Do The Authors Of LLMG And Asylum By Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Asylum'

Submitted By elliemcgivern
Words: 1747
Pages: 7

How do the authors of NLMG and Asylum draw us in?

As readers, we are most likely to base our decision on whether to continue reading a book, based on the first few pages, or even paragraphs of a book. The books ‘Never Let Me Go’ (NLMG) by Kazuo Ishiguro and ‘Asylum’ by Patrick McGrath both incorporate similar techniques in order to entice the reader to continue reading. They both use first-person narrative, as well as the theme of mystery and ambiguity throughout. It could also perhaps be argued that there is a sense of closure in the opening section of the two novels, allowing the reader to make potential linkages throughout the novel. In ‘NLMG’ we are immediately introduced to the narrator in the opening sentence, “My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty one years old and I’ve been a carer now for eleven years”. Already, we are given sufficient information about Kathy in order for the reader to make a judgement about her. These sentences are friendly and welcoming, yet straight to the point and factual. The informal, perhaps even chatty tone of the opening paragraphs makes the reader feel as though Kathy is speaking directly to them and using the same tone of voice as she would when speaking to a friend. To emphasise this, Ishiguro uses very few conjunctions when linking sentences, “That sounds long enough I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the end of this year. That’ll make it almost exactly twelve years.” This could perhaps be a technique used by Ishiguro to make the reader’s relationship with Kathy more personal, by writing as if Kathy is actually speaking to the reader directly, as a friend. In doing so, this makes the reader feel as if they are with Kathy, in a sense, experiencing the events as she recalls them, as if they are standing right beside her. Obviously, we have a more objective perspective of the events described, as they are Kathy’s very own memories and she clearly has fond memories of Hailsham. This means that Kathy is an unreliable narrator, as she can only describe the memories from her perspective, therefore it is likely that the events described will be biased and not give a true representation of the exact details of her time at Hailsham. ‘Asylum’ on the other hand uses far more sophisticated and authoritative language when describing the mental state of Stella Raphael, “Such relationships vary widely in duration and intensity but tend to pass through the same stages. Assignation. Structure. Complication. And so on.” This shows the narrator is clearly well educated in the area of mental health, with the reference “passing through the same stages” showing that he has obviously seen the symptoms in previous medical cases and therefore can predict the outcome. The use of educational medical terms emphasises the sophistication of the narrator, as well as using formal register when describing the process. It may therefore show that the narrator is automatically assuming authority, emphasising the formal tone of the opening paragraph. Compared to Kathy H, we are given very few details about the narrator; on the opening page, we do not find out their name or the reasons as to why Stella Raphael had such a massive impact on his working life. In doing so, this will encourage the reader to carry on reading and delve further, so that they can find out about the narrator, as well as most importantly, the case of Stella Raphael. The way the narrator uses minimal factual evidence about himself creates a sense of unease for the reader, as it is not yet clear why the writer is focusing so specifically on Stella Raphael rather than giving some background about himself, creating tension thus a desire to read on. In both novels, there is a great sense of mystery and ambiguity. Perhaps more so in ‘Asylum’, because as discussed above, there is very minimal factual information presented for us to get an idea of the background of the medical case of Stella Raphael. To create