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The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
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The Remains of the Day (1989)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,636295269 (4.19)1 / 1090
  1. 60
    An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (bibliobibuli, browner56)
    browner56: The consequences of misguided devotion treated from both the British and Japanese perspectives.
  2. 40
    What the Butler Saw: Two Hundred and Fifty Years of the Servant Problem by E. S. Turner (thorold)
    thorold: It's fascinating to put these two classic studies of the relationship between the English upper classes and their domestic servants side-by-side: one a delicate psychological novel, the other a gossipy work of social history.
  3. 30
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (foggidawn)
  4. 41
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Slow, languid stories about regret and life choices not understood until they've passed by.
  5. 10
    The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (CGlanovsky)
  6. 21
    The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (WSB7)
    WSB7: Both have the feeling of restraint/seil-restraint foregrounded.
  7. 10
    Mr Holmes by Mitch Cullin (Othemts)
  8. 10
    The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (mrstreme)
  9. 00
    Letters Back to Ancient China by Herbert Rosendorfer (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Nette aus der Welt gefallene Männer erklären die Welt.
  10. 00
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (CGlanovsky)
  11. 11
    Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Two inhibited, unreliable narrators
  12. 01
    Deceits of Time by Isabel Colegate (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books discover Nazi affiliations in the past in prominent statesmen.
  13. 23
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (slickdpdx)
  14. 12
    When She Was Good by Philip Roth (cometahalley)
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English (277)  Italian (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  French (2)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  All (294)
Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
Beautiful narrative about a butler in England when the butler profession is startting to die out. ( )
  kakadoo202 | May 6, 2017 |
The reflections of a man nearing the end of his career as a gentleman's gentleman. As reflections do, these wander forward and backward in his life, thinking over events which occurred for the most part before WWII, and pondering what lies ahead for a butler when that style of life is becoming extinct.

This will be a book I will reread, if only to admire the writing and technique of the author. Layer upon layer, like a delicious tort, we are shown the thoughts of Stevens. We read what he says, what thinks he is saying, what others hear him say, and what probably actually happened. He is such a tightly composed man that we wonder if he will ever allow himself to gain insight into events and people. He reminds me very much of "Doc Martin" from the TV show.

This is not at all a navel-gazing novel, and yet, it is about finding meaning, exploring loss and looking to the future. With all that, it made me laugh out loud as I was listening on my walk to work. It also made me shudder every time Stevens worked himself up to "banter." He is so very bad at banter! The Remains of the Day is one of those books which every reader will find their own truth in, without feeling pushed in any one direction.

I cannot say enough in praise to the narrator, Simon Prebble. As always, his voice and characters were most excellent. ( )
  MrsLee | Mar 22, 2017 |
A bygone era butler takes a journey both literally and figuratively. As he does, he ponders the man he spent 3 decades serving. Quite deep and thought provoking. The book took me a long time to get into and I think it was written in a way that an English butler might speak and think. ( )
  sunnydrk | Mar 20, 2017 |
I'd not read this book before now, and haven't seen the movie. So, my first inkling of what the book was about came from a short blurb: "In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country.” True, but that's not really what the book is about. This is a character study of Stevens; it's a story about dignity, life choices and self-awareness, or lack thereof. Stevens is a strong character, although not a reliable narrator. His lack of self-awareness makes the story subtly sad as the reader comes to appreciate truths that elude Stevens himself. Through Stevens' memories, we confront issues of class distinctions, loyalty and professionalism.

The writing is absolutely superb. The author can make scenes come alive with the way he uses languages, and the way in which he portrays the body language, words and silences of his characters.

The Remains of the Day contains a story about the politics of appeasement, about how the class system is changing, but it is, primarily, the story of individual lives, of opportunities lost and of small victories. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 14, 2017 |
A really first rate read: Insightful, evocative and compassionate. Booker got the Prize right in 1989 which cannot be said of many of its choices before & since this modern masterpiece of English prose. ( )
  tommi180744 | Feb 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
We can work out the date of Stevens's expedition ... Ominous dates. ... the Suez crisis dominated British current affairs. ... Stevens is not returning to a golden evening ... there are no remains -- except in the sense of `corpse'.
added by KayCliff | editWhere was Rebecca shot?, John Sutherland (Mar 5, 1998)
 
The Remains of the Day is too much a roman à thèse, and a judgmental one besides. Compared to his astounding narrative sophistication, Ishiguro's message seems quite banal: Be less Japanese, less bent on dignity, less false to yourself and others, less restrained and controlled. The irony is that it is precisely Ishiguro's beautiful restraint and control that one admires, and, in the case of the last novel [The Remains of the Day], his nerve in setting up such a high-wire act for himself.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Gabriele Annan (pay site) (Dec 7, 1989)
 
Kazuo Ishiguro's tonal control of Stevens' repressive yet continually reverberating first-person voice is dazzling. So is his ability to present the butler from every point on the compass: with affectionate humor, tart irony, criticism, compassion and full understanding. It is remarkable, too, that as we read along in this strikingly original novel, we continue to think not only about the old butler, but about his country, its politics and its culture.
 

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kriek, BarthoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rybicki, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiehl, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
In memory of Mrs Lenore Marshall.
First words
It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days.
Quotations
The English landscape at its finest—such as I saw this morning—possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess. It is, I believe, a quality that will mark out the English landscape to any objective observer as the most deeply satisfying in the world, and this quality is probably best summed up by the term 'greatness.' And yet what precisely is this greatness? I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A butler looks back over his career at a fine English country house while on a trip to visit a former colleague.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679731725, Paperback)

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:36 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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