My thoughts on Klara and The Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro

book review, Uncategorized

The Sun always has a way to reach us.

Klara and the Sun

⭐️ 5/5

At the beginning of 2021 I read Ian McEwan’s machines like me that explored artificial intelligence and the ripple affects on humanity and ultimately questioned if AI would surpass humanity and become hostile, whereas I feel Kazuo Ishiguro focused on the positive, optimistic side of AI and their loyalty. Whether it would be possible to be living in harmony with artificial friends. I was very excited when I read the synopsis for Klara and the sun and immediately added it to my want to read list on goodreads and pre-ordered it for the release on the 2nd March. The book is beautiful inside and out and I was not disappointed.

Klara and the sun is unforgettable, such a lovely story with so much hope and optimism even at the darkest times. I loved this book and it gave me such a warm feeling. To me this is a story about trying to understand human feelings and actions, loyalty and understanding what makes us all individually special. Whether we are ultimately special or are we replaceable?

I liked that all the characters seemed to be asking the same questions and were on a learning journey together. Klara (an artificial friend) is the narrator of the book and the story is told from her perspective which means we would only know and be able to understand as much as we are told. The AFs ( artificial friends) are powered by solar energy and therefore the sun is so important to them for nourishment and to keep them strong which is a prevailing theme throughout the book However Klara’s generation, the B2s have difficulty with solar absorption which may lead to personality defects which makes the sun even more important. The personification of the sun really gave us this omniscient, powerful character that was our only hope it seemed. Klara worships the sun and believes so strongly in the help and the love that the sun provides making everything better and there is a real belief that the sun understands human behaviours and concepts such as love and loss. Society has been divided into the ‘lifted’ and the ‘unlifted’ which is often the source of tension throughout the story. Although the idea of being lifted or unlifted is not explored in depth, we understand that there are difficulties for both Josie (lifted) and for her best friend, Rick (unlifted) and the guilt of the parents for their decisions.

The story is set in a near future dystopian America where AFs are being developed and are bought as friends for lonely children. The role of the AF is to protect the child who chooses them and be there for their needs. Klara spends some time in a shop and has a few people interested in her however she holds out for 14 year old Josie who is frail and suffers will long periods of debilitating illness, Josie pre-warns Klara that it may not always be good…that things may be ‘Strange’ but she will always be taken care of and Klara becomes Josie’s AF and spends all her time trying to help Josie feel better and not be lonely. Klara finds herself in all sorts of situations and is always trying to work out what is happening around her and how she can help Josie and what her role is in this new life. There is something dark or sinister happening in the background of this story and we spend the book wondering what it may be and how it affects our characters. the lead up and reveal of events throughout the book are written beautifully, there is unease but the writing is also subtle and draws you in without it feeling over the top. I found it such a good read and was reading through it quickly as I wanted to see what would happen, I had to slow down to really spend some more time in this story.

There seems to be lots of family secrets or things that must not be spoken about which gives the story an air of mystery. However Klara’s innocence keeps us hopeful.

I like Klara. I like her observations and how she uses them to draw conclusions, often in a very human way, as I would assess situations. however we are always being reminded that Klara is an AI and not human whereas in other AI fiction there is a focus on trying to show how human AI are. Klara’s vision is split into boxes just like a CAPTCHA, when the internet tries to identify if you are a robot. It gives the story a surreal feeling and you experience a range of different views in a small grid through Klara’s eyes. There are also times where Klara is experiencing her memories differently and can manipulate them to see them in different ways or happening in different places which also adds to the surreal element. I like that Klara has no desire to become more or feel any superiority over humans or other models of AI. Klara refers to people in third person, again reminding us that there is something not quite right and she is not human. Instead of using names for others such as Klara’s Mum or Paul, Klara’s dad, she refers to them as the mother and the father which gives her a detached feeling to relationships of people to Josie and keeps her removed from them personally.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or general fiction. A truly wonderful read 5/5.

What I thought about: Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

book review, Uncategorized

Published feb 2021

⭐️ 3/5

I had lots of conflicting thoughts while reading this book.

Where is this going?

I love it!

am I actually enjoying it?

At least it’s well written,

not…exactly what I was expecting.

But all in all it was a thought provoking book but it’s not a book that i feel I’d pick up again. Or maybe that’s why I should.

I didn’t feel the same need to read this book as I have with other books but it was one that I thought about often. It was a different genre than I think I’d normally choose. I was intrigued by how the book would move forward and how it might end but really I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ reading it very much but it definitely is appealing. I think it’s written well and an in depth look at society and how social media and the ability to easily communicate with each other and easily access information has had a negative impact on society and individual mental health and self- view. Also how social media can make relationships difficult or maybe breed deceit as everyone wants to be someone else to the outside world.

The book begins on the eve of Donald Trumps inauguration, the nameless narrator is at home with her boyfriend (Felix) but things haven’t been quite right between them and she suspects there is something causing Felix to be different. The narrator stumbles on an Instagram account and discovers her boyfriend is an anonymous online conspiracy theorist. The narrator decides to flee from New York to Berlin after having no desire to stay any longer and pursues a life there, having fond memories of her previous trip. The narrator begins her own deceptions and manipulations via a string of OKcupid dates and meet-ups with new friends/ employers.

I wouldn’t say I disliked the book but I did find myself at times struggling to get through it. The book is written like a stream of consciousness which often was difficult to keep track of. I liked the concept of the book and the commentary it was making on today’s society and the impact of social media. There was a lot of focus on dating and the deception she was creating and a more personal look at her thoughts and feelings as opposed to a wider view of how the world has changed.

The writing is dry and witty which I enjoyed but I didn’t think the narrator was very likeable, what kept me going was the few twists that were weaved in. I felt like the ending of the book was a bit disappointing which surprised me that I felt that way, as I didn’t really know what I was expecting

I’d give the book 3/5 rating. I enjoyed the concept and there were parts where I did laugh out loud but unpopular opinion: it wasn’t really the book for me.