Bureaucracy and narrative possibilities in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 SAGE Publications. This article examines the use of bureaucratic narrative-that which poses the subject as an administrative subject and emphasizes the depersonalized and routinized repetition of formulaic rhetoric-in Never Let Me Go (2005) and its suggestion that the language of regulation and job requirements pervasively shapes the seeming impossibility of a critical stance towards a system that is patently and determinedly cruel. By reframing Kathy's and Tommy's dystopian-bureaucratic narrative as a romance pushing against the boundaries of bureaucracy and by situating the reader as a sympathizing character within the text, the novel makes visible the contours of neoliberal rationalities. I argue that Never Let Me Go illustrates that the bureaucratic state is experienced as an array of narratives that structure interpersonal interactions, not just as a set of material and spatial practices. This means considering bureaucracy as an interpretative frame, not just material apparatuses or structures of management.

author list (cited authors)

  • Johansen, E.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM