‘Klara and the Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – A Solar-Powered Artificial Friend


‘Klara and the Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro (2021) – 303 pages


It’s the not-so-distant future, and artificial friends (AFs) for children are for sale. Klara is one of these AFs in the store waiting to be sold. She has been in the store awhile, and there are already newer B3 models of artificial friends with more advanced features. One day the store manager puts Klara in the sunny storefront window, and Klara, being solar-powered, really brightens up. Young girl Josie who is walking by with her mother has gotta have this Klara for her own friend.

Josie is a rather sickly girl, but she has been “lifted” by artificial genetic editing, so she is eligible for college. However the boy she plays with, Rick, has not been “lifted”. Klara tries her best to be a good friend to both of them.

At Josie and her mother’s home, Klara must also contend with Melania Housekeeper who apparently is a Slovenian machine.

And AF. Your big plan. If it make Miss Josie worse I come dismantle you. Shove you in the garbage.”

Since the story in ‘Klara and the Sun’ is told in the first person by Klara, it is a fine balancing act for Kazuo Ishiguro to make Klara not sound too stilted or mechanical, yet not altogether human.

In ‘Klara and the Sun’ all of the people carry around an “oblong” which apparently is a well-advanced version of the cell phone. This got me to thinking about the next generation of cell phones today. For these next cell phones, the default for all phone calls will probably be to film all participants on the call. If you don’t want your live picture shown to the other participants, you must figure out the setting for not filming yourself. There may be plenty of times you may not want to have other people watching you while you are on the phone.

Who knows what other changes, probably not all of them good, await us in the future generations of our machines?

Ishiguro pays attention to the musical quality of all of his writing, the rhythms of his words and sentences as well as the silences between them. More writers should pay attention to these properties.


Grade:   A-




7 responses to this post.

  1. Looking forward to this one.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. I’ve got a copy of this so I’ll come back and read your review after I’ve done mine.



    • I finished this yesterday… what a marvellous book! So much to think and talk about but difficult to do so without spoilers.

      Liked by 1 person


      • Hi Lisa,
        One could almost consider traditional dolls as artificial friends for girls. Of course in our era, the dolls will get more sophisticated and more lifelike with new technology. Kazuo Ishiguro is just taking it to the next level in the not-so-distant future.
        I’m happy you liked the story. 🙂



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