I can see why this book got mixed reviews. On the one hand, it is brilliantly written from the point of view of an “artificial friend” and has some thought provoking themes, but on the other hand, it is not really a fun read.
I was engaged enough, however, to be inspired to do a painting on artificial intelligence– see it here– so this novel clearly captured my attention. Also it prompted a great discussion in our book group last Thursday evening too, so if you are looking for a thoughtful story to discuss, maybe this is it.
The book is set in the not far off future in an unknown place, when the haves and have-nots are more separated than ever, and where some questionable choices are being made. Klara, an “artificial friend,” comes out the least morally repugnant of any of the other characters involved.
Also, she has faith where others do not. Was this consciously programmed into her (as more empathetic than the newer model B-3’s), input into her inadvertently since she was build by humans, or was her faith purely a function of observation and reason? What roles do bargaining, petition, and sacrifice have to do with faith?
And why is Josie sick? What can make her well? What will happen if she doesn’t get well? What does the sun have to do with it? How can pollution be overcome? How can we avoid the problems experienced? What are the ethics of artificial intelligence?
With trepidation, I include some reviews below, which include some spoilers, however, I think it is best to go into this book knowing little and patiently watch it unravel, as it does.
The author here, who famously wrote Remains of the Day, and has a Nobel Prize in Literature, has outdone himself creating something unique. You won’t soon forget Klara and the Sun. I give it 4 stars.
I read it earlier in the year and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it! Thank you for your take on it. I couldn’t say I enjoyed it or would recommend it but I found it very thought provoking. Especially as AI is much discussed these days. It behoves us to sometimes step out of our comfort zone and I knew the author had excellent credentials. But as you mentioned there were plenty of unanswered questions!!