Tag Archives: literature

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – Book Review

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Never-Let-Me-Go-Audiobook/B00LCHY9AM?qid=1618125902&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=E7DR700310ZFRFNCR62W

Summary:

In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England.
Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship, and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

My Review:

Hailsham is a seemingly idyllic setting for privileged boys and girls. It is a boarding school with acres of land, in which the welfare of the children and their education is overseen by “the Guardians”.

Cathy and her friends are encouraged to produce art, the best of which is taken away by “Madame”.

As the novel progresses, the reader is left with a growing sense of unease. Why is “Madame” fearful of the children? And why does she take their best work away to “the gallery”?

There is no cruelty at Hailsham, yet Miss Lucy seems troubled and attempts to communicate to Cathy and her friends something of their fate when they leave Hailsham.

As the story unfolds, we learn (following the departure of the students from Hailsham), of “carers” and “donors”. Every student from Hailsham (and the other institutions in England) must take their turn caring for donors, before themselves becoming donors.

The children reared at Hailsham, and other similar institutions are clones whose purpose is to provide organs to non-clones.

Much of the horror of the story lies in the euphemisms employed to describe horrific acts. The word donor implies a willing person who provides a kidney or other organ for reasons of altruism. However, in Never Let Me Go the students/clones have no option other than to furnish their body parts. Again, donors do not die, rather they “complete”.

There is no mention of any secret police in the novel. Therefore it is not clear how the state ensures that the clones fulfil their destiny and donate organs. Donors are not (as in Huxley’s Brave New World) subjected to intensive conditioning, yet there is no indication that any try to avoid their fate. This is, for me an issue with what is, in general a very well written novel. It seems almost incredible that none of the clones would attempt to rebel against the system.

There is talk by Ruth, Cathy, Tommy and other students about the possibility of students who have produced great art being, somehow able to defer their fate as donors, particularly if they can demonstrate that they are in love. To find out whether this is, in fact the case, you will need to read the book.

Photographs of Poet K Morris holding the paperback edition of his book, The Further Selected Poems of K Morris

On Friday I received author copies of my book, The Further Selected Poems of K Morris , which was published on 27th February. The photographs below show me holding the front and back cover of my book, as well as two poems from the collection; ‘Dog Bed’ and ‘To a Departed Dog’. My book is also available as a Kindle download, and can be found here

For the UK please visit here and for the US please visit here

Effect of Producing a Second Edition of a Book on Book Reviews

I am considering revising/extending my “Selected Poems”, as there is new material which I would like to include. Consequently I am thinking of producing a second edition.

I would be grateful for the advice of my readers regarding whether a second edition would mean that the reviews in respect of the current (and only edition) would be lost? Or is it possible to publish a second edition whilst keeping the reviews for the first one?

You can find my “Selected Poems” here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Kevin

My Guest Post On Esther Chilton’s Blog

My thanks to Esther Chilton for her kindness in featuring me on her blog. To read my guest post please follow this link, https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/guest-blog-post-featuring-kevin-morris/

Mopping Up

Earlier today, I recorded my poem “The Man with the Mop”:

(“The Man with the Mop” can be found in my “Selected Poems”, which is available on Amazon, and can be found here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/ (for the UK), and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.)

‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’ posts on Instagram

I have just uploaded four posts to Instagram of my book ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’. The photographs show me holding the print and Braille editions of my book, whilst others show me stroking my dog, Trigger.

Book Description:
Life is full of light and shade. For to be human is to experience joy, beauty, love, pain and laughter. This collection reflects all facets of human experience. hence the title ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious poems)’.

You can purchase ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’ here for the UK or here for the US.

2 Reviews of My Collection of Poetry, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems

I was delighted to discover that my collection of poetry, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems” has received a further 2 reviews on Goodreads.

Veronika Sizova:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this poetry collection, which has immersed me into a vibrant universe of scintillating humour and alluring melancholy
simultaneously. The bold contrast between the sections “Light” and “Shade” has particularly fascinated me, being reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique
used by Renaissance artists to accentuate the beauty of their paintings by incorporating the dichotomy of lightness and darkness into their masterpieces.
Kevin Morris has demonstrated exceptional poetic artistry in combining humorous topics with serious themes, such as profound contemplation of human life’s
inevitable evanescence and immortalizing one’s beloved in art.

I would also like to applaud the author for his thoughtfulness and brilliant decision to add footnotes, describing the references he used throughout the
book. An ardent lover of literary allusions, I have particularly enjoyed the poem “The Weather Was Chill,” where Emily Dickinson’s “feathered hope” makes
a flamboyant appearance. It was also my pleasure to find a playful verse referencing “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” which I highly admire.

As Kevin Morris would say, indulging in rhyme is not yet a crime, so don’t hesitate to read his excellent poetry!”.

(For the review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3412806912?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1.

Audrey Driscoll:

“Section 1 – Love, Nature and Time — comprises poems on themes familiar to those acquainted with Morris’s poetry. The atmosphere is almost uniformly somber,
with occasional touches of wry humour. Appreciation of nature is inevitably paired with awareness of mortality. Desire is of the unfulfilled variety, with
overtones of irony, as in “Escort (an Acrostic),” the final poem of the section.

Similar poems are grouped together; thus, we have five poems featuring autumn leaves and four that mention wind. They are all brief, but almost seem like
different versions of a single poem.

The best of the serious verses have a roundness and a satisfying trajectory. “I Saw a Great Bough,” for example, and “The Sun’s Light Ends in Night.” Others
limp a little. For example, “The Point of Poetry.” “Why must I / Attempt to capture / Every rapture / Or simple pleasure? / The weather / Is there to be
enjoyed, / Be it fine or wet, / Yet.” To my ear, the line “Is there to be enjoyed,” is a bit too long and breaks the rhythm. But perhaps this is intentional,
since the poem’s final line mentions “a poor rhyme.”

Several poems at the end of Section 1 mention the effects of Covid-19. “The Pubs are All Closed,” is the most obvious example, as it expresses regret for
a lost sense of community, even though “girls in short clothes” continue to “go by.”

“Do Good Men Count Sheep?” is interesting. It contains yet another ambiguous reference to women – or rather, to “girls” – who appear often in this collection
as passing by, being glimpsed, or being unavailable.

Section 2, Humour, is considerably longer and a departure from the serious. In fact, many of these short, limerick-like verses are goofy, zany, and downright
bizarre. Here again are groups of similar verses; for example, the set of ten under the title “Miss White.” Each one features a lady by name of White in
a different situation. Many of these verses display a spirit of gleeful naughtiness in keeping with the limerick tradition.

While the limericks adhere to the AABBA rhyme scheme, I did find problems with the rhythm in some cases. Too many syllables in a line causes unexpected
jolts, as in “There Was a Horologist Named Sue.” I must admit that incorporating the word “horologist” into a limerick is a challenge, so perhaps I should
not be too critical.

Quite a few of these short poems are clever and funny. I particularly enjoyed “A Young Lady from France,” “Concrete Poetry,” “Hall’s Ball,” and “There
Once Was a PM Named Boris.”

“Physicists Say” returns to the philosophical, but with a lighthearted tone. Another poem that departs from the limerick form is “Poetry and Prose.” It
neatly sums up a poet’s thoughts about his art.

I recommend Light and Shade to anyone who appreciates short, thoughtful poems. Readers may dip into the serious side if so inclined, or skip over to the
Humour section for a smile and a giggle.”

(For the review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3412237891?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1).

“Light and Shade” is available in paperback and Kindle and can be found here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B37VVKV/.

Of literature, pelican crossings and escort girls in Liverpool!

I spent the Christmas period with my mum, her partner and my sister in Liverpool. Following a very enjoyable week with my family, I returned to London on Friday 27 December.

As my mum, her Partner and I stood at the pelican crossing outside Liverpool Central station, waiting to cross and make our way to Lime Street in order that I could catch my train back to London, my mum’s partner commented on a sticker affixed to the pelican, advertising the services of escort girls which (my mum added) had been rendered illegible by someone with a thick black marker pen)!

The above incident reminded me of my short story “Samantha”, which tells the story of an upper-class young woman forced into prostitution in the city of Liverpool, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BL3CNHI/. “Samantha” has received a number of great reviews, including the below 4 star review by Paul S:

Samantha

“I downloaded this short novel when it was being offered free on Amazon Kindle and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It had a gripping plot, good characterisation and plenty of ‘atmosphere’; things that can be lacking in short stories. I think there may be a couple of formatting issues as I found I had to re-read a couple of paragraphs as they initially seemed out of place, possibly due to a missing carriage return instruction or perhaps because I was reading the story too quickly as I wanted to find out what happened next!
I won’t expand upon the plot as I do not want to create any spoilers but I suggest that you give this short novel a look if you enjoy atmospheric crime thrillers that have an element of romance, a gripping story line, some really nasty villains and a quite dramatic, action packed, climax”. To read the review on Amazon please follow this link, https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2YUTS78WBRB01/.

Hitman

He steaddied the rifle against the window ledge and, gazing along the barrel saw the target, on the beach far below.

Just another hit, he thought, as he watched the living dead hand in hand with a petite blonde. She was not his wife, he knew as much. That did not, of course bother him in the slightest. Other people’s sex lives where a matter of complete indifference to him. What was of concern to the hitman was the £20,000 he would receive once the target was neutralised.

She was pretty that blonde. He wouldn’t mind having her between his sheets, he thought as he lined up the rifle on the target.

The sea, far below roared and a gull walked, casually along the crumbling cliff edge.

It had been a stroke of luck finding this house abandoned at the top of the cliff path, he thought as his finger tightened on the trigger.

The man below bent to kiss the blonde, just as the finger of the hitman squeezed tight on the Trigger.

The report of the gun was, as he knew it would be, lost in the roar of the sea and the crying of the gulls.

As lips touched below, the bullet sailed high above the target’s head. Then the roar of the sea and the crying of the gulls was joined by another louder roar as the cliff, long the subject of erosion by wind and sea gave way, taking the house so precariously balanced at the cliff edge with it. The report had been the final straw that had broken the camel’s back, bringing house and hitman crashing down to the unforgiving waves below.

“Christ”, that was a near thing, the target said, as he gazed at the fallen rocks only some hundred yards from where he and his petite mistress stood, horror struck on the beach below.

The end

My review of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill

This review is of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill which can be accessed using the Amazon Echo.

Amazon’s website describes Poem Reader as:
“Poem Reader is a random collection of poems for the whole family. Enable the skill to ask for today’s poem or the daily rhyme. Alexa will say the poem, not sing it. This skill is meant to help teach you the words to some popular poems and rhymes.”

Having used Poem Reader, it is, in my view more of a vehicle for having nursery rhymes recited than a means of accessing poetry more generally. Each time I asked Poem Reader for a poem and/or rhyme, it produced a rhyme more suited to young children than the family as a whole.

Amongst the rhymes voiced by Alexa was Hickory Dickory Dock, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Little miss Muffet and Goosey Goosey Gander.

This skill does, perhaps possess the potential to amuse young children and those with an interest in nursery rhymes. However, from my use of Poem Reader, I believe that the description is somewhat misleading in that it implies a broad selection of rhymes/poems, when what is in fact included is largely (perhaps exclusively) a collection of nursery rhymes.

For anyone interested in checking out Poem Reader, it can be found here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poem-Reader-Poems-for-Everyone/dp/B01LFXD2LY/.