Monday, November 1, 2010

Never Let Me Go and Sahaya the girl at the bookstore

I bought a book last Saturday from New Market and I was highly under the influence of a pretty girl at the store. Anyway, let me narrate the story for you. My housemates were going to meet up with a friend over coffee at McDonald's! (Yuck!) They wanted to talk about their plans to move to Australia. I was having none of that.

Besides I have quitted multi national brands like McDonald's and Starbucks. That is another story in itself that I will write about some other time. For now lets just say I don't like the brutality in their marketing and the image of Westernism that they portray. You have way better indie cafes to go to here anyway.

But as I said, that is another story.

I went to this bookstore, not feeling very impressed with their look but because I had a lot of time to kill while I waited for the McD crew to lavish in their talks and cholesterol. I knew I wanted Kazuo Ishiguro's book and I looked around but had no luck finding it. The bookstore wasn't well planned out as well and it was a mission to get around and know what section you stood at and where you could find what sort of books.

So in time I went to the counter where this girl was there. She must be of Indian origin and she had British accent. I asked her if they had a book by Ishiguro and I didn't expect her to know. In fact I wanted to talk to the other sales lady who was older and who looked like the more knowledgeable type. We all make judgments don't we?

So she surprised me when she nodded and took me to a section that must have been for fiction (which I earlier hadn't really figured out). She looked up and down the stacks and pointed to the shelves at the knee level. There they were: Kazuo Ishiguro.

Had she read them?

Yes. She took one of them from the shelf, "This one is very beautifully well written. It is not everyone's cup of tea. Some people love it, some don't like it.." I think I was slightly impressed by her having read it.

"Ah. I read this one the other day the library," I picked the one called A Pale View of the Hills, "but couldn't finish it.." Because I didn't have membership yet at Auckland Library and it was shutting down for the day. "How was it?"

"Let's see what it says about it." She took A Pale View.. and flipped it over and read the back. "Hm, sounds depressing!"

I took Never Let Me Go from the shelf and said: "Well this was the one I was after. So, you would recommend these?"

"Absolutely. But as I said I loved it but it is not everyone's cup of tea. The one I read was about some kids who grew up in England and about their normal lives.."

"Slow paced.. nice."

"Yeah. And it is interesting how his writing is so much like English style even though he is not.."

"Though he is Japanese." I had done my homework. I knew the story of Kazuo Ishiguro than most people who have even read his books, including Sahaya the book seller, didn't know. (I saw her name on the badge she wore on her blazer). "He was born in Japan but grew up in England. He moved there when he was young."

We went back to the counter and I paid for it.

I was impressed by and attracted to the way Sahaya knew about the book that most people had only 'heard of' and the way she talked about the book in her Brit twang so I had no regrets buying it.

Also after starting to read it, I realised I have no regrets in buying the book because it is one of the more amazing books I have read to date.
*

Never Let Me Go is so beautifully well written. The way it is written is slow paced and narrates seemingly little events in the character's day to day lives but is a real page turner.

It describes the human behaviour and emotions by the mood it creates and not necessarily by narrating them in detail. I spent hours and hours reading it yesterday and am more than halfway through it. Maybe I will have finished it in the coming few days.

It is beautiful and still disturbing, slow and yet demanding. So glad I met Sahaya without whom I would have left the hideous bookstore and have missed out on this book.

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