Page 109. " Miss Emily had broken off from talking about Beethoven "
Beethoven, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler
Public DomainBeethoven, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German classical composer, best known for his symphonies and piano concertos.  He is noted for continuing to compose during his later years, in spite of the fact that he had gone deaf.

Beethoven's 9th Symphony




Page 117. " meandering discussions around the table about Kafka or Picasso "
Picasso, painted by fellow Cubist Juan Gris
Public DomainPicasso, painted by fellow Cubist Juan Gris

Franz Kafka was a German writer from the early half of the twentieth century, noted for surreal works that often dealt with paranoia or persecution.  In the context of Never Let Me Go, his most significant work is the novel The Trial.  The protagonist of this book is Joseph K., whose initialled surname bears comparison with characters like Kathy H. and Tommy D.

Pablo Picasso was the most famous artist of the cubist movement, who painted many familiar works such as ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ and 'Weeping Woman'. 

Picasso at Artchive

Make your own Picasso with Mr. Picassohead


Page 118. " Greg set off on one of his speeches about Proust "

Marcel Proust was a French writer best known for his seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time, which he wrote over the course of thirteen years between 1909 and his death in 1922.  Although often cited as one of the greatest novels ever written, it is a long and laborious read, and it is perhaps unlikely that Greg has read it in its entirety.

In Search of Lost Time on Book Drum

Page 118. " with an audience laughing along at everything anyone said or did "

Canned laughter tracks are frequently used in comedy shows in order to accentuate comic scenes and provoke a reaction from the audience.  Some shows were in fact recorded in front of a live audience, which was the source of the laughter track.  It was first used in 1950 in The Hank McCune show, and is now falling out of fashion as most TV producers prefer not to dictate when the audience should laugh.

Free laugh track to download

Page 120. " that afternoon I was reading Daniel Deronda on the grass "

George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda was first published in 1876, and is yet another example of classic literature that appears in Never Let Me Go.

Daniel Deronda at Project Gutenberg

Page 121. " nodding knowingly when someone mentioned, say, War and Peace "

War and Peace (1869) by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is another classic novel of the nineteenth century; its subject matter is the Napoleonic Invasion of Russia, and aristocratic life at this time.  Like Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, it is well known for its great length and detailed study of contemporary society.

War and Peace at Project Gutenberg