18 May 2009

Dyslit: Never Let Me Go

I made a new friend the other night in Soho. We were having a chat about this and that and then she suggested (with a slightly manic glint in her eyes) that she grab us a 'bottle' to share.

"Of course." I said eagerly, because I'm that kind of girl.

My new best friend does not, as I expect, bring a bottle of wine back to the table. No no. It was a bottle of rum.
Not even good rum.

"Ummm, I'm not sure I can drink half of that..." I hedged, but she waved off my protestations and began pouring.
A quarter of the way down the bottle she announced "I've only ever been in love once."
Half-way down the bottle she decided the table was wobbling, took her chicken fillet out of her bra and shoved it under one of the legs.
Three quarters of the way down the bottle I was having trouble concentrating when she said seriously, leaning in close like it was a state secret.
"I'm not at all sure Keira Knightley will be good in Never Let Me Go."

I don't remember much else from the night. My new friend quite happily continued on clubbing whilst I stumbled to my accomodation for the evening, forgetting for a moment I lived in London and giving the cab driver my address in Sydney.

As you can see... rough night. HOWEVER (and this post IS about books, I just needed a lead-up!) I am completely on board the concerned boat when it comes to the casting of Keira Knightley in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I can't remember the ensuing conversation we had about this but I am certain I agreed with her and empathised with her concerns.

For those of you who have not read Ishiguro's re-imagining of Britain in a time when human clones are created to act as organ donors for the rest of the population I seriously recommend it. This isn't "slap you in the face" dyslit of the kind Margaret Atwood normally produces. For the first part of the book the reader has no idea that the children's boarding school we are reading about is actually priming them for their lives as donors. Ishiguro has a masterful yet subtle touch to his writing that creates stories so imbued with emotional wallops I have to take breaks whilst reading them. Either that or I allow myself to get completely lost in the story and for days afterwards will feel shaky, disturbed and wary of people who smile too much in the street.

Never Let Me Go is narrated by Kathy, which is the part I thought would go to Knightley. However, my great friend IMDB actually informs me Knightley is playing Ruth, who is the annoying, controlling girl in the small group of friends. This makes more sense, as she has more personality than Kathy, who always seemed a bit distant even though it was she who was telling the story.

I just hope Knightley uglies up for the part a bit. Even when she's trudging around with Sienna Miller in wellies she always looks quite poised and elegant (ridiculously pursed lips aside) and all the girls in this story are just meant to be normal, plain, slightly eccentric schoolgirls. However, lately she's been putting in some solid acting efforts so you never know. I guess the best I can do is say this to Keira: "No pressure, but DON'T STUFF IT UP. This is a very, very important book. DO NOT LET THE READERS DOWN."

IMDB has also told me Knightley is set to play Zelda in a film adaptation of The Beautiful and the Damned. Ye gods, I don't know if I can stomach the stress of what butchery might occur.

Rating: 9/10.
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