This is so deep on so many levels and yet is such a refreshingly light read. It does make you cry at the end. If you want to read it I recommend you don't read any preamble and for that reason, I will keep this very spoiler proof.
No, it's not a thriller. The book is written from the perspective of one Kathy H, a student at Hailsham and about her greatly ordinary life. Over time as people grow older, we chance upon information about the bad bad world out there and learn to deal with it. So does Kathy, supported by some friends.
It's endearing in a way to see campus life in Hailsham and remember that my six years of campus life were similar. We all have things that seem so important at that stage within the confines of that word, that outside it they seem so silly. And that is what makes this book so very special. The author was able to look at the world through the eyes of this little child and then a young adult all the while. This is also what makes epics like To Kill a Mockingbird. May be that's why this book is now part of school curricula. The author did use the older Kathy H as the narrator looking back at her life, I suppose in the off chance that he found himself not sounding young enough. This flashback angle also allowed for a non linear narrative, going back and forth between different experiences at different ages but all muddled up and remembered as and when our older Kathy H pleases.
The story goes on and on through how people deal with different situations, like bullying, falling in love and hating someone for something silly, etc. It's not a great epic of changing the world. I mean the story has potential to make for an action sequence but the author chooses not to. Because we are not knights and most of us deal with unpleasant information by ignoring it and pretending like it does not affect us, which exactly what Kathy and her friends do most of time.
The melancholy that Murakami brings and the ordinary told extraordinarily that shapes up Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the marquee of loneliness that underlines their works are all themes that run in Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. I just picked up his legendary piece of book, The Remains of the Day.