restricted access Written on the Face: Race and Expression in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

This essay argues that Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go draws an analogy between the lives of the clones and the experience of the racially marginalized, exposing the contradictions of contemporary genomic science in which race is being both effaced and revived as biological concept. As Ishiguro critiques the current postracial era, he presents an alternative postracial vision, which evokes Darwin’s theory of the universality of expression and thus the common descent of different races. Through Kathy’s privileging of facial expressions in her narrative, the novel offers a view of kinship that moves beyond the genetic assumptions that underpin (racial) identity politics, toward a model of reciprocity based on a nonbiological, nonracial affinity.