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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

Longlisted, 2021 Booker Prize

Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Esquire, Vogue, Time, Washington Post, The Times (UK), Vulture, The Economist, NPR, and Bookriot

On President Obama’s Summer 2021 Reading List

The magnificent new novel from Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro - author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.

“The Sun always has ways to reach us.”

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. 

In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: What does it mean to love?

©2021 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2021 Knopf Canada

What the critics say

Longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize

“What stays with you in Klara and the Sun is the haunting narrative voice - a genuinely innocent, ego-less perspective on the strange behavior of humans obsessed and wounded by power, status and fear. This is a fiction that not only asks in general about the nature of consciousness and personal dignity but presses home the assumptions we make about how we value some consciousnesses more than others and how we make others serve the cause of our survival.” (2021 Booker Prize Judges)

One of the most affecting and profound novels Ishiguro has written.... I'll go for broke and call Klara and the Sun a masterpiece that will make you think about life, mortality, the saving grace of love: in short, the all of it.” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR)

“A delicate, haunting story, steeped in sorrow and hope.” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)

What listeners say about Klara and the Sun

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

The narration made this one hard for me to assess. While the narrator’s voice was pleasant, her cadence was completely off and she emphasized the wrong word in almost every sentence. It’s possible that was deliberately done to reflect the AF’s non-human-ness, but I found it so off-putting it was all I could do to get it the end of the recording. This was compounded by the inconsistent English accent for two of the characters.

7 people found this helpful

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Careful... Spoilers ahead

The first half of the book had so much potential by exploring the world from the perspective of an AI Humanoid Doll thing; the Artificial Friend or AF. I quite enjoyed the learning journey from the perspective of a new "life" form and how it tried to understand how the world worked and how people interacted with one another. But it kind of stalls out and the AF doesn't really make any profound discoveries. The naiveté of the AF is interesting enough, but no lessons were learned. I found the religious undertones to be disappointing; the idea of faith (in The Sun = A God) and personal sacrifice (the AF gives up some of her life giving fluids) and unwavering devotion will allow for miracles (the real life friend is saved when The Sun is allowed to save her). It all kind of made me sick to my stomach really. I was hoping for something more real, something grittier. An understanding that life isn't fair, and that worshipping a God, or Sun, and making sacrifices in the name of that God isn't the answer. But according to this book, it is. At least it comes across that way.

The moral of Klara and the Sun; sacrifice to your god, and your god will perform miracles to save your friends.

Hated it.

The performance was mostly alright but the character voices were sometimes hard to distinguish and was confusing at times. The off kilter vocabulary of the AF got tired after a while though. The AF was supposed to learn as it interacted and it seemed to be just as naïve in the entry as it is at the end when it slowly fades away.

There are plenty of other flaws in the story. Characters and locations are somewhat random and meaningless at times. And the story doesn't explore at any great length the hinted at components and aspects of a future society with AI and genetic manipulations and a marginalization of the poor as they are replaced by AI entities. Lots of allusions to a potential rebellion, and a new type of Class based worth but nothing really explored.

2 stars for the story because the idea was interesting, it just didn't go anywhere, or rather, where it did go was so disappointing.

1 star for overall because of the huge letdown at the end.

4 people found this helpful

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disappointing

The story has a very interesting premise, but the story strains credibility in many ways. When a robot is supposedly renowned for the ability to learn and adapt very quickly, so much so that someone could consider having it replace a real person, yet it continues to refer to phones as oblongs...and living rooms as 'the open plan'...despite living with family members and surely hearing the correct names for things, it seems very odd. The AF remained too child-like and robotic for the story to really hang together.

4 people found this helpful

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A modern masterpiece

Loved the new Ishiguro novel “Klara and the Sun”. The mood is very similar to “Never Let me Go” which is also an excellent book but somehow more refined and lovely. Five Star Plus+

3 people found this helpful

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an exceptional piece of fiction

A profound, sophisticated, and truly moving masterpiece. Excellently performed. A tour de force that has second listen written all over it

2 people found this helpful

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You're Going To Love Klara

January 2022 | 4/5
The title that showed up on more best reads of the year lists in 2021, stars an artificial friend named Klara.

A robot that observes humans in an effort to provide their human friend with everything they could ever need.
Klara is adopted into a family that has lost one child, and is to be the AF of the families other sick child, Josie. Through the eyes of Klara we learn about love, loss, and what it means to be human.

Klara (and I assume the other AFs) worship the sun that gives them their power. So when Josie's condition worsens, Klara sets out to ask the sun for help.

Fast forward and we meet Klara again, in a landfill, no longer able to move but still in the sun's light. And the owner of the shop she was purchased from visits for chat.
This book was deep. And lovely. And innocent. And beautiful.

This is my first Ishiguro, but I've read that it would be better to start with a more popular title.

1 person found this helpful

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Passable

It was fairly good, but simultaneously lacked any significant tension, and I wasnt really drawn in by the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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what a confusing book.

I wish I'd stopped listening on page 1. Made no sense to me at all.

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Klara and the Sun

A very engaging story! I had heard that I might not like it but I found it fascinating. The idea that children of the future could choose an artificial friend (AF) as a companion for play and family life is intriguing. The story is told from the AF’s perspective; this AF is intuitive, intelligent, and careful of others’ feelings. However, as the child grows up and moves on, the AF is abandoned even though it continues to function or ‘live’. The story raises many ethical issues which will provide lots of material for a rich discussion.

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Good start, lame finish

Let me start by saying that the narrator was the best I’ve ever heard. Exemplary!
The story started out good, but then fizzled into the unbelievable, even taking into account that this was a fantasy.
Without giving too much away, the adults belief system seemed childish.
There also seemed to be sections that were useless filler.
Overall an interesting premise that didn’t live up to its potential.

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  • siyaz
  • 2021-12-09

Good book but!

I really enjoyed the unique, thought provoking storyline but the English accent the narrator is attempting put me on edge and made me grit my teeth.