Klara and the Sun

Hardcover, 303 pages

English language

Published Jan. 7, 2021 by Faber & Faber.

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4 stars (8 reviews)

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

3 editions

Missed Opportunities

2 stars

The premise is beautiful, it hints at deep reflections about being human, but it didn't work for me. The dialogues were super weird and unnatural, they really bothered me. I missed more exploration of the technology behind the Artificial Friends (AF) and how they worked. Was Klara all mechanical? Was she an android? I wasn't convinced that AF's would find mystical significance in the Sun. The story hints at several themes but never really goes deep: environmental pollution, empathy, robots taking over human jobs, loneliness, gene editing, social class privilege. The plot is super simple and predictable, and the ending was very bleh. Probably not my thing.

A very readable journey

4 stars

A very readable journey into a possible future. A very interesting narrator, an artificially intelligent humanoid with good observational abilities but limited reasoning, which ultimately allows her to draw some curious and false conclusions.

Minor things about the proposed future slightly irk, for example we seem to have autonomous artificial friends, but driving is still something done by humans. Walking around is likely more difficult to automate than driving around, though companionship does not appear to be as difficult as we might have thought/hoped. That said, the future inhabitants all have something called an 'oblong', which seems to be roughly a futuristic smart phone. Do we then really need the artificial friends to be humanoid in look? Why can the artificial friend not simply be interfaced with through the oblong? Lastly, it seems that the artificial friends can perform chores if asked, why then does the main family still have …

Surprisingly underwhelming

3 stars

  • I listened to this as an audiobook, my first checked out from Libby.
  • I liked the narrator's voice and felt it was generally quite well to meet the range of voices for the characters.
  • The book took too long to build up and the ending was too abstract and fell apart.
  • I also generally didn't like or understand why the characters were selected with the traits they had.
  • Some of the dialogue felt well played, while others felt jarring
  • In the end, my favorite part is Klara's relationship with the sun, which goes for the most part unexplored with other characters. This book has vague environmentalist themes.
  • many of the tropes that show up in this book I feel, have been better expressed in other works I've read.
  • I think this book would be fine for a middle schooler as it goes generally without much complexity with its readability. Though …

An amazing book; can I have more stars to give it?

5 stars

This is one of those very rare books that reminds me of what books are at some level all about. That makes me want to go about and knock about two stars off of 99% of my prior book ratings, to make room to properly differentiate this one.

It's hard to say too much that's concrete, without giving it away. I was closer to tears at the end of this than I can remember with any book for a long time. Not easy maudlin tears, but deep oh-my-god tears about what a universe this is.

The people are very fully people; the viewpoint character is not a person, but ... well, that would be a spoiler also. But the viewpoint it gives her allows Ishiguro to say some amazing and touching and true and thought-provoking things without coming out and saying them (because nothing he could come out and say …

Ishiguro is a modern master

5 stars

I love everything I've ever read by Kazuo Ishiguro. His prose isn't filled with vocab words and doesn't ever even feel anything but mundane, and yet somehow, every single line is poetry. This book did not disappoint. Lovely, loving, heart-rending... and also exploring the very real potential futures of artificial intelligence, machine learning, friendship, and disposability.

Worthwhile but not one of my recent favs

3 stars

Content warning Ending mention


3 stars

Read this mostly as a bedtime read, which it was good for - pretty easy and not too creepy (although slightly unsettling at times). It nodded to a few things that piqued my interest (AI, eco-sabotage, transhumanism?) But didn't really flesh out any of them, they were mostly just a vibe/backdrop for the story of the characters, which was fine. Ive really enjoyed some books that explore human-robot interactions - marge piercey's body of glass comes to mind - but this didn't quite do it for me in terms of making my brain stretch around those questions of how we relate to machines. Which I don't think was the point of the book, I think the point was to build the world up from the perceptions of the narrator (an android) and that part was done quite well.

Overall a totally fine read and well-written but just didn't scratch anything …


  • Fiction
  • Robots
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Dystopian
  • Science Fiction
  • Chronic Illness
  • Disability