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Return of the social novel

Kazuo Ishiguro's story about clones is more Henry James than Aldous Huxley. The unspoken dilemmas of our technological age have Victorian echoes

By Jonathon Keats   April 2005

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Oxford University Press, £25)

Public debate about genetic engineering is as subtle as a cat fight. For intelligent discussion, newspapers and television might altogether be skipped. The most astute consideration of cloning to date is to be found in a new novel.

The author is Kazuo Ishiguro, famous for capturing the end of England’s old social order in The Remains of the Day. Given his appreciation for dying traditions, Ishiguro might not seem a likely candidate to write about speculative genetics. He has said that he scarcely ever reads science fiction, and has…

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