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The Remains of the Day

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  79,446 ratings  ·  4,487 reviews
In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper. Ishiguro’s dazzling novel is a sad and humorous love story, a meditatio ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published 2005 by Faber & Faber (first published 1988)
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Life of Pi by Yann MartelThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe Blind Assassin by Margaret AtwoodMidnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Esteban del Mal
Kazuo Ishiguro writes the anti-haiku: instead of consciousness awakening to the immediacy of the immutable natural world, subjective memory is peeled back layer by layer to expose consciousness; instead of the joyous eruption of awareness, tension of the gradual decompression of ignorance; instead of a humility that acknowledges the unknowable on its own terms, rambling that tries to fill the chasm of existential angst that has suddenly opened up like a sinkhole in being. Yet what his writing sh ...more
Siria
This is one of the most beautifully mannered, subtle books I've read in a long, long time. Ishiguro's command of prose is perfect; there was never a point where I felt that this book wasn't written by a consummate English gentleman's gentleman. Remains of the Day is also one of the best examples of first person POV that I've read. Stevens' voice is always clear and distinct, and always used to frame the narrative in such a way that the reader is able to see things and guess things which the prot ...more
Kecia
Oct 23, 2007 Kecia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers who appreciate subtly
It's not what happens in this story that's important, it's what doesn't happen. It's not what is said, but what is not said.

I almost feel like Stevens in a real person and not a fictional character. He may well be the most tragic figure I've had the honor to meet/read. He tried so hard to do what he thought to be the right thing and in the end it all turned out to the wrong thing...I cried for at least a half hour after I finished the final page. It was a bittersweet moment when he admitted to h
...more
Louize
Jul 20, 2012 Louize rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Louize by: The Filipino Group
Shelves: tfg-f2f
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY – AN OPEN LETTER



Dearest James,

I know that introduction is a must, polite even, but on this one I do suggest that we skip that. It is you who matters, and no one else.

Foremost, how was the end of your motoring trip? Was it pleasant on your return? I do hope that none of the inconveniences you encountered on leaving crossed your path on the way home. It was a good thing Mr. Farraday suggested this motoring trip. You’ve been cooked up in that hall for a very long time. Differ
...more
Diane
Why did I wait so many years to read this book? It's beautiful. I loved it so much that I finished it in almost one sitting. I feel a bit like Mr. Stevens, sitting on the pier at the end of the story, wondering how his life could have been different. While Mr. Stevens is thinking of a lost love; I'm thinking of the bad books that could have been avoided if I had picked up Ishiguro instead.

I'll keep the synopsis brief, since most of my GR friends have already read this. The story is told by Mr. S
...more
Samadrita
When I had merely read about 30 or so pages of this book, I must confess I was debating whether or not to continue with it, given the unbearably slow pacing of the plot.
And then when I had finally reached the end, I couldn't help but feel immensely thankful to my own better judgement against giving it up. Since by that time I had been reduced to a pathetic, blubbering mass of emotions and tears, teetering on the verge of a major breakdown and marvelling at the writer's remarkable achievement at
...more
Kelly
Nov 17, 2007 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love character studies and don't mind a slow pace
This is a work of high skill. Done in the first person, it conveys exactly the tone, workings, and errors of the mind that it lives in. Though it's clear that the narrator is unreliable- and he calls himself out on that a few times by what the reader may be thinking of his train of thought- he uses that unreliable format to his advantage. It is used to make Mr. Stevens more sympathetic and relatable to the reader, who otherwise might have some difficulty finding much in common with a postwar but ...more
Shayantani Das
I did not expect that anything written by Kazuo Ishiguro could ever surprise me again; especially after the profoundNever Let Me Go . Yet, this book caught me off guard and has by far been the best book I have read this year. It is indeed a great feat when an author can make an 18 year old relate to an extremely serious British butler reminiscing about his life.

Steven, the aforementioned butler is such a mercilessly precise man, in his pursuit of “dignity”, he denies his innermost feeling and t
...more
Paul
Mar 19, 2012 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
As far as I could see this was like a maid and a butler in one of those British mansions that lords live in and they didn't shag each other. End of. This for more than 200 pages. It's like I could organise more interesting snail races. Even if the snails fell asleep it would be more eventful than this book. I would say that this book is supposed to be good and they made a film but this is a very good example of why literature is being replaced by computer games. You will not see a computer game ...more
Kinga
Has there ever been a more perversely English book?

From the paragraphs meandering around and telling the reader what in the narrator’s humble opinion makes a great butler to the descriptions of the unobtrusive beauty of the English countryside it somehow manages to be the saddest love story ever told. Also as my friend Lewis says: “it’s the best example of dramatic irony in contemporary literature.”

The narrator, Mr Stevens, is the ultimate tragic hero. He is so repressed that he doesn’t even kno
...more
Kim

This is one of those books that I've always meant to read. Or at least, I meant to read it for some time before and some time after I saw the film adaptation in the early 1990s, then I forgot about it.

What’s interesting about reading the book for the first time now, almost twenty years after seeing the film, is how strong the influence of the film is in my head. Not particularly the plot – it was only just now, reading the summary of the plot of the film in Wikipedia, that I realised how it div
...more
Madeline
I was in a bookshop a few weeks ago, looking to add to my collection, when this book caught my eye. At first I was wary, having fucking hated Never Let Me Go, but then I read the plot description. The Remains of the Day is narrated by Stevens, an English butler taking a road trip across England while reflecting on his long career serving Lord Darlington of Darlington Hall through two world wars.

That was all I needed. As has been previously discussed, I love Downton Abbey, so as soon as I read t
...more
Helen
If I could give this book ten stars, I would. I saw the movie years ago, so I already knew the bones of the plot. What the movie couldn't reproduce, however, was the device of the unreliable narrator.

And what a device it is. You don’t realize, as you’re reading a book, just how much you depend on your narrator. As your guide through the story, you automatically assume that he is telling you the truth.

It is 1956, and Stevens, butler extraordinaire at Darlington Hall, finds he needs to add someo
...more
Will Byrnes
This is 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 in Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a vacation, driving in the country, hoping to reconnect with a woman with whom he had once worked, and with whom he felt some stifled form of intimacy.

description
Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins in the film - from The Guardian

Over these few days, he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has serv
...more
Agnieszka
In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.

Does that ring any bells with you? There are such moments in our life when with rare lucidity we realize that our life is getting out of control ,that we get sidetracked into minor issues,when we think “if I had a second chance …”.But one can’t turn the clock and what’s done is done.

Ishiguro with elegance depicts subtle portrait of Stevens , a butler at English mansion Darlington Hall , w
...more
Brad
This book is a scab that's still attached in the middle but all flaky on the periphery, where the new pink skin is smooth underneath, tempting us to pick it until the entire scab pops free and a little spot of new blood wells up in the center.

This book is the silence that fools engage in to protect themselves from actual engagement with the egos and personalities and beings surrounding them.

This book is the pause that goes on so long that action cannot be taken, when one stands there searching
...more
Trevor
This is a book, at least in part, about the reliability of memory – and so, in keeping with that theme, I’m going to start by talking about what I remember of the film.

God knows when I saw this film – I assume I would have been still married and I think I might have even gone to see it with the estranged wife when it first came out, but it is hard to say now. I see the film was made in 1993 – so, if I saw it at the cinema when it first came out that would have been 15 years ago.

There are only t
...more
Lorraine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tatiana
Well, this novel definitely adds a whole new meaning to the definition of what a servant's loyalty is. The main character here, the old-school butler Stevens, is dedicated to his master and to his position to the extent which is quite shocking. Literally everything in Stevens' life - his family, the possibility of love, even his identity - is repressed and is secondary to being a good employee, a devoted employee who worships his master and follows him blindly down any path, regardless of how mi ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Before I started reading this book, I thought that it would be boring as the writer is British and it was about a butler in an England county sometime in between 1940-1956. However, I need to have a break from reading THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Edward Gibbons. The names of the many emperors in their different eras are starting to confused me.

I was wrong. I started reading this book on a Friday morning while waiting for my daughter to join me in the car and I finished the whole 200+
...more
Monique

I hereby officially declare that I am a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro.

"The Remains of the Day" is disputably Ishiguro's most popular work, having been awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989.

Stevens is an “old-fashioned English Butler” who used to work for Lord Darlington, managing his household, Darlington Hall. During his lifetime, Lord Darlington was a prominent figure, having hobnobbed with rich and famous personalities in and outside Britain; he was even known to have connections and/or
...more
Kressel Housman
When I was in college learning about Sartre's existentialism, the example to illustrate the plight of modern man was a waiter. He dresses in uniform and performs his duties for the people he is serving without relating to them in any personal sort of way. He's playing a role, treating himself like an object and not as a human being with independent thoughts and feelings. This book is that example in novelized form, except that the main character is an old-style English butler, not a waiter. And ...more
AC
A very interesting, and quite disturbing book. Brilliantly written and with great psychological and analytical insight. I had some difficulty early on because it is always hard for me to read a book when I have seen the film. But it is a testament to that film that I could not read this book without hearing in every clause the voice and intelligence of Anthony Hopkins. At any rate, the book as is usual goes far beyond the film and is highly, highly recommended.
AennA
Book Notes: My thoughts, inspired by the book.

There's something about wasted time for life opportunities,and missed chance in love that I find endearing. I hate the feeling of regrets and heart breaks caused by unexpressed sentiments, but books written in that theme interests me. And The Remains of the Day filled my thirst for such storyline.

This is just the second time I read an Ishiguro; the first one was Never Let Me Go. And despite the incomparable affection I felt for Never Let Me Go, I did
...more
Michela
Quel che resta del giorno
Kazuo Ishiguro.


Apro il libro, leggo le prime pagine e lo richiudo per rileggere bene il nome dell’autore, Ishiguro? Giapponese? Nah non può essere.
Quello che ho tra le mani è un elegantissimo capolavoro inglese, non c’è dubbio. Leggo la biografia di Ishiguro e capisco, è nato a Nagasaki nel 1954 ma si è trasferito a soli 6 anni in Inghilterra, ecco perché c’era il tocco indistinguibile di un inglese.
Posso riprendere il mio libro, e continuare.

Che classe, gente, che clas
...more
Apatt
Kazuo Ishiguro, there seems to be a dichotomy between the author's name and the subject matter of the novel. I did not know anything about Mr. Ishiguro before reading this book (I am not as well read as I pretend to be) but I have heard of the 1993 award winning film adaptation of The Remains of the Day starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. It seems like a quintessentially British story and when I looked up some info about the source material I was intrigued by the author’s name. Anyway Wi ...more
Szplug
The Remains of the Day constitutes just that, the assessment of one man's life—an old school English butler, named Stevens, who has passed the major part of his existence within the cloistered confines of Darlington Hall in Oxfordshire—undertaken during a six day motoring trip to England's West Country, a break from decades of ritual and routine that has now entered into the twilight hours. Stevens is a man obsessed with the attainment and maintenance of dignity as the ne plus ultra of the quali ...more
Jane
Where I got the book: my local library.

Like Never Let Me Go, this novel left me with a feeling of extreme discomfort and the impression that it would stick in my head for a long, long time. Ishiguro does chilling very well, because he doesn't just make the ordinary chilling; he imagines an ordinariness that is so self-effacing that we plunge deep below the surface only to find--more surface.

In The Remains of the Day he shows us Mr. Stevens, a man who so perfectly inhabits the role of butler to a
...more
Tina
Original post at One More Page

It's a rare occurrence nowadays when I actually review a book I just finished reading. Usually it takes me a few days weeks to write one, but since this is up for discussion for our book club this weekend, I thought I'd try something new and actually write a review soon after I finished the book.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro is the story about a butler. Stevens has been a butler for Darlington Hall for almost all his life, working for the "great" Lord Dar
...more
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Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄) is a British novelist of Japanese origin. His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master's from the University of East Anglia's creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.
His first novel, A Pale View of Hills won the 1982 Winifred Holtby
...more
More about Kazuo Ishiguro...
Never Let Me Go When We Were Orphans An Artist of the Floating World A Pale View of Hills Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall

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“What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one's life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.” 183 likes
“Indeed — why should I not admit it? — in that moment, my heart was breaking.” 143 likes
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