Publisher: Faber & Faber
Length: 272 pages
About: Dignified butler narrates his story
Style: 1st person
A compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country
drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving “a great gentleman.” But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord
Darlington’s “greatness” and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he has served.
“As far as I am concerned, Miss Kenton, my vocation will not be fulfilled until I have done all I can to see his lordship through the great tasks he has set himself. The day his lordship’s
work is complete, the day he is able to rest on his laurels, content in the knowledge that he has done all anyone could ever reasonably ask of him, only on that day, Miss Kenton, will I be able to
call myself, as you put it, a well-contented man.”
Kazuo Ishiguro's third novel, ''The Remains of the Day,'' is a dream of a book: a beguiling comedy of manners that evolves almost magically into a profound and heart-rending study of personality,
class and culture. At the beginning, though, its narrator, an elderly English butler named Stevens, seems the least forthcoming (let alone enchanting) of companions. Cartoonishly punctilious and
reserved, he edges slowly into an account of a brief motoring holiday from Oxfordshire to the West Country that he is taking alone at the insistence of his new employer, a genial American, Mr.
New York Times, Lawrence Graver, 8th October 1989 for full review click here
Not so good:
As David Lodge, chairman of the judges in 1989, said, it's "a cunningly structured and beautifully paced performance". So cunning, in fact, that it sometimes feels as if we're being duped – that
Ishiguro is leading us on an elegant but deliberately dizzying dance rather than a real emotional journey. But the fact that the book is cleverly put together is the strongest objection I can raise
The Guardian blog, Sam Jordison, 26th November 2010 click here for full
About the author
Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan in November 1954 but moved to Britain in 1960. He received an OBE for Services to Literature in 1995, and the French decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre
des Arts et des Lettres in 1998. He lives in London.