The Storyteller’s Nostos: Recreating Scheherazade and Odysseus in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

  • Manuel Botero Camacho Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Miguel Rodríguez Pérez Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


This article studies the account of Kathy H., protagonist of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005), as the confluence of narratives through which an individual and her community construct their identity based on the remembrance of the events that have marked their lives, as well as on the literary texts and cultural conventions that have served as the archetypes upon which the narratives of their lives are built. Two paradigmatic figures stand out in Kathy’s story: Odysseus, the lost seafarer endeavouring to return home, and Scheherazade, the artful storyteller of the Arabian Nights. From this perspective, Kathy’s recollection constitutes her attempt to return to the mythic place that Hailsham has come to represent for clones that, unable to be carried out on physical terms, induces her to find alternative means to recover it through memory and storytelling. As a result, she constitutes a replication of Scheherazade, adapting this figure to her dystopian and postcolonial context in a narration that explores the interplay between memory, fiction and identity.Keywords: Kazuo Ishiguro; Scheherazade; Ulysses; storytelling; un-belonging; memory

Author Biographies

Manuel Botero Camacho, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Manuel Botero Camacho is Assistant Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He has a PhD in Comparative Literature and Theory of Literary Discourse (2005) and a PhD in English Philology (2016). He is Coordinator of the project Complementary Views on British Fiction, member of the research group Studies on Intermediality and Intercultural Studies Mediation SIIM, collaborator in the research group Acis & Galatea and coordinator of the non-English literatures seminar.
Miguel Rodríguez Pérez, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Miguel Rodríguez Pérez is an MA student of Literary and Cultural Studies in Great Britain and Anglophone Countries: Literature, Culture, Communication and Translation at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He graduated in English Studies at the Universidad Complutense de Madridand is a member of the project “Complementary Views on British Fiction.” His last publication, co-written with Manuel Botero Camacho, “Searching for the Gift in T.S. Eliot’s Ash-Wednesday” was published in the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (2016).


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