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Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
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Remains of the Day (original 1989; edition 2011)

by Kazuo Ishiguro (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,183350321 (4.19)1 / 1188
Member:paulmorriss
Title:Remains of the Day
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro (Author)
Info:Faber & Faber (2011), Edition: 2nd edition, 272 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

  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. 61
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Slow, languid stories about regret and life choices not understood until they've passed by.
  3. 50
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (foggidawn)
  4. 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.
  5. 20
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    The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (mrstreme)
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    Letters Back to Ancient China by Herbert Rosendorfer (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Nette aus der Welt gefallene Männer erklären die Welt.
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    KayCliff: Two inhibited, unreliable narrators
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    The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (WSB7)
    WSB7: Both have the feeling of restraint/seil-restraint foregrounded.
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    Deceits of Time by Isabel Colegate (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books discover Nazi affiliations in the past in prominent statesmen.
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1980s (140)
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English (322)  German (6)  Spanish (4)  Italian (4)  French (4)  Dutch (3)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (348)
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
Masterpiece. Taut, fastidious, and crushingly sad, Ishiguro manages to both inhabit and examine British-ness through his highly elided narrator. In the impossible way of things, this is a book about emotions while barely mentioning them, how to reveal by concealing, and human-ness (writ large) expressed by exacting historical and cultural detail. A real heart-breaker. Worth it for the banter. ( )
3 vote Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
This is a beautifully crafted novel about regret, about the road not taken. Stevens has been the butler at Darlington Hall for several decades. Its current owner, an American, urges Stevens to use his car for a short holiday and Stevens takes him up on the offer. He drives west where he plans to visit Darlington Hall’s former housekeeper, whom he still thinks of as Miss Kenton. As he travels, he reflects on the past and his relations with his father, with Miss Kenton, and with his previous employer, Lord Darlington. The journey to the west keeps the momentum going forward, while Stevens’s reminiscences of the past fill in character and the complex motivations for the journey and for Stevens’s self-reflection. Greatness is one of the novel’s themes. The novel itself is exemplary of literary greatness. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | May 6, 2019 |
Un maggiordomo e la governante , niente di più inglese , glaciale, perfetto, indisponente. Eppure ogni pagina dopo le prime 40 (ma che sto leggendo...la vita di un maggiordomo?) mi hanno fatto compagnia come se io fossi il Lord e potessi avere un uomo così fedele. Ma l'amore? Fino alla fine ho sperato ma niente solo la speranza che esisteva ma non era fra le competenze! ( )
  Ste1955 | Apr 24, 2019 |
One of the best books I have listened to in awhile. The perfect butler talks of his profession and incidentally describes world shacking events prior to WWII. The movie does a faithful job of following the book, with only minor plot changes. ( )
  addunn3 | Apr 5, 2019 |
Contemplative novel about an English butler travelling on a brief road trip during his new 'master's' absence. Slow-paced and old-fashioned it begins gently and graciously but Stevens' feelings display repressed energy and courage.

The action of The Remains of the Day is Stevens reminiscing about his service to Lord Darlington and his life as butler. Over the many years he served nothing was more important to Stevens than always striving to be the best, most intuitive butler. He sincerely believed he needed to go above and beyond expectations.

As the novel proceeds, I sense Stevens is questioning himself. Why did he feel that way and push himself? Was it because he emulated his father or was it to fulfill his concept of dignity? Why sacrifice so much to serve wealthy Darlington and his arrogant, demanding and needy colleagues and friends. Did he truly believe Darlington 'deserved' it?

Remembering, doubting but still rationalizing, I believe Stevens uses Kenton's letter as an excuse for his trip to meet with her many years after she left Darlington House to marry. He hopes she is available to return to work with him because he recognizes that by setting the bar high, he has lost much: a personal life, and a chance at love.

A deeply moving read.
  Bookish59 | Mar 27, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 322 (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 (65 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NigelReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kriek, BarthoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rybicki, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiehl, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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)

During the summer of 1956, Stevens, the aging butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely motoring holiday that will take him deep into the heart of the English countryside and thence into his past. A series of modern classics released by the publisher themed as 'Secrets and lies'.

» see all 14 descriptions

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