Book Review – Klara and the Sun

I actually reserved this book at my local library ready for me to read when I got back to Hobart from our road trip on the mainland last year. But guess what? I saw this book available at the Naracoorte Library during our stopover there last year. And since I’ve become a member of the SA public library network at that time, I immediately borrowed it. It was in large print and the library staff warned me that it was in ‘large print’ and I said it was fine. Even better!

This book, which is written by Kazuo Ishiguro is about friendship and love. Klara is an AF (Artificial Friend), a robot in human form. I wouldn’t say she’s an android (but she probably is), I thought of her as more mechanical but shaped as a human, which is probably what an android is right?

Anyway, the story is narrated by Klara who is bought and taken home by Josie and her mother. Josie is an unwell teenager so Klara keeps her company. But Klara is more than a heartless machine. She’s kind, warm, observant and she loves Josie with all her ‘heart’. One day, Josie suddenly becomes seriously ill and Klara made a pact with the sun and sacrifices part of her makeup/essential part to make Josie better again. I find this very naive on Klara’s part considering she’s a robot and should be ‘intelligent’ or maybe another word I’m thinking of is ‘impartial’? Because she is powered by solar, she believes that the sun is some powerful being that could perform miracles by merely ‘praying’ to it even though Klara never describes it that way. But I think this naivety is the reason for Klara’s devotional and unconditional love for Josie, which I admire.

Even though, you might think that the concept of having an artificial friend in your home is a little creepy stay with this story. It’s heart-warming and Ishiguro gives us a wondeful insight on being a human through the lens of a machine. I highly recommend this book!

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