by ClaireM: In the near future when societies are further stratified by genetic engineering, parents are compelled to make decisions about medical invention to alter their children. With the delicacy of a skillfully wielded scalpel Ishiguru extracts a tale from myriad tangles of social malignancy. Despite evidence of a brilliant work performance made redundant (her husband) and failure to thrive (her older daughter), the Mother dares (a second time) to intervene on behalf of her younger daughter Josie, a child on the verge of coming of age, to insure her a lifetime of engineered success. Because the procedure results in a life-threatening illness, the Mother purchases an emotional support for Josie. Klara, Artificial Friend (AF), is calibrated for emotional intelligence far beyond what the current society can muster. As Klara recounts her life story embedded into Josie’s family, her actions demonstrate her objective- to apply her observations to better serve Josie. Her exquisite empathy, combined with her poise and single-minded support of Josie, wins the admiration of various members of the household. Her heartfelt devotion to her caregiving task is poignant and disturbing.

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