The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

In the Summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside and into his past.

Nobel Prize Winner, Kazuo Ishiguro’s beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. 

The Remains of the Day is a beautifully written poignant account of one man’s lifetime of duty. A novel about class and changing times in England.

As Stevens travels through the English countryside he pontificates on the role of a great butler, memories of his father, also a butler, and his own experience in running a great house. Increasingly shadows of doubt creep into memories of the master he served. Was he really such a great man.

Deeply personal and moving, this one will stick with you. I felt a great sense of sadness and regret for a life served rather than lived.

Critically acclaimed, The Remains of the Day won the Man Booker in 1989 and Ishiguro was recently awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature 2017. Ishiguro is described as “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.

The film adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson was nominated for 8 academy awards. I haven’t seen it yet but looking forward to Hopkins’ portrayal of Stevens. Feels like that casting will be spot on.

 

“What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.” 

“We may now understand better, too, why my father was so fond of the story of the butler who failed to panic on discovering a tiger under the dining table; it was because he knew instinctively that somewhere in this story lay the kernel of what true ‘dignity’ is.” 

 

CHECK IT

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

PUBLISHED: 1989

GENRE: Literary

PAGES: 258

AWARDS: Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Man Booker 1989 Winner

NEXT UP: I want to read a couple more by Ishiguro, namely Never Let Me Go and The Unconsoled

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