35 thoughts on “KLARA and THE SUN – Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. PART ONE

    Seriously, this is too good to describe, having read the first part, in one happy and sad sitting, so smooth, so entrancing, so moving from place to place in the emotions, adolescents with artificial consciousnesses powered by the indeterminate sun, such embodied consciousnesses on sale as friends for adolescents with real consciousnesses, I infer, one of the former being Klara as narrator in the AF store, in sight of the RPO Building if you as an AF are displayed in the store’s front window and rubbing shoulders with the other different brands of AF and often seeing the passers-by (some of them would-be customers), passers-by outside with human quirks, a scenario so teeming with so much life out and in — with your accretive observational skills being learnt… but the book itself so far is somehow Resisting Proper Observation or Objectivity. It seems at first likely to become one’s book of a lifetime. And perhaps I shall know this for certain sooner or later. Or it’s a tantalisingly ungraspable gestalt, forever.
    So I will try to remain abstemious with the content of this real-time review. Knowing it will come together whatever I otherwise think. You will buy it, I am sure, whatever I say.
    Quoting directly from this first part…

    “Because you know how lousy it feels, people telling you how perfect things will be and they’re not being straight.”

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  3. At the beginning of ‘Part Two’ –
    “ The kitchen was especially difficult to navigate because so many of its elements would change their relationships to one another moment by moment.”

    Cf my, remarkably by chance, simultaneous review of HOUSE OF LEAVES here: https://elizabethbowensite.wordpress.com/612-2/ and the recent ‘Mutabilities’ in my real-time review of THE EVIDENCE by Christopher Priest here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/01/19/the-evidence-christopher-priest/

    Evidence versus resisting proper observation…

      • I think I must now be about half way through PART TWO, but I have not looked ahead on my own ‘oblong’ to gauge this. I am at the point where Morgan’s Fall is mentioned for the first time in the text and I say this so as to give you some current fixed point of triangulation of where I am. I was right to vow to be abstemious with my comments in this real-time review, as you must read this book and encounter its events as they happen with the minimum of forewarning from me. Suffice to say that it is, so far, utterly as captivating as I expected it to be, as we gather gradually the nature of Klara’s new home, the Josie for whom she is the chosen AF, and the need for ‘interactions’ with other adolescents so as to learn … to learn what? For all of us to learn not only to think out of the box but also to READ fiction out of the box?

      • Just realised this real-time review is also in a series of boxes. Each one working toward a gestalt viewing?
        The favourite game that Josie plays on her oblong makes Kara’s first outing, her first car journey, to see the waterfall, suspenseful. That’s all I can say about the rest of PART TWO, avoiding spoilers or other ‘danger topics’. There will not be even ‘tiny signals’ from me to act out what I saw, however obliquely. Though I do believe in empathy toward becoming as if you are someone else to imagine what they feel. Giving them, as it were a ‘rocking hug’ that lasts longer and burying anything untoward beneath the undergrowth of denial?

  4. PART THREE

    … read up to the point just before the bubble game ceases to be one of laughter.
    Bubbles of speech or thought, bubbles instead of boxes?
    Yet Josie’s portraitist seems to use close photos of bits of Josie, instead of sketches, as a build up toward a possibly untoward gestalt of her? Cf Murakami’s Killing Commendatore, I suggest.
    Klara sees herself as chaperone in this interaction between Josie and Rick around Josie’s sick bed, although Klara does not use the word ‘chaperone’ herself.
    Human “maneuvers” compared to the sun’s ‘patterns’? Humans keen on such manoeuvres combatting loneliness. The kind busy sun to keep everyone happy, I infer from Klara, although everything has to be inferred from or implied by Klara as she is the perceived (unreliable?) narrator. I infer she thinks herself to be as unreliable as her ‘disorientation’ outside when on her own there for the first time.
    A lot else happens that I keep to myself, as an abstemious reporter on what I have just read. In case I am disorientated myself by codes or implications here, ones that I cannot resist because of a disarming osmosis?
    Klara, as AF, building her own gestalt at a different pace? A perceived lower-grade AF, if a choice one.

    • ‘The smart kids think I have no shape. But I do. I’m just keeping it hidden. Because who wants them to see?’
      Trouble with the Bubble Games is seemingly immense innuendos accreting between Rick and Josie, till they appear as if they will never play them again…?
      A game a slightly bit like the Consequences game I played as a child in the 1950s…
      So far, I have read up to “…and whenever his pattern in the bedroom altered suddenly, or when he burst out in the sky following an overcast spell,…” in PART THREE.
      I was wondering — separate from this book — whether blue-sky thinking, aka thinking outside of the box, is where the sky is perfectly blue all over without cloud, but the Sun is nowhere to be seen?

    • “‘I’m sorry. It’s my error.”
      PART THREE continues tantalisingly to roll out with more gradual learning of things by me, but I expect each reader will learn at a different pace, even from different angles of evidential mutability…
      Unreliable narrator like Klara filtered by unreliable readers, thus, as one of the possible consequences, it is here being reviewed by an unreliable reviewer!
      I hear that the brand of AF that Klara is has no smell. What about taste? Perhaps those sharp objects in Josie’s sketch around two people lockdowned in a corner is a symbol of our times today. Cf the ability for humans to ‘choose loneliness’? What is this about children ‘lifted’ or ‘unlifted’, and that chosen ones have ‘home tutoring’?
      “‘Just now, Klara, when I appeared to be in a dream. It wasn’t any dream, you know. I was looking out there’ –“
      The tall grass we need to cross through when attempting the description, interpretation and evaluation of literature. “Hedges, hedges everywhere”,…
      My experience in the distant past of the acronym AF is ‘Adaptable Funding’ during my day job career. This needs to be factored into my bespoke reading of this book, I guess.
      I have now read up to “Despite the altered angles, Mr McBain’s barn was where I expected it to be, though now a slightly changed shape to the one from Josie’s rear window.”

      ===================================

      Like trying to crawl through a long horizontal hedge. It’s easier than you thought. Coming out at the end of the hedge – find oneself lodged on a cliff-face. No way forward. Yet, the hedge going backwards has turned itself against you. More nettles. More spiky obtrusions pointing in the wrong direction… ”
      — Nemonymous Night (2011)

    • “My fear of not reaching Mr McBain’s barn in time caused me to give only a brief glance at Rick’s house…”

      4F2C461B-C125-4755-B9D4-E5FD1C140B4A

      Mondrian, Composition 1921

      Kind and unkind atmospheres, and Klara’s purpose is still unclear to Rick, even to us who are reading about it via Klara’s own narration! It is wonderfully captivating, though, but PART anagrammatises to ‘trap’, I guess, as we dream of the earlier AF store’s red shelves and coffee cups now hauntingly within the barn, like a co-vivid vision. The overhauling of a pandemic’s spiritual pollution by the test, track and trace firms that have not correctly built their direction-finders nor how they intend to obviate our domino-rally deaths? Unless we masquerade as our dead selves or others? The unreliability of reading this book, let alone reviewing it! Though, I do want to be as helpful as possible. “[…] so any such error was entirely my own.” But yes, I’d like to help. “This is over my head, but then I’m used to that.” Who said that, me or Rick? Or the Sun himself within his geometrical abstract colour-changing segments of a painting?
      I have now travelled through each ‘part’ of this book with irregular images conjured by their words, still within PART (or ‘picture frame gate’) THREE, up to “…surprised to find that everything had instead become partitioned – and not just into the usual boxes, but into segments of irregular shape.”

    • “…the grass fell away and I found myself in a clearing. It was as though a vacuum cleaner had created it – “

      Klara had been compared earlier by someone to a vacuum cleaner, I recall. Now she seems to have become her own cleansing force after her epiphany in the barn, an epiphany that is as dangerous as it is healing eventually for Josie, folowing Klara’s almost religious communion with the Sun, I infer. F884C740-0D41-49B3-AAB7-C36F2D89F064 Just as my reading-stoppage points in this book seem to change overnight while I sleep! How does that work?
      The prospect of renewed portrait painting by a man who may or may not be inimical towards Josie seems to compare obliquely with someone earlier changing a zebra in a picture frame for another picture?
      And as far as preventing ‘hanky-panky’ is concerned I am wondering whether the bubble games in this sunhouse of a book are perhaps more relevant to our own ‘bubble’ partnerships today — as a sort of softening of rules?
      I remain abstemious with covering up any gaps (and any any shapeless personages) in my reportage as I reach the end of PART THREE.

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  7. PART FOUR

    “Umbrella couples” reminds me of my review of the book AIAIGASA (two Japanese sharing an umbrella or parasol, I recall) HERE. And Josie reading a paperback book — on this day that she is due to renew visits to the portraitist — resonates with my vague memories of Killing Commendatore. Mutual synergies, inadvertent and tantalising. These two Japanese feelings — as the whole city now seems to to me to be as I look through Klara’s eyes while she accompanies Josie. We also learn more about Josie’s mother and father, and I still wonder about her dead sister Sal, or am I getting confused or forgetful, as induced by the beautiful hypnotic powers of this book, as I read it, with my being overhauled as if brain pollution is coming out from the words leaving them purer if more hallucinatory — siphoning or voiding from the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner? The missing AF store, too, when they reach that street, as if I am a different person from the one who read PART ONE. I have now read up to “‘Don’t worry, Klara.’ She reached over to touch my arm. ‘We’ll find it tomorrow.’” in PART FOUR.

    • Of course, the strongest association with the acronym AF for me is Atrial Fibrillation, a condition from which someone I know has suffered in the latter part of life before receiving Ablation procedure to help relieve it recently.
      (‘Ablation is removal or destruction of material from an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes.’)

    • Beyond the Purple Door in PART FOUR is a sight of the Josie portrait-in-progress and where this book duly comes altogether, the bits I have gathered into growing patterns, and I need to be even more abstemious to keep you immune from the plot until you experience it directly, absorbing you as if it IS you. Stained into the page edges of your own story. Emoted as well as ignited into ‘cocreation’ as is the buzz word in the non-covivid parts of today’s real-time news outside this book’s margins…
      I have read up to: “…rocked gently during a long embrace, and I felt her kindness sweeping through me.”

    • “I’ve never been good at, well, relating to your kind. You have to excuse me.”

      That ‘kind’ here being an AF like Klara who later submits herself (eugenically?) to a siphoning out of some part of her body to somehow help Josie, the above statement being a sort of “fascistic” attitude, as claimed later against one of the “all white people” who said it? Who is overhauling whom and for what pollution? The machine with three funnels, notwithstanding, and simply look up ‘cooting’ in the Urban Dictionary. Just as RPO may be Resisting Proper Observation as I suggested earlier, PEG may be Pausing Electro-Gram? One example of such to be paused being an ECG, and I wonder if my own observation above about Ablation is now nearer the mark than I first thought… and possibly one should consider a different book, one about the nine chambers — or, as mentioned in this section of the KARA book, “rooms” — of the heart? The earlier “umbrella couples” being hearts, each with two ventricles? Is our whole long-seasoned assumption about our life or existence based on a “mistaken premise”?

      “Then let me ask you something else. Let me ask you this. Do you believe in the human heart? I don’t mean simply the organ, obviously. I’m speaking in the poetic sense. The human heart. Do you think there is such a thing? Something that makes each of us special and individual?”

      I have now read, in PART FOUR, up to ‘Animal, we need to get you back. Let’s go and find your mother.’

    • “And exes are unfathomable, as I’m having underlined this very moment.”

      I note ‘lifed’, life as transitive verb, is, unless you override it as Klara did with the pollution machine in its own parasternal heave towards something else, is always autocorrected to ‘lifted’. While Klara is patronised herself with words like ‘machine’ itself or “robot”, we imagine why she sympathises with the lonely, “black-skinned” diner manager at the meeting between Rick and his mother’s ex. The text’s described murmuration of insects here becomes his ‘drone birds’ as his one big lift towards transcending his own unlifted state, which I take to be akin to Klara’s earlier eugenic aspirations for herself and a competing ‘machine’. Her store of faith now vanished, we now depend on ‘happy talk’, as we all do today in our own co-vivid dream of seeing things through our own eyes, not only Klara’s eyes, as cones and cylinders in diminished dimension, what I once called ‘cone zero’.
      “…the human heart, and how complicated it was,…”
      Night patterns and Josie’s paperback book, notwithstanding. I think it right that I should have been reading this Ishiguro book electronically, after all. Poised to vanish. In real-time. And so I duly end PART FOUR.

      “And you must appreciate, in those days, I didn’t know how you technically erase a message once you’ve left one.”

  8. Pingback: The Age of Aiaigasa | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  9. PARTS FIVE & SIX

    “But I realized I couldn’t afford to become distracted, that the Sun was likely to leave at any moment, and so I let more thoughts stream through my mind, no longer shaping them into formal words.”

    Nepotism differs from favouritism, as the latter stems from the sun’s heart that made our planet, the former from ourselves. We are all deserve our own “slow fade” rather than any slow motion brutal shock of an end. This book shows the irony of “no-brainer” being a brilliant epiphany even if from the ‘utility room’ or backyard of one’s last days…. car wrecks, backlashes, spying drones, mirrors as sun-reflective windows or picture frame gates, a just visible triangle residue of a paperback or the oblong’s image as text, those black boxes and thinking outside them into the blue sky and its core of atrial fibrillations — a mixed clutter in the yard of our mind or a deceptively inspiring well-ordering by the greatest fiction yardperson of them all?
    Are we how we actually are or what people see and the feelings they have for us? In a very special way, this book addresses these matters in a revelatory way that only strongly imaginative and often oblique fiction fashions for itself BY itself…. an autonomous release of an empathic entity by those special artifice friends like Ishiguro who have chosen to facilitate such releases of artifice into the public domain. The final consolation for us unconsoled, ever on the tantalising brink of it being grasped… Bespoke for each of us. The Aiaigasa of Author and Another like me. Resisting Proprietary Observation.

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    “The heart may think it knows better: The senses know that absence blots people out. We have really no absent friends.”
    —  Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart (1938)

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