07 December 2008

Not Letting the Book Go Just Yet

Never Let Me Go is Les Jeux Sont Faits meets The Handmaid's Tale meets Dawson's Creek Season 3 (I am sure there is a better example than the latter of a love triangle between two female friends and the guy who comes between them but nothing seems to spring to mind).

Parts of Never Let Me Go really reminded me of various quotations from the last scene of Les Jeux Sont Faits. The books are, superficially, very different and yet share a number of underlying themes, as well as elements of "science fiction" (the inverted commas because the dystopian vision of 1990s England presented in Never Let Me Go is horrific but the focus is really on the fiction and not on coming up with any plausible scientific explanations for anything). The idea that on ne reprend pas son coup is present in both, as is the initial excitement that there might be some way around it (true love, in both cases, as a loophole--article 140 in LJSF).

- Tout n'est pas perdu, Pierre. Il en viendra d'autres qui reprendront votre oeuvre...
(- All is not lost, Pierre. There will be others who will take on your mission...)

Cependant, pour la première fois, il semble que la jeune femme soit gagnée par l'indifférence de la mort.
(However, for the first time, it seems that the young woman has been defeated by the indifference of death.)

- Et vous deux... Vous n'avez pas...? fait le vieillard.
- Non, réplique Eve, non, nous n'avons pas... Les jeux sont faits, voyez-vous. On ne reprend pas son coup.
(- And you two... You didn't...
- No, replies Eve, no, we didn't... The die is cast, you see. You can't change your bet.)

- Allez danser ensemble. Et si vous ne vous  êtes pas trompés, tout d'un coup, elle sera là...
On peut essayer de recommencer sa vie? insiste le jeune homme.
Pierre et Eve se regardent, hésitants.
- Essayez, conseille Pierre.
- Essayez tout de même, murmure Eve.
(- Go and dance together. And if you aren't mistaken, all of a sudden, it will be there.
- Can we really try to start life afresh? insists the young man.
- Try, advises Pierre.
- Try anyway, murmurs Eve.)

My favourite part of Never Let Me Go, though, was the way that the three main characters in the book came to see of Norfolk as a sort of magical lost property office--a place where all lost objects turn up sooner or later (including the protagonist's missing tape (bearing the song Never Let Me Go), which turns up in a second-hand music store in Cromer, of all places). Of course, the sad implications of this, as with many other elements of the exquisitely structured plot only become truly clear towards the end. 

I think I need to read something a little less existential and a little more frivolous next.

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