I struggle to find decent time slots to read books, and usually when I’m into a good book it’s hard to put it down – meaning other things you need to do, don’t get done. However I’m currently starting my English Literature A2 course and reading is a necessity. I do love reading, so it isn’t a problem but often I find with stuffy reading lists (books on it are hard to get your teeth into) however I’m pleasantly surprised by my reading essentials this term – which include ‘Never Let me Go’ which I’ve previously read and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ which I have heard great things about. Both play on a fictional type of lifestyle whereby the reader isn’t told a vast amount of information concerning their situation.
Never let me go – which is now out as a movie, tells the story of young Kathy who is discovering her inevitable fate for herself although she cannot distinguish whether it is morally right or not, as she has been brought up in a specialised school all her life. I won’t spoil the plot for you, but the narrative is great as Kathy has a certain naivety about her that makes you empathise with the fictional children but envision the world through her eyes – in such a way that you just cannot put the book down! It has of course, now been made into a film starring Keira Knightly however I don’t think it was shown internationally and cinemas which show the film are hard to come by, however I think it may already be on DVD (if not – it will be soon!). I would recommend reading the book first though, as you are then more likely to appreciate the film in its full glory and smugly understand the narrative perspective and plot before you get too wound up in the relationships of the characters. I always find that reading the written version first, allows you to make expectations of the film for yourself, and it’s always nicer to imagine the narrative in your head rather than referring to the typecast actors that are used.
I have just started the Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Attwood) and I have to say, it’s one of the most uniquely written I’ve ever read. The short sentences and uncertainty of the tense allow you to get lost in the novel, as well as uncovering the narrator’s strange situation. The identity of the narrator is left anonymous for most of the novel, I believe – which I found hard at first as I enjoy having a description of the person we are seeing the story through – however it adds to the strange fictional world she lives in and the resentment she feels towards it. When you get used to the odd writing style, you discover that it adds to the character of the narrator and her bitterness regarding her situation (although she does not explicitly tell the readers this) and we uncover certain paranoia of being caught in her character.
It’s a very interesting, gripping read and I would recommend both of them to anyone who enjoys getting lost in books and generally escaping into a fictional world where customs are very different to the ones we are used to! You can buy both books from Amazon for very little – so if you’ve read them or are planning on doing so leave a comment with your opinion below! xx