Narrated by a solar-powered AI-equipped humanoid, ‘Klara and the sun’ does a nicely unsettling job of making the familiar strange, as we see the world through the eyes of someone experiencing it all for the first time. Plus thoughts on relationships and the human condition etc from a highly observant and curiously empathic non-human, which is all quite touching. Trouble is, Klara is a machine, and machines don’t make great narrators, lacking character, feelings and agency and all the other things that drive plot and add dynamics. So the prose is flat, and the pace is slow.
There’s a subplot about gene editing that I didn’t get, a lot of unanswered questions and threads that go nowhere, and issues that deserved more exploration. What could have been a big novel of ideas felt superficial, and it lacked any emotional resonance for me, other than adding to my general weltschmerz.