize winner Ishiguro's eighth novel (after The Buried Giant)--a poignant, ultimately celebratory exploration of what it means to be human--is beautifully realized in narrator Sura Siu's virtuosic performance of Klara, a solar-powered AF (artificial friend) who has been purchased for Josie, a critically ill teenager. Through the narrow frame of Klara's earnest and childlike first-person point of view, a disturbing near-future dystopia is gradually revealed; technology has "lifted" children to exceptional intelligence, but has also "substituted" many adults out of jobs, resulting in a starkly divided society that seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse. With hopes of finding a cure for Josie's mysterious illness, Klara tries to learn all she can from her experiences; in the process, she acquires not just knowledge but also humanity. Ishiguro's precise, deceptively simple prose, coupled with Klara's limited viewpoint, creates a stifling sense of foreboding that Siu wonderfully contrasts with her spirited voices for the novel's often-exasperating human characters. Siu's depictions of Klara, Josie, and Josie's teenage friends will likely resonate with many YA listeners (and their parents). VERDICT This powerful look at the varied and often negative consequences of modern technology underscores the fragility and preciousness of human beings--an all-too-acute awareness in a world coping with a global pandemic and widespread social upheaval.--Beth Farrell, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib.

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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