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Book vs. Film

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

The book is always better than the film. 


I have always thought that, I have always been completely sure, that this would forever be the case. However, I have found this one exception. 


I saw the film "Never Let Me Go" long before reading the novel by Kazou Ishiguro which it is based on. I have loved this film ever since I saw it the first time. It is moving, beautiful, strange. I love the actors in the film and their performances also. But maybe it is exactly my love for the film that makes the novel not as good in my eyes. Because that is the case here. 


I first read the novel this autumn for a book club at my university and honestly I was a little disappointed by it. The novel is slow and somehow it portrays the characters that I love in a different way. I find this hard to explain, but it suddenly felt like they were not the same anymore, like Kathy H was not really the Kathy played by Carey Mulligan and Ruth was no longer the beautiful, yet gruesome girl Keira Knightley portrayed. Tommy was no longer the Tommy I knew, somehow he was different. 

I know that this is usually the case, characters are altered and speed is added, because filmmakers cannot bring all the elements of a novel with them when creating a film. 


The novel is not bad, not at all. It is thought provoking, and moving, strange and beautiful as well, but I just find it very difficult to compare the two. Reading the novel definitely put the world Ishiguro has created into a new perspective and where I had not thought so much of the gruesome world before reading the novel, I had much larger insight in it afterwards, but this comes not only from reading the novel, it comes from discussing it and also a lecture on doppelgangers in literature afterwards helping see some things that I might not have noticed or thought about before. If it is critical thinking you are after, I certainly think the novel is better for that.


Despite all of this horrible background that I can now think of for the story, it is for me a story about people; real people, friendship, love, death, a story about life and one that makes you think of the meaning of life. It is a story of a life, three lives that are woven together. 


I think both film and novel to be beautiful and a must read/watch, though I will continue to favour the film, you should judge for yourself.