Book Reviews

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

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List Price: £8.99

 

Paperback: 272 Pages.

Published: 01 April 2010 by Faber & Faber

Edition: Main

ISBN: 0571258247

EAN: 9780571258246

'After all what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?'

In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the English countryside and into his past...

A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House, of lost causes and lost love.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

Heartbreaking in places

This is a haunting and sad tale of a butler in a country house who has given his life to domestic service and who slowly becomes aware of what he has given up and of the reprehensible human being the owner of the house actually is. It is set in the 1950s when Mr Stevens, the butler, makes a road trip in a borrowed car to see the ex-housekeeper Miss Kenton who he feels may wish to return to service. In between describing what happens on the trip the book tells us about the heyday of the house in the 1930s when the owner flirts with anti-Semitism and fascism. It is a kind of a love story but it touches on politics and class as well as some difficult lessons about what is important in life.

I found the book easy to read but heart-breaking in places. I thought that the author was especially good at conveying repression and lost opportunities. Stevens is a brilliant character; a man who has invented his own rules for life and who has lived almost completely without affection. His pride in carrying on with his work while his father is dying, his attempts to learn to banter, and the occasions when he spurns the advances of the housekeeper because he can't find a way to respond had me in tears.

This is a study in class on the surface but it is really about lost opportunities and how people can sacrifice their lives to an ideal which has no substance. It is a close examination of a lost life. I thought it was elegantly written and beautifully paced. Highly recommended

 
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