CPL Staff Pick of the Month: Klara and the Sun

Klara wants to find a home. Every day she watches families, carefully observing everything about them, waiting for the one that will welcome her. When Josie and her mother bring her home she is delighted, but soon Klara realizes that all is not well at Josie’s house. There are things they don’t discuss, tensions between Josie and her peers, an illness that Josie may or may not recover from. Klara sees these things but doesn’t fully understand them - because Klara isn’t human.

Klara and the Sun is a powerful work of science fiction and allegory, the first novel released by British-Japanese author Kazuo Ishiguro since he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017. With a pedigree like this, it’s no surprise that the novel works not only as a fascinating vision of a dystopian future - where AI robots are designed to be “artificial friends” to wealthy children, and other technological advances leave humans in a desperate race to regain ground - but also as an exploration of loss, the fear of change, and the lengths people will go to in hopes of preventing that loss and change. Seeing this world through Klara’s eyes is chilling and heartbreaking, and challenges us to question what we would do for the ones we love and what kind of future we’re building for them.

If you’re looking for more imaginative fiction with thoughtful takes on futuristic ideas, try Crosstalk by Connie Willis (new technology is supposed to bring couples closer together, but what if it doesn’t work?), Recursion by Blake Crouch (if you could change the past, would you, and should you?) or A Psalm for the Wild-built by Becky Chambers (a robot arrives to ask the question, “What do people need?”) - Michelle (Sunset)