Clones: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

  • Justin Omar Johnston
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


Framed by the recurring image of fences in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, this chapter traces an historical transition from traditional humanist institutions to posthuman networks, governed by mobile, prosthetic technologies. Once the narrator, Kathy H., and her classmates leave their disciplinary boarding school, they realize that they’re clones whose internal organs will someday be harvested. Waiting for her “donations” to begin, Kathy works as a “carer,” travelling England’s expressways from clinic to clinic, caring for clones and reflecting on her childhood. This new biomedical network reveals a form of mobile discipline that keeps Kathy and others moving along their pre-programmed paths, often exhausted by the caffeine and gasoline propelling them forward. In this way, the clones not only offer us a new language for understanding biotechnological labour, but they also foreground a slippage between workers’ bodies and the circulation of products under neoliberal regimes of human capital.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Omar Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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