OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.
Like so many other Kazuo Ishiguro fans around the world, I was eager to read his latest novel, Klara and the Sun. After a few pages, I anticipated that it would break my heart. And it did, but not in the way I expected. Roughly halfway through, I was beginning to get quite irritated with the tediousness of the narrative voice. But then about two-thirds into it, there was a revelation which, although predictable, opened up the possibility of a spectacular ending. That ending never comes. Instead, the novel insists on continuing with its explorations of theological concepts (not exactly in a positive light) and human fallibility, leaving us at the mercy of an artificial intelligence narrating the actions and emotions of characters who all seem to be devoid of any signs of emotional intelligence and nearly completely lacking in creative impulses or meaningful curiosity. In all its speculativeness, it is a damning critique of society, and perhaps we deserve no better. But I refuse to accept that this is all there is to it. No hope. No love. No possibility of redemption. Just cowardice, selfishness and exploitation. The bleakness of it is not how I want to imagine the world or engage with it. I believe in more. I imagine more. But reading Klara and the Sun you would never think it existed. I couldn’t help feeling disappointed, and angry. Highly conflicted. And yes, my heart is broken.
Thank goodness my love cooked a delicious dinner for me and we made a plan to rearrange some of the stunning artwork gracing his walls and watched a tense game of rugby together (this time I bet on the losing team, but hey, they were French), and ended the day on a high. Although, now that I am back home, I am about to face Eskom darkness at the worst possible time – I really hate loadshedding around the time I am about to go to sleep, even though my alarm has a new battery and I love candlelight. Luckily, I am about to finish another book – non-fiction – that has been simply amazing and cannot possibly disappoint.
Good night (I hope).
Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.
“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”