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The Remains of the Day (1989)

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,931462316 (4.2)2 / 1361
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

From Kazuo Ishiguro, a tragic, spiritual portrait of the perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England.

  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. 60
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (foggidawn)
  3. 61
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Slow, languid stories about regret and life choices not understood until they've passed by.
  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
    A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin (Othemts)
  6. 31
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (CGlanovsky)
  7. 10
    The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (mrstreme)
  8. 11
    Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Two inhibited, unreliable narrators
  9. 11
    The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (WSB7)
    WSB7: Both have the feeling of restraint/seil-restraint foregrounded.
  10. 11
    The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (CGlanovsky)
  11. 00
    Letters Back to Ancient China by Herbert Rosendorfer (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Nette aus der Welt gefallene Männer erklären die Welt.
  12. 11
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (sturlington)
  13. 01
    Deceits of Time by Isabel Colegate (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books discover Nazi affiliations in the past in prominent statesmen.
  14. 13
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (slickdpdx)
  15. 02
    When She Was Good by Philip Roth (cometahalley)
1980s (103)
AP Lit (78)

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» See also 1361 mentions

English (420)  Spanish (10)  German (7)  Italian (6)  French (5)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (460)
Showing 1-5 of 420 (next | show all)
Brilliant unresolved love, history of fascism & memory of a butler! ( )
  ChrisGreenDog | Dec 2, 2023 |
4.75/5 As my first read by Ishiguro, I was stunned by his subtle and elegant prose. It captured perfectly the restraint of our 1st-person narrator, Stevens, who is not only on a physical journey in the English countryside, but an internal one as well. Now in his advanced years, Steven is searching for the overall meaning to his life and if his sacrifices have all been worth it in the end. This journey of both the mind and soul is worth the read. ( )
  crabbyabbe | Nov 30, 2023 |
Deeply bleak and powerful mediation on the nature of Englishness and how English people see themselves and their past - a beautifully constructed nostalgia piece that's also deeply angry about a country in love with its past for all the wrong reasons. Of course there's much more to it than that. It's a story with a sledgehammer subtle point but written in subtle and complex ways while still being consistently clear and easy to read.

The moment when he ignores his dad dying upstairs to take care of guests and then as soon as he's described his dad being dead he says "that was the night I attained Dignity" is again incredibly unsubtle but still a gut punch moment. The slow unravelling of his facade of total certainty over the whole book is so beautifully done and feels very real. It's easy to see our own convictions and justifications for the way we live in it. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
Trying to practice my writing by completing reviews so here goes. This is my 3rd book by Kazuo Ishiguro and while not my favorite still stands as a worthy read. This book held my interest through out as it was told as part of a trip/journey diary without being called out as such in the story, you pick this up as you read along based on the timing and cadence of the story. Also as an avid traveler myself I enjoyed the descriptions of the English countryside in summer and how while having an overall journey plan taking detours from time to time to see gems as recommended by the locals. While the main character Stevens, is an obviously an terrible flawed individual, who amongst is not in some fashion or another! The main theme of the book is about what it means to ones life when one does not question authority or critically question the direction in which ones life is going, and make adjustments to better ones life accordingly, sooner rather later in life. The topic of banter as a means to making friends and developing relationship is also covered at length. I enjoyed learning about what goes on behind the scenes in a wealthy aristocrats household which is not often a topic covered in mainstream media. Overall a fascinating read that you can savor as it progresses and very much becomes un-put-downable towards the end. ( )
  thanesh | Oct 15, 2023 |
A beautifully short character study of a hopelessly flawed man. ( )
  emmby | Oct 4, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 420 (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 (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ishiguro, Kazuoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daryab̄andi, NajafTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NigelReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kriek, BarthoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miteva, PravdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rushdie, SalmanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rybicki, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saracino, Maria AntoniettaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiehl, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, DominicNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed



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In memory of Mrs Lenore Marshall.
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It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days.
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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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

From Kazuo Ishiguro, a tragic, spiritual portrait of the perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England.


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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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