The way “happenings” are presented in the writing is very unique — in fact, I haven’t read another book like it at all. Here’s an example: the narrator starts to describe an incident (say, N1) somewhere in the book. While describing N1 (which may go on for many pages), the narrator branches to another incident (say N2) related to N1… and sometimes talking about another (N3!) while talking about N2. As a reader, you’re now 3 levels deep within this “thought construct” of the narrator. I’m not sure if we ever go 4 levels deep in the book, but 3 levels is quite common. Eventually, you do “bubble back” to N2 and then N1, and it all makes sense — you’re not left hanging, but it is odd.
It reminded me of Inception, but more than that it reminded me of how I express myself when I’m talking about something, especially when I am excited. I’ve been told it can get quite annoying to the listener (Dhruv was the first one to point this out to me in 2019) and I couldn’t help feeling that very way while reading the book. However, I’m not sure if this “technique” employed by the narrator has a deeper meaning or not.
There is an innocence in the words employed by the narrator, the way she expresses her thoughts. It’s almost childlike, as if she never “properly” grows up although physically she does. Hailsham and the clone program are an important part of the book, but I felt that the relationship between the Hailsham children through their life is what the book is truly about. It’s funny because although the book is categorised as science fiction, it is nothing like most books of the genre — the science parts are almost non-existent, or simply background elements.
This is a book I would recommend to someone who hasn’t read much/any science fiction and wants to start somewhere comfortable — much like The Giver.