A fable/cautionary tale for the future of our life with technology, Ishiguro’s thought-provoking novel is narrated by Klara, a robot—whose name signals both lucid rationality and, in its spelling, Kafkaesque unreason. An Artificial Friend (AF), Klara and her ilk are designed to save young people from a loneliness that’s become so endemic even the AFs feel it. To fulfill her duties, Klara strives to understand as much as possible about human behavior. But for all her acute observations of her human family and its circle, the “rules” she seeks to learn are elusive—and shifting. Love, hope, commitment, faith—the timeless mysteries that have defined humans—are under increasing pressure from a world where success demands “genetic editing,” regardless of the risks, and, in Ishiguro’s most chilling vision, where robots can “continue” the lives of the deceased. If there’s really no “human heart”—nothing “that makes each of us special and individual”—what does it mean to be human? Ishiguro leaves it for readers to ponder.
Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro