“Never Mind How Creative You Are”: Artistic Crisis and Global Dystopia in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go Cover Image
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“Never Mind How Creative You Are”: Artistic Crisis and Global Dystopia in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go
“Never Mind How Creative You Are”: Artistic Crisis and Global Dystopia in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

Author(s): Emily Horton
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: Kazuo Ishiguro; Never Let Me Go; Giorgio Agamben; crisis; dystopia; neo-liberalism; cosmopolitanism; homo sacer

Summary/Abstract: The fiction of Kazuo Ishiguro repeatedly figures narratives of crisis and unreliability as a meta-diegetic means of subverting nationalistic ideologies. From The Artist of the Floating World to The Remains of the Day to When We Were Orphans, figures of distressed, unreliable narrators, entranced by nationalistic ideals, exemplify the authoritarian and fascistic tendencies within post-consensus politics. In Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, this project takes on a new, cosmopolitan dimension as socially instituted clones – raised and harvested for the purpose of donating their organs – become the unexpected exponents of global technology, translating neo-liberal doctrine onto international relations. Positioned within a futuristic dystopia of genetic-technological abandonment, in which consumer choice provides a nativist basis for social exploitation, premised on ‘birthright’, this affirmation exposes neo-liberalism’s failure of democratic reasoning, wherein only those who are born ‘naturally’ to a nation (in accordance with ‘birth-right’) find access to authorised personhood. Building on Giorgio Agamben’s notion that the homo sacer (the unauthorised person) represents the central political figure of our time, indicative of global crisis, this essay reads the novel as an indictment of neoliberal politics, in which an emphasis on market-based humanism distorts the very concepts of the human and creativity.

  • Issue Year: 11/2011
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 7-22
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English