Ranee's Reviews > The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
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's review
Jul 26, 2012

really liked it
Read from July 26 to 29, 2012

Evening is the best time of the day. This is the remains of the day.
Much to do with senility. The dwindling afterthought of an old chap whose eyes are lost in the horizon thinking of the what have been's and could have been's and realizing that 80 is never as good as 20 (both in vision and age).

The book opens with a narrative by a butler named Mr. Stevens reliving his life and work in the Darlington Hall. His narration was straightforward, none of the flowery extras that thrives other books. His was a journal of details and elaborating the ideas he firmly believes makes up his dignity. A butler after all could be a source of dignity but only as far as the grounds of his lordship can make him, as long as he pleases him, as long as the job is done, perfectly. His horizon was as far as the walls of the Darlington Hall could be seen. Beyond that, he is just an ordinary man with an extremely good taste for the best silverware and enough musing to clean it. If only if life was only about removing the tarnish in good silver, maybe his life would be shining with it. He is a professional but an outright workaholic hence his idea of dignity is equated to his capacity to do a job well done. He lives for work. He is not Mr. Stevens, kind man, friend, son and a gentleman. He is Mr. Stevens, the butler, great job, great silver.

To put into amount the immensity of his work and carve it down in his spine, even if it hurts, could still stand up, do the job right and say "as long as you are fine" is what makes a professional butler stand above the mere butlers. I guess, this is the same as picturing robots as the perfect futuristic butler, they are programmed to be summoned according to your needs without the emotional attachments. He is not part of the family, he is a appliance, an extension to the vacuum machine. With this, I must say professionalism is present where emotions is absent. The detachment between the heart and mind, the ability to detect what is dirt from what is not, minus the sentimentalities brought by memories.

By making a choice to conquer one's chosen profession and come out as the best has both merits and sacrifices. I for one has to forgo sentimentalities with my family so as to be close with a patient's needs. An overseas worker would also understand this sacrifice and albeit almost half (even more) agrees with me. A lawyer would stand by his client until he is proven guilty even if all arrows points that he is ; and a call center agent knows the value of sleep but dare not hug it until the shift is over. Mr. Stevens has every right to boast his dignity and deserves to crumble to his loneliness. I cannot blame him nor try to accuse him. His regrets are his alone, a choice he has made. It may deem romantic to sweep the woman off her feet and gallop away to the sunset, but then no one would remember that Darlington hall once stood for greatness if no one sees to it that it could.
The grandiosity of the banquet hall with all its food and guests will be forgotten if no one was there to switch on the gallant chandelier to commence the evening . It is the workers dedicated to do sense with their jobs daily that turns the industry.
Evening is the best time of the day because it makes us look at what we have done today and keeps a promise that we can do better tomorrow. It contains all our regrets, hopes and aspirations that our lifetime is not futile afterall.
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Quotes Ranee Liked

Kazuo Ishiguro
“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.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro
“I do not think I responded immediately, for it took me a moment or two to fully digest these words of Miss Kenton. Moreover, as you might appreciate, their implications were such as to provoke a certain degree of sorrow within me. Indeed- why should I not admit it? - at that moment, my heart was breaking.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro
“I can't even say I made my own mistakes. Really - one has to ask oneself - what dignity is there in that?”
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro
“He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that. You see, I trusted. I trusted in his lorship'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?”
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Reading Progress

07/27/2012 "finding more reasons why I do not like ebooks. But Kazuo is keeping me entertained." 1 comment

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