Our first ever in person meeting today, in the activity room at the library. A couple of work-based absences, but most of us made it there in person, with a rather modern dial-in on Zoom by one member. It worked, after a fashion.

Remarkably, a majority of us had read the book this time, and most of us enjoyed it, some with reservations. We talked about the major themes in the book, as we saw them – loneliness, the ethics of “lifting”, artificial intelligence and its role in society, what it means to be human, and the ambiguity of much of Ishiguro’s writing.

As a diehard Ishiguro fan, I loved the book and found it very engaging. Others found it difficult to identify or empathise with the Klara as an AI, although we generally felt her to be more sympathetic a character than most of the humans!¬† There was much to discuss, and I think I’m safe in saying that we would recommend the book to others.

For next time, we will be reading Paradise, by Abdulrazak Gurnah. Born in Zanzibar in 1948 , Abdulrazak Gurnah now lives in the UK and teaches at the University of Kent. Paradise was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker and Whitbread Prizes. Mr Gurnah won the Nobel Prize for literature this year, “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”. We’ll meet at the library, all being well, on Sunday 21 November, 1030-1130. Please do read along and let us know what you think.

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