top of page

"Klara and the Sun": A Review

With all the hype around AI these days, it’s no wonder that we see references to it

everywhere – in newspapers and magazines, but also in music, literature and art.

Kazuo Ishiguru’s novel, Klara and the Sun, published in 2021, is a case in point. The

multi-talented Ishiguru is a Japanese-born British author, screen writer and musician

best known for his novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. In addition to

being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017 for The Remains of the Day, he

has been nominated for the Booker Prize four times!

Klara and the Sun is a sweet, understated book told from the unique perspective of an

AF (Artificial Friend) who is purchased to assist a young tween named Josie in a

futuristic world where kids learn at home on "oblongs" instead of going to school. From the start, we are told that there is something about Klara which sets her apart from the other AFs. She is observant and sensitive, absorbing her human charge’s world so

completely that she understands Josie better than she does herself at times. (If you’re a

fan of Netflix, you’ll see superficial similarities between this book and M3GAN.)

However, not everything in this futuristic world is perfect. In order to truly “succeed”,

families can opt for their children to go through a process called “lifting” which is

supposed to enhance their intelligence and give them membership to an elite club. The

kids in this club socialize together, go to the same colleges, and end up in positions of

power when they are adults. The problem is that “lifting” comes with side effects,

including chronic illness and sometimes death. As time passes, Klara begins to suspect

that her presence in her adopted family’s household has more to do with the needs of

Josie’s mother than it does with the ailing Josie herself.

The book raises many questions, ethical and otherwise, but one in particular -- what

makes us special or unique? -- is at the forefront. This sentence struck such a chord

with me: "There was something very special, but it wasn't inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her"; Yes, humans are unique, but one of the things that makes us so

is the impact that we have on others.

I’d definitely recommend this book to any teen who is interested in AI. It’s fascinating to

see the world from Klara’s perspective. Despite being an Artificial Friend, some of her

observations and feelings are more “authentic” than the humans around her.

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page