Kathy, Tommy and Ruth are students at Hailsham, a very exclusive, very strange English private school. They are treated well in every respect, but as they grow older they come to realize that there is a secret that haunts their lives: Their teachers regard them with fear and pity, and they don’t know why. Once they learn the secret it is already far, far too late for them to save themselves. Set in a darkling alternate-universe version of England, and told with dry-eyed, white-knuckled restraint, Never Let Me Go is an improbable masterpiece, a science fiction horror story written as high tragedy by a master literary stylist. It’s postmodern in its conception, but Ishiguro isn’t playing games or chasing trends: The human drama of Never Let Me Go, its themes of atrocity and acceptance, are timeless and, sadly, permanent.