What does it truly mean to love? To be loved? Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, depicts the meaning of life and love. Kazuo Ishiguro is a novelist from Great Britain who is best known for his fiction novels, including Klara and the Sun as his eighth one. His novels share the stories of regret as well as optimism. Ishiguro takes his time to fully immerse readers into the life of Klara, and shows how living is magic of its own. Through this novel, a new understanding of the importance of relationships, feelings, loneliness, and sacrifice is understood.
Klara is an AF, an artificial friend. But to think of her just as a robot doesn’t do her justice. As I got into the story, I realized that she was much more. She was created to understand the emotions of humans, through which she learns empathy and compassion. Klara is everything good and pure. The story is set in a future United States when technology has taken over a lot but instead of looking at the changes in this future society the novel focuses on Klara’s point of view. Through the first-person narrator, the readers can thoroughly come to appreciate her childlike, whimsical nature. She becomes paired with a 14-year old girl named Josie, who has a terminal illness. Klara is there to keep her from falling into loneliness.
Loneliness is one of the main emotions presented in the novel and goes hand in hand with fear. The humans are afraid of being lonely which is why AFs are created to prevent that. This novel opens up the idea that many people act a certain way to escape loneliness. People do things for others to be impressed by them or to fill a void in the moment but the moment is one part, which becomes insignificant after some time. Keeping humans from being lonely also saves them from being vulnerable. I think many teenagers in today’s life can relate to this. We try to fill our own loneliness with different people, experiences, work, and even social media just trying to avoid opening our hearts and minds to others
Klara’s ability to care surprised me the most while reading. For someone who is designed to fill the emotions of others she developed emotions of her own. She is able to understand problems as if they are her own and feel empathy towards others. She is loyal and dedicated to helping others and genuinely loves being with Josie. This opened my eyes to compassion in towards my friends. With these experiences, Klara develops her own emotions towards things and builds bonds with humans only to constantly remind herself that her job is just to serve.
One of the elements about the book that made my reading a bit cumbersome was how slowly the story moved. There is a lot of build up to the novel but not to that specific point which I was looking for. Instead, the novel rolls from the first page to the last without providing a satisfying crescendo.
But ‘Klara and the Sun’ is over all rather endearing as it shows how love is sacrifice. Klara is literally made to sacrifice herself for the needs of her companion. She Klara tries to do whatever she can to make Josie better because she loves her in the purest way possible. A specific part of the book that stood out was when Klara started to pray for Josie. She starts to pray to the sun because she thinks it heals all in the world. Klara performs every task for the good of Josie. To me, this is what real love is. Putting one’s happiness and safety in front of your own because it makes you happy; without expecting anything in return. This applies to any kind of relationship: mother, father, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend.
Lastly, the novel provides us with a different lens in order to understand the complexity of our closest relationships. It is no secret that any sort of relationship takes hard work and a lot of patience. In Klara and the Sun, we are exposed to the difficulty with Klara and Josie’s friendship; a human and a machine that has feelings. It cannot get much more complex than this. But through their friendship I was able to recognize how caring for someone goes beyond the basics and is more about selflessness.