The Remains of Day

The Remains of Day

Large Print - 1990
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Publisher: Anstey, EN : F.A. Thorpe, 1990, c1989.
Edition: Large print edition
Branch Call Number: +F
Characteristics: 283 pages

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a
alicat1
Mar 27, 2017

A great British work from the butler's point of view.

l
LovieBooker
Mar 25, 2017

This is one of those instances in which I'm glad I saw the movie first. I love the story. It's about an era I've always had a great interest in, the time between the two world wars.

The movie was a precursor to Downtown Abbey. It starred Sir Anthony Hopkins, who is, in my opinion, the greatest dramatic actor ever, period. And, he starred with Emma Thompson, who I also love. I could possibly be that my appreciation for Sir Anthony's portrayal kept Stevens from coming across as completely devoid of human feelings. I had little sympathy for him until the final chapters when things suddenly become clear to him.

I honestly think having seen the movie made it easier for me to enjoy the book. In the book, the events are told from recall, with Stevens' complete insouciance of emotion providing commentary. In the movie, while Sir Anthony can deadpan better than most actors, he did manage to convey basic emotions.

d
diannehildebrand
Jan 19, 2017

I saw the movie made from this book quite a few years ago and liked it (Anthony Hopkins). You have to persist past the first chapter or two which are a bit of a snooze. After that, the character of the butler grabs you and you start trying to figure out what makes this guy tick. His relationship with the housekeeper is a big clue to his personality but it's a clue that's only completely revealed in the last pages.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

The Remains of the Day is a quiet, affecting novel that walks in the steps of a mid-twentieth century butler. Little happens in these pages that will excite your average reader. It is Ishiguro's ability to reveal the story so slowly, to create such a believable character, and to craft such a quietly devastating conclusion that makes this story “exciting”.

l
lindendesai
Jul 22, 2015

I was never one for historical fiction before this novel. The clever undertones, oblivious (or intentionally ignorant depending on your point of view) narrator, and feeling of a shared familiar story shared from a new perspective all contribute to making this book a must read. Ishiguro is the king of the slow-reveal while still keeping it fresh.

m
midasthemadman
Mar 14, 2015

Read this book! It's interesting that a young Asian author wrote it. He writes from the perspective of an old school butler (who tells the story). The language is beautifully descriptive and fun to say out loud. The story is sound. Unrequited love theme. Just great! A -----Midas the Madman (PAY ME JACK!)

l
lpreston214
Oct 07, 2014

Mr. Stevens has been a butler in a great house since the 20s. It is now after the war and he embarks on a "motoring tour" to visit a former housekeeper. Throughout the trip he reminisces about his life. He has spent his life, his career, being invisible, emotionless and completely selfless. By the end his emotions are showing as he realizes his life has been basically wasted. The story kind of sucks you in with it's understated style. It's tragic and powerful. Man Booker prize winner in 1989.

r
rationallady
May 02, 2014

This is a short book, but well worth reading. I don't usually read a book after seeing the movie, but I was glad I did this time. Now I'm going to see the movie again. I identified with the butler who gave up his personal happiness to do his duty.

Sailingsam Nov 12, 2013

One of my most favorite novels..so emotionally moving.

a
alpaca85
Oct 16, 2013

The Remains of the Day is perhaps of the most subtly heartbreaking works ever put to the page. It concerns a romance that never came to be and a man who never truly lived, and who finds himself in the remains of his life questioning exactly what he had devoted his entire life to. It concerns a butler named Stevens, who recounts his whole life’s experiences on a road trip to visit a friend. He served the grand Darlington Hall for multiple decades, from the early 1920’s to the novel’s present in the 1950’s. His employer was a person whom he calls a great man, Lord Darlington. Though at present he is employed by an American gentleman by the name of Farraday, Stevens recounts his experiences with great nostalgia towards Lord Darlington and the “good old days”.
Yet Stevens is a man in denial, and Kazuo Ishiguro is a master at revealing Stevens’ quiet, internal struggle. Throughout the carefully mannered prose, we begin to learn of Stevens’ relationship with a housekeeper named Miss Kenton. The story is told from Stevens’ point of view, and he always seems to recount his experiences with upmost grace and composure. Yet, around halfway through the novel, little pieces of truth begin to trickle in from Stevens’ romanticized point of view. We begin to learn that there is perhaps more to his relationship with Miss Kenton and of Lord Darlington’s Nazi sympathies.
And yet Ishiguro manages to keep us guessing until the end, and when the story does end, it does so in a very heart wrenching way. Take Lord Darlington for example. He is portrayed by Stevens as a great gentleman; the best of Britain’s best. Yet, as the story itself progresses the rose coloured filters that Stevens revels in begin to slip away. We start to see Lord Darlington for how he was, and that Stevens’ “great gentleman” was nothing of the sort.
It is as well with great dignity that the relationship between Stevens and Miss Kenton becomes one of painfully obvious remorse and missed opportunity, something that becomes increasingly present in the final chapter. Though it has been a while, I did see the film version of The Remains of the Day, and I must say that both the novel and the film are truly excellent. In the film, from what I recall, the story is told extremely faithfully and with great composure, such that rivals the prose of the novel. Indeed, having read both We Were Orphans and Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro, I am slightly familiar with his style. And while many of his core themes are in place, the actual words are astonishingly different from his traditionally blank prose. He writes the carefully mannered persona of Stevens to a tee. Indeed, his writing is so good that if you had told me that the novel had been written by an actual butler, I may have believed you.
Yet, just as in Never Let Me Go the themes of repression, both socially and personally, are present. Just as Cathy in Never Let Me Go faces her misspent life with dignity, Stevens faces his with dignity and a bit of foolishness. He is so involved in his own insular world, one which he created for himself, that he barely stops and sees exactly what surrounds him. It’s a fascinating character in a fascinating novel.
In the end, The Remains of the Day is an amazing piece of literature, and one that deserves to be read and read again. It ranks among some of the best, and cements Ishiguro’s status as my favourite author.

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a
annanina
Mar 22, 2016

You've got to enjoy yourself. The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it. That's how I look at it. Ask anybody, they'll all tell you. The evening's the best part of the day.

b
BPTADiscusses
Nov 29, 2013

You see, I TRUSTED. I trusted in his lordship's wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can't even say I made my own mistakes. Really--one has to ask oneself--what dignity is there in that?

n
ndp21f
Sep 24, 2010

The great butlers are by great by virtue of their ability to inhabit their professional role and inhabit it to the utmost; they will not be shaken out by external events, however surprising, alarming, or vexing. They wear their professionalism as a decent gentleman will wear his suit; he will not let ruffians or circumstance tear it off him n the pubic gaze; he will discard it, when, and only when, he wills to do so, and this will invariably be when he is entirely alone. It is, as I say, a matter of 'dignity'.

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lindendesai
Jul 22, 2015

lindendesai thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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