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Klara and the Sun (Hardcover, 2021, Faber & Faber) 4 stars

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches …

Really thought-provoking

5 stars

This is a story about and told by a human-formed "artificial friend" (AF) of a disabled teenager in a future world somewhat reminiscant of Gattaca (film). The genius is that it's told from the very limited perspective of the AF, Klara, so you only really get to understand things as she understands them.

There's a fascinating observation of humans' direction of travel being away from mystery and having a machine-like understanding of themselves, yet Klara is moving into mystery, and has some insightful perspectives.

It also nods to how artificial intellegence learns and furthers human bias (a massive and frightening contemporary issue); it seems that the main characters are white such that Klara has to note when people are "black skinned" even though it's not relevant to the story - a common white-person microaggression that perpetuates racist other-ing and normalising of whiteness.

The world described sounds terrifying (racism, class, power …