Written on the Face: Race and Expression in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go

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This essay argues that Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go draws an analogy between the lives of the clones and the experience of the racially marginalized, exposing the contradictions of contemporary genomic science in which race is being both effaced and revived as biological concept. As Ishiguro critiques the current postracial era, he presents an alternative postracial vision, which evokes Darwin’s theory of the universality of expression and thus the common descent of different races. Through Kathy’s privileging of facial expressions in her narrative, the novel offers a view of kinship that moves beyond the genetic assumptions that underpin (racial) identity politics, toward a model of reciprocity based on a nonbiological, nonracial affinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-862
Number of pages19
JournalMFS: Modern Fiction Studies
Issue number4
Early online date29 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Black Humanities
  • Centre for Humanities Health and Science


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