Klara and the Sun: ‘What makes us humans doesn’t necessarily lie just within ourselves’

Pic: Danielle Kate Wroe (Instagram: @ginbooksandlooks)

WARNING: This article may contain spoilers

This month we’ve been reading Nobel Prize winning author, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker Prize longlisted novel, Klara and the Sun.

Klara and the Sun meets the titular Klara, an ‘Artificial Friend’ as she observes the world from her place in the store.

Watching people pass by on the streets, Klara’s outstanding observational qualities enable her to learn about the world around her.

When the chance of being picked by a prospective customer comes along, Klara prepares for a new life, but is warned not to trust in the promises of humans.

Ishiguro’s fresh take on the coming-of-age novel explores human connections in our rapidly changing modern world, and poses the question: what does it mean to love?

“The sun always has a way to reach us”

The novel has received high praise from a number of critics, and was included on Barack Obama’s Summer Read list in 2021.

The Sunday Times said that Klara is “a masterpiece of great beauty, meticulous control and, as ever, clear, simple prose.”

Anne Enright from The Guardian said: “There is something so steady and beautiful about the way Klara is always approaching connection, like a Zeno’s arrow of the heart.

“People will absolutely love this book, in part because it enacts the way we learn to love.”

The Evening Standard wrote: “With its hushed intensity of emotion, Klara and the Sun confirms Ishiguro as a master prose stylist.”

Alex Preston of Observer, described Klara and the Sun as “another masterpiece, a work that makes us feel fresh the beauty and fragility of our humanity.”

Find out what our book club founders Danielle and Liam thought below…

Pic: Faber and Faber

Liam said: “Klara and the Sun provides a great insight in what it means to be human.

“While I found that the plot of this story didn’t really have many major action points, it offered a great study as to what is at the core of the human experience.

“Through Klara’s observations of the actions of the people around her, we see that what makes us humans doesn’t necessarily lie just within ourselves, but within the connections we form with others.

“I truly loved the character of Klara. The way Ishiguro writes her voice with a childlike curiosity, but an ever growing understanding and wisdom is something quite magical.

“I appreciated that whilst this novel was set in a futuristic/alternative reality, Ishiguro never felt the need to overtly explain things that are out of the ordinary to us. We are never explicitly told what an AF is, or what being lifted means, but through the subtly and nuances of his writing, we come to understand and accept them anyway.

“This is a lovely, touching study of the character of human nature and a story of hope. I would certainly recommend to others.”

Danielle said: “This book is written in such a fantastic way, but it’s one of those books where not much happens and I did find it quite difficult to get into at first.

“Klara is an Artificial Friend and the book oversees her ‘coming of age.’

“The book is a powerful exploration of:
– What makes us human?
– What makes a life worth living and remembering?
– How do our beliefs and observations impact our view of the world?
and so much more

“I enjoyed the basic way the story was written – I feel like it’s very self explanatory and accessible whilst also being a unique and interesting concept. There were many things the author assumed the reader knows, but they were implied so perfectly, so no stark descriptions were needed which is always good!

“It definitely had a level of melancholy running throughout and I think that’s why I initially struggled to enjoy it, but Klara is such a loving, nurturing and optimistic character that the story did win me over eventually.”

Our InYourArea Book Club rating:

Want to take part in our next book club?

Next up we’ll be reading…

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Submit your reviews here by April 29.


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