Copying, cloning, and creativity: reading Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go'

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s (2005) dystopian novel Never Let Me Go is set in 1990s Britain, in a boarding school called Hailsham. Through the adult voice of one of the children remembering her time growing up there, the reader gradually learns that Kathy and her friends have been raised as artificially-generated clones, manufactured to provide body parts for ‘normals’ in the world. The narrative deploys flashback and hindsight in order to interrogate the essentialism of biological origins, raising complex questions concerning the relationship between memory, copying, creativity and selfhood. These topics are discussed through a psychoanalytic reading of Ishiguro’s novel where I draw on Apter’s (2011) ideas about textual translation, Laplanche’s (1999) notion of ‘afterwardsness’ and clinical material to explore the various ways in which memory and identification are implicated in the development of personal identity. © 2014, BPF and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an author produced version of a paper published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-532
JournalBritish Journal of Psychotherapy.
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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