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The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
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The Remains of the Day (original 1989; edition 1990)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,236273281 (4.19)1 / 1052
Member:narrowridge
Title:The Remains of the Day
Authors:Kazuo Ishiguro
Info:Vintage (1990), Edition: Mti Rep, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
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. 40
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Slow, languid stories about regret and life choices not understood until they've passed by.
  3. 30
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (foggidawn)
  4. 30
    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. 10
    The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (mrstreme)
  6. 21
    The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (WSB7)
    WSB7: Both have the feeling of restraint/seil-restraint foregrounded.
  7. 10
    The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (CGlanovsky)
  8. 10
    Mr Holmes by Mitch Cullin (Othemts)
  9. 00
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (CGlanovsky)
  10. 11
    Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Two inhibited, unreliable narrators
  11. 01
    Deceits of Time by Isabel Colegate (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books discover Nazi affiliations in the past in prominent statesmen.
  12. 23
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (slickdpdx)
  13. 12
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English (254)  Italian (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  French (2)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 254 (next | show all)
Loved this book, even though it broke my heart. I've never wanted to reach into a book and hug a character more than I did for this book. ( )
  Monkeypats | Jul 12, 2016 |
What new thoughts can I express about a Booker Prize winner?

I don't know whether to admonish or admire Ishiguro for what he has done here. Stevens is a very sympathetic character who breaks my heart. His simplicity and intelligence, if representative of all of England, might be hurtful in a way that lets you know that this is a raw, honest metaphor. There are no unnecessary words, and I don't believe I've read a more masterful novel. Every expression, every idea, even of Harry Smith, contributes to the end result. Somehow the five-stars seem too easy.

For meditation: the themes are repression, betrayal and collusion.

Dignity is merely a vehicle. ( )
1 vote knotbox | Jun 14, 2016 |
Nowhere man, please listen ( )
  nog | Jun 13, 2016 |
I would classify this novel as a cross between a frustrated love story between Stevens and Kenton combined with an anthropological study of the quintessential British butler. I wanted Kenton to get on with it, corner Stevens in some private place in the evening, take his hand, stare into his eyes, and admit to him in the most polite terms that she loves him intensely. Kenton doesn’t realize that Stevens with his stiffupperlippedness is incapable of taking the first emotional step and she must for both their sakes. Other times I felt I was in an anthropological study of the hominid species British butler, similar to that of Goodall/chimpanzees or Fossey/gorillas or Galdikas/orangutans. “Date/time/place: Stevens has been standing at attention quietly waiting for a slight movement of Lord Darlington that would indicate the desire to speak to him.” I don’t see a valid reason for it to be on The 1001 List. Yes, it was a great story and a terrific movie which would likely have taken many Academy Awards if it had not been running against the superlative Schindler’s List. If you haven’t seen the movie, I encourage you to do so for Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson make the characters of Stevens and Kenton come alive to an amazing degree. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
very well written, but so sad; reminds me of the song "Is That All There Is" ( )
  Claudia.Anderson | May 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 254 (next | show all)
Just below the understatement of the novel’s surface is a turbulence as immense as it is slow; for The Remains of the Day is in fact a brilliant subversion of the fictional modes from which it seems at first to descend.
 
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.
Haiku summary

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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