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Klara and the Sun: A novel – tekijä:…

Klara and the Sun: A novel (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2021; vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Kazuo Ishiguro (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5472932,581 (4.13)27
Teoksen nimi:Klara and the Sun: A novel
Kirjailijat:Kazuo Ishiguro (Tekijä)
Info:Knopf (2021), 320 pages
Kokoelmat:Aion lukea, Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

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Klara and the Sun (tekijä: Kazuo Ishiguro) (2021)

  1. 01
    Ole luonani aina (tekijä: Kazuo Ishiguro) (JGoto)
    JGoto: Style and themes are similar in both of these novels by Ishigura.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
A bit of a disappointment. I say this even taking into account that the narrator is a robot, an AF (artificial friend) - even then the main idea of controversy of pro and con in the field of artificial intelligence seemed understated. The dialogues between humans are very rudimentary (and that was not due to Klara, the robot, interpretation, because they are presented as they are).

There seemed to be a reach for something - like humans having "heart/feelings", something that robots cannot have, but even that seemed rather quaint. Up to the half of the book, I still was not sure where it was going. And then, the whole idea of the Sun - too ambiguous.

On the positive side, I found the controversy of "lifted kids", i.e. kids that benefited from genetic editing, compared to those who remained as they were, a topic worth discussion. But all in all, this coming from a Nobel Prize winner - I somehow feel bad I wasn't taken by this novel. I need to go back and read Ishiguro's earlier works. ( )
1 ääni Clara53 | Apr 10, 2021 |
Klara and the Sun: A Novel, Kazuo Ishiguro, author; Sura Siu, narrator
This is a novel about a dystopian world. It is a world in which technology has advanced to the point that children can be genetically engineered to succeed if they qualify for the program. This is a world in which very lifelike androids coexist in human families. Although it may even seem like a young adult novel, at first blush, the messages within are more profound when explored. This is a story about one android, Klara, and also Josie, the child that has chosen her to be her Artificial Friend, her AF. So, suspend disbelief, relax and enjoy the show.
Josie has been “lifted up”. She has had genetic altering which enrolled her in a program to guarantee her future success. However, her only neighbor, and her best friend, is Rick. He has not been “lifted up”. His mom chose not to have him entered into the program because of the side effects which could be dangerous. Will Josie and Rick fulfill their dreams of a future together? Josie invites Rick to a monthly socialization meeting. He does not want to go, but he cares so much for Josie that he acquiesces. He is rejected rudely by some in the group. Klara also attends and is threatened with abuse by some of the boys. A scene ensues, and Josie joins the group and abandons Rick and Klara. She is the hostess and is expected to behave politely toward her guests. Rick showed courage by confronting their cruelty; Josie did not. Klara exhibited great patience and thoughtfulness, as she always did. The genetically engineered children seemed far less considerate. The AF seemed more patient and compassionate than the actual humans in the room who stood by without much objection or ability to stop the abusive behavior as it grew worse. Both Karla and Rick showed more respect for each other than those genetically engineered, supposedly superior, human beings.
Although she is not one of the latest models, Klara does seem to possess unique skills. She is more intuitive and more observant than most AF. Klara, however, is only aware of her immediate world, the world she sees from her window. Klara believes that the sun possesses special powers to nourish all and to heal those who are ill. She witnessed what she believes was the “rebirth” of a beggar and his dog because of the sun’s power. She also witnessed and resents the abuse of the environment by machinery around her storefront. Klara though, is essentially a servant, programmed to be gentle and obedient even though she is also very intuitive and senses what is wrong and right with the world. She must hold her tongue, unless asked for her opinion, even when her analytical skills are very advanced and superior to the humans around her. She is able to understand problems and solve them. Although her advice is often simple and reduced to its most basic elements, her advice works and makes sense. She offers hope to human beings who are able to accept her.
As the AF are improved, however, the newer models also began to possess the faults that humans possess, like elitism. Although the latest models had always been welcomed by those already in the showroom, the latest models, thinking they were unobserved, showed arrogance as they mocked the older models among themselves. Garbage in, garbage out, seems to be the result of some programmers work.
Josie is one of the children that has suffered from the side effects of the “lifting up” experience, and it is feared that she will succumb to them in the end. She is often fatigued and ill. Her mother fearing she will lose her, has devised a plan to keep her. Will it succeed? Will it be necessary? Can an authentic substitute be created? Will it work? Is it ethical? Will she be able to accept her decision? How will this plan affect Josie and Klara’s future and/or Rick and Josie’s future?
Now that Rick is older and facing a bleak future, although he is truly intelligent with the mind of an engineer, his mom has misgivings about her decision not to enroll him in the program. He understands that his inventions have the power to help and to harm, but he believes that decision does not lie with him, but rather with government officials. His mom tries to enlist the favor of an old flame with influence, to get him into a limited program offered only to a select few, which will allow him to receive a higher education, but it doesn’t turn out as she planned it. Her old flame has been angry for many years and is vindictive. Yet this is a man who is supposed to possess the ability to choose the best and brightest for the educational institution he is involved with, which offers those not altered an opportunity for success. Where is his patience and kindness? Why is he superior? Why can’t he forgive a slight from so many years ago? As Klara and Rick observe the goings on, they both have the clearer understanding of what is taking place and have the most honorable and ethical reactions. Perhaps genetic engineering is not the best answer for society or civilization, since there are unintended consequences.
Will the reader have the courage to truly examine the issues raised in this book since they are issues confronting society today? Will technology positively or negatively alter the world. Will there always be people that take advantage of the situation at the expense of others? Will the inherent evil in some find its way into technological advances. Will only some be allowed to speak? Will only some be allowed to advance? Who will choose those “special” people. What qualifies them for that job?
In the end, will it be Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest or survival of the most arrogant and elite succeed? Will it be a combination of both ideas that succeeds? Is this the world we are inviting? Will it spin out of control? Is our identity politics and cancel culture permitting only one thought process which is already out of control? There are some parents today who wish to choose certain genetic traits for their children, some which are frivolous like the color of their eyes. Is genetic alteration ethical? Is cloning? Should some groups have a greater advantage over another? Should one’s influence effect someone’s chances of success or should the playing field be equal? Is that simply a utopian goal that is unattainable? Are machines contaminating our environment as they supposedly improve it? Should we destroy those machines? Should we try to develop more environmentally safe machinery? Should drones be employed? Are they an invasion of our privacy? Who should decide that, individuals or the government?
Another sub theme is the class structure of society. AF are an underclass and is their abuse acceptable? In addition, are they not another form of slave? They exist only to serve and receive no reward for their service and are threatened with dismantling and abandoned without a second thought. They are often abused physically, and often emotionally abused with insults. These AF have feelings, although Karla’s emotions seem far more developed than most. She always takes the road of optimism, even in the end. She never grows resentful and always maintains her equanimity.
As the androids become more sophisticated, some in society begin to fear them. In some ways they grow superior to human beings. Are the negative aspects of the androids a result of the input from their programmer’s personality? Some are defiant and arrogant. As protest groups develop, one wonders who will win, those that prefer less technology or those that prefer more so that life grows easier and easier for some even though it disadvantages others. Protest groups arise and divisiveness grows. Technology can create monsters as well as saviors. Do machines deserve respect? Should machines rule over human judgment? Will fear ultimately alter technological advances as they grow out of control?
All of these questions arose as I read this novel which is why I suggested it might be far more profound than the initial reaction of the reader. Who will have the courage to confront these issues and give them serious consideration? ( )
1 ääni thewanderingjew | Apr 10, 2021 |
First off, I'd definitely recommend, as with all the other Ishiguro I've loved, to read this book without knowing anything about it. I'm not hyping you up for a big twist-- it's more that I think the story is designed for you to discover as you read. Spoilers from here.

This is a quiet, heartfelt book. The plot moves slowly, and the vast unfairnesses and cruelties of the world are shown gradually and not pointed at. Ishiguro has dipped back into the world of speculative fiction he visited in Never Let Me Go (and I see why many have compared this to that novel, though I'd say all of his books have a quintessential Ishiguro-ness that crosses over genres), and brings his deft touch to the areas of artificial intelligence, bounding boxes, robotics, drones, virtual learning, gene editing, automation, and others. When you list it all out like that, it sounds a bit overwhelming, but really the strength lies in the plausibility and lack of dramatics. I also wouldn't call this a dystopian or utopian novel-- Klara is not in a cruel world, or an especially kind one. She's just in the world.

Ishiguro's main tool in the story is the tender defamiliarization of Klara's perspective, a kind of gentle uncanny valley which renders everything as equally ordinary and mystifying. Klara is an Artificial Friend, a learning robot designed to absorb information about the child that she is purchased for, and use that information to be a good friend. She treats everything she learns and thinks with the same sweet dedication. She continually advances towards greater understanding and her own obsolescence. She has no mechanisms to protect or care for herself.

From our perspective, of course, we can infer bigger, stranger things about the world Klara moves through. She treated unfairly and also loved, often at the same time by the same people. Her triumphs are both impossibly amazing and very small. There are all sorts of things going on that make this world and its people interesting and different and disturbing. But through Klara's eyes, everything unfolds very naturally-- sometimes a bit confusing, but put carefully in order as best as she can.

I'm happy this book didn't go for any of the big dramatic choices that it could have. Josie didn't die after all, Klara didn't have to replace her. There were no "action" scenes with the kids' socialization group or Josie's father's fascist community. There was no big emotional confrontation about Klara's beliefs. Though I'm sure Ishiguro could've written any of those things well, I think leaving the book at a relatively quiet ebb made it more affecting. The main arc of the book was Klara waiting to be chosen, doing her best to do what she was designed for, and, once she had, being put quietly away. The big climax is not about the larger world, not even about the small local world that the story lives in, but focuses exclusively on the two central figures of Klara's personal mythology: Josie, and the Sun.

There, I think that's all my thoughts. I liked this book.
3 ääni scoutmaria | Apr 5, 2021 |
I know this book was highly anticipated but I’m just not feeling the love so I’m going to pass it along to friends who might like it more than me. I think I’m not a sophisticated enough reader to appreciate it. ( )
  JRlibrary | Apr 3, 2021 |
Kinda funky story told from the perspective of a being driven by artificial intelligence. The role of this artificial friend is to be a companion to an adolescent girl and to possibly take her place when she dies. An interesting concept but falls a bit short for me. ( )
  ghefferon | Apr 1, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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