When might the source of sorrow be the expectation of alleviation itself? How could the very prospect of solace effectively morph into a jeopardizing moment from which one wants to flee or, in wishful desperation, to forestall? And in such situations, whether immediate or remote, what other resources of emotional rescue are at our disposal when consolation wears out its welcome? Chapter 5 takes up these questions with the help of writers who combine retrospection with expectant threat and anticipated mourning. After an introduction centred on the recent short stories of Graham Swift, it turns to an unequivocally bleak work that offers a stark forewarning of the perils of biotechnology: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005). The chapter argues that this speculative novel about state-authorized cloning shows how, through its depiction of what some critics have deemed futile, institutionalized forms of care, Ishiguro provokes readers to reflect on their own parameters of sympathy and judgment—most notably, on our grounds for subjecting to critique what his characters utilize to console.
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