Robert Eaglestone
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Klara and the humans
Agency, Hannah Arendt and forgiveness
in Kazuo Ishiguro
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Ishiguro’s most recent novel, Klara and the Sun (2021), seemingly marks a return to the posthuman speculative future of Never Let Me Go, but also offers a quiet meditation on what it means to be human. In ‘Klara and the humans: agency, Hannah Arendt and forgiveness’, Robert Eaglestone suggests that the novel utilises science fiction tropes to interrogate personal agency, the possibility of forgiveness and the complications of technological design. Though Klara, an Artificial Friend, is exceptionally intelligent, the chapter suggests that she can only follow her programming in matters of agency; however, her limitations come to reveal what is truly human in her fellow characters. Drawing on the philosophical works of Plato, Arendt and Heidegger, the chapter argues that Klara and the Sun responds to the foundational questions of Western thought, projecting an uncertain future to highlight the choices of the past. As Eaglestone goes on to demonstrate, the novel contains powerful echoes of – and forges a dialogue with – Ishiguro’s earlier works, revealing the universality of his characters and authorial vision.

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