Gentle Readers will remember that I was knocked out loaded by Never Let Me Go. Seriously. Very Good Book.
Second time through a Very Good Book is a delicate thing. I am inclined to be a bit tentative. Foreshadowing, although a legitimate literary technique, can be a poke in the eye with a sharp stick on the second time around. Ideas or views that seemed profound can seem sophomoric once you’ve lived with them for a year or two. On the first time through, I might have been swept off my feet; on an earthbound second reading, I might find my attention focusing on shabby, sloppy or shoddy details, no longer a blur but a blemish. A Good Book, I look forward to rereading, because I’ll view the flaws with affection. But a Very Good Book—well, what if I was wrong about it? What if it betrays me?
On the other hand, a Very Good Book can open further on a second reading. Sometimes reading without the blur reveals not blemishes but further, deeper beauties. Or—and this is what Kazuo Ishiguro is all about, right?—a different focus reveals a different book altogether, another curtain behind the curtain, another façade in front of the façade.
This time through, my experience of the book was about school, the crazy and almost accidental intimacies of the Formative Years. The way that we invent for ourselves fears and delights that don’t make sense to our adult selves, but which we never, quite, let go.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,