This novel is quite unlike anything I've read. At first it seems to be the simple story of an English boarding school, and students growing up. The characters are full of promise and blossoming with life, which is ironic as their true identities are slowly revealed.
This book is darker than it first seems, like the tendrils of shadows that appear when you're reading by lamplight. And yet there is so much humanness about it that we question our own reality and what it is to be completely alive.
Set in a fictional England, Ishiguro's observations of our own world, through his narrator Kathy, are pithy and hauntingly accurate. Yet there is a disjointedness that is apparent from the very start, something that is distinctly but clandestinely wrong about this world.
The exchanges between characters are exactly right and sometimes startlingly funny, but always incredibly moving, especially as the novel progresses. This book blurs the lines of genre, stepping on the toes of science fiction, horror and the Gothic novel, whilst simultaneously being entirely contemporary.