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The Remains of the Day

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The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world 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 served.

245 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 1989

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About the author

Kazuo Ishiguro

65 books30.9k followers
Sir Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄), OBE, FRSA, FRSL is a British novelist of Japanese origin and Nobel Laureate in Literature (2017). His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor's degree from the 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 Memorial Prize. His second novel, An Artist of the Floating World, won the 1986 Whitbread Prize. Ishiguro received the 1989 Man Booker prize for his third novel The Remains of the Day. His fourth novel, The Unconsoled, won the 1995 Cheltenham Prize. His latest novel is The Buried Giant, a New York Times bestseller. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2017.

His novels An Artist of the Floating World (1986), When We Were Orphans (2000), and Never Let Me Go (2005) were all shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2008, The Times ranked Ishiguro 32nd on their list of "The 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945". In 2017, the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature, describing him in its citation as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 20,481 reviews
Profile Image for Adina.
781 reviews2,959 followers
February 23, 2022
Every day, for the past week I've encouraged myself to start writing this review. It felt impossible to find my words to discuss such a literary masterpiece. Who gives me the right to even try?
After staring blankly at the screen for some time, I finally remembered a beautiful passage that can perfectly describe what I felt about this novel. So, I will let the author describe his work. Although the quote depicts the magnificent English countryside It can be applied to the novel as well.

“What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.”

I believe that a restrained beauty is what characterizes The Remains of the Day and the voice of its main character, Stevens. As it was also the case in Never let me Go, the message is hidden in the beautiful pages, only suggested, it comes to the reader in the form of a knot in the stomach or throat and the feelings linger for many days while one ponders on the meaning of his/her life.

“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? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and I, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services. What is the point in 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 is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.”

Williams Stevens is a one of the few remaining “great”, devoted butlers, employed most of his life at Darlington Hall in the service of Lord Darlington. After the war and the death of its owner the manor changes its ownership but the reduced staff remains with the new employer, an American known as Mr. Farraday. When the new owner returns to the States for a few weeks he proposes to Stevens to borrow his car and enjoy a drive in the countryside. Although reluctant at first, the butler decides to take on the offer after he receives a letter from a former housekeeper of the Hall, Miss Kenton to who it seems that he holds some affection. He decides to visit her in order to suggest to return to work at the Hall. The trip becomes the perfect occasion for revisiting the most important moments of Stevens past and to meditate on how his loyalty to his master and his decisions/or lack of, made him lose certain opportunities to have a fulfilled emotional life.

“But what is the sense in forever speculating what might have happened had such and such a moment turned out differently? One could presumably drive oneself to distraction in this way. In any case, while it is all very well to talk of 'turning points', one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect. Naturally, when one looks back to such instances today, they may indeed take the appearance of being crucial, precious moments in one's life; but of course, at the time, this was not the impression one had. Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one's relationship with Miss Kenton; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding. There was surely nothing to indicate at the time that such evidently small incidents would render whole dreams forever irredeemable.”

The language used by the author is beautiful, exquisite. It is the voice of the butler who writes in the restrained, formal manner suitable for his job. The effect is mesmerizing, sometimes comical and other times heartbreaking in Steven’s incapacity to shed his role even for a second and live for himself.

“I can't even say I made my own mistakes. Really - one has to ask oneself - what dignity is there in that?”

Beautiful, emotional book that I warmly recommend to everyone.
Profile Image for Siria.
1,715 reviews1,232 followers
June 19, 2009
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 protagonist cannot. For all that Stevens himself agonises over 'banter' and 'wit' and how to be amusing, this book is very funny itself in some places; it's a fine example of a comedy of manners. The subtlety of it all, and Stevens often painful obliviousness to social cues really lends itself well to that. Highly, highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
714 reviews11.4k followers
November 21, 2020
“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.”
I suppose what one really needs at the end of it all, in the twilight of life, is to know that it was worth something, that there was some meaning, some purpose to it. Because if it was all in vain, why even try?

With The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro created a masterpiece, mesmerizing, evocative, subtle, elegant and perfectly crafted, with precise mastery of language, setting and characters. At its heart, it's a story of searching for something irrevocably lost in life, a story of memory and its elusive unreliability. It's beautiful and haunting, with initial rose-tinged glow of nostalgia slowly and subtly morphing into quiet gentle regret, managing to coexist with dry humor and bits of satire. It's a book of uncommon quality, one that's impossible to forget, one that deserves every ounce of praise that's it's been showered with.

What is dignity? What is greatness? How do you define your purpose? These are questions Stevens - a quintessential English butler at the twilight of his life not surprisingly coinciding with the twilight of the British Empire - ponders during his drive through the countryside in the search of an old friend, a former housekeeper who, Stevens thinks, would make a great addition to the dwindled staff of a once-great manor now owned by a rich American after the death of its former aristocratic owner, the Lord in whose employ Stevens had faithfully spent several decades. To Stevens, the answers are initially clear - the purpose and satisfaction, the all-elusive dignity itself lies in the unquestionable loyalty and devotion to the great ones of this world, by association with whom you matter, too. But as the miles roll by, the pull of Darlington Hall seems to lessen and bit by bit, flashback by flashback in a surprisingly formal stream of consciousness the glimpses of the truth begin to appear, and how unsettling they are! Bit by bit, mostly not through what he tells us but instead precisely through what he does not tell we come to see that poor Stevens is perhaps the most unreliable narrator there ever was.

Starting from a formal, stiff but still confident narration at the beginning of Stevens' journey, we end up eventually on a bench on a pier, glimpsing into his very private pain and heartbreak as he contemplates the remains of his life at the titular remains of the day. Bit by bit, through at times reluctant, limited and yet unfailingly honest narration we get to experience the story of a man who put loyalty and faithful service above all, pursuing the coveted dignity, clinging to the well-defined class roles and rigid expectations, denying his own self in attempts to live up to the duty, the quintessential Englishness that already in his time is becoming obsolete.
“However, if a butler is to be of any worth to anything or anybody in life, there must surely come a time when he ceases his searching; a time when he must say to himself: 'This employer embodies all that I find noble and admirable. I will hereafter devote myself to serving him.”
Stevens, the most unreliable narrator, manages to show us so much more precisely through the things that he fails to tell the reader. It's what's left unsaid that paints the real picture - the disappointments, the loss, the lonely empty existence intentionally devoid of love and warmth.
“It is hardly my fault if his lordship's life and work have turned out today to look, at best, a sad waste - and it is quite illogical that I should feel any regret or shame on my own account.”
Stevens in his earnest devotion remains loyal to the memory of Lord Darlington, never fully admitting that the man he had spent his life serving and admiring was in fact not so great. And how can he? After all, he has based his entire self-worth, his entire sense of being on devotedly serving a supposedly great and noble man, feeling that in some little way he, Stevens, had something to do with shaping the fate of the world. Openly admitting that Lord Darlington's made huge mistakes would shatter Stevens' entire self, making everything useless - missing his father's death, going along with bigotry and prejudice, and giving up a chance at love, warmth and human companionship.

And yet, at the end, just for a moment or so the impeccable facade of quintessential English butler cracks and a pained confused man faces the realizations that are too unsettling to avoid:
“The fact is, of course," I said after a while, "I gave my best to Lord Darlington. I gave him the very best I had to give, and now - well - I find I do not have a great deal more left to give.”
---------
“Lord Darlington wasn't a bad man. He wasn't a bad man at all. And at least he had the privilege of being able to say at the end of his life that he made his own mistakes. His lordship was a courageous man. 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 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?”
The Remains of the Day is a book of loss and love and regret, of things that define us and shape us, about trust and loyalty misplaced and hopes and dreams crushed, of selective memory and carefully constructed in self-defense universes that let us try to be what we aspire to be, and the cold brush with reality that inevitably comes. To borrow Stevens' pained unexpected revelation, “Indeed — why should I not admit it? — in that moment, my heart was breaking.”
“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?”
Wonderful. 5 stars.
Profile Image for Kecia.
911 reviews
October 23, 2007
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 his heart breaking...I hurt so badly for him but for the first time he acknowledge his emotions and so I was happy for me.

This story reminds me of why it is important to LIVE your life.

I do hope Stevens uses the remains of his day to learn to banter and create friendships for himself. I think perhaps he will.
Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,339 followers
July 4, 2021
"When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is slavery."
-Maxim Gorky.


I bought this novel in tandem with Never Let Me Go, a book so tedious that I abandoned it, preferring instead to watch paint dry.
Nevertheless, I was prepared to give Ishiguro the benefit of the doubt, wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

The story is told from the POV of Mr Stevens, English butler to Mr Farraday, his nouveau riche American master: I invite you to imagine Stevens to be an amalgam of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Star Trek's Mr Spock.

This might just be one of those very rare occasions where seeing the movie first actually enhances the reading experience. Having already viewed it on the big screen, I could easily imagine Sir Anthony Hopkins's narration, almost as if this were an audiobook.
To his credit, Ishiguro perfectly captures the stiff-upper-lipped dialogue expected of an English country house butler. Here, the author takes Wodehouse's cartoonish idea and gives it a harsh reality check.
Stevens' adorned, almost pompous elocution is on point, but I half expected the Anthony Hopkins in my head to begin shouting, "Mr Christian! Damn your hide, sir! I shall eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti!"

Stevens obsequiously knows his place and has such a blinkered sense of duty that the reader is left with an uncontrollable urge to step into the story and shake him about by his starched collar.
For me, the most interesting side to his character is that he doesn't bear any snobbishness towards his new money employer, and treats him just the same as he would a lord or a prince.
Amusingly, he is maladaptively unaccustomed to banter or tomfoolery, unlike his jovial boss.
However, in this respect he is very much like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and so (guilelessly) has a bash at banter, whereupon awkward silences and a scurry of tumbleweed ensues.

Stevens is deserving of our pity; love is resolutely not on his radar and a visit by interested housekeeper, Miss Kenton, to his pantry with a vase of cheery flowers, causes his dangly bits to retract into his sexless body.
However, dear smutseekers, I later thought I'd spotted a saucy Ishiguro euphemism (and I quote):

"Mr Stevens happened to encounter Miss Kenton in the back corridor."

"Utter filth!" I cried, and begin to thrash myself with birch twigs, before realising that this wasn't a double entendre and that I'd allowed my imagination to run away with me, yet again *sigh*

Unfortunately, Mr Stevens is the architect of his own downfall, his dogmatic restraint inevitably causing him to miss out on life, and love.

Although I doubt I shall ever be a true Ishiguro fan, he has redeemed himself with this body of work, and there is a telling poignancy to the reflective ending, which prompted me to bump my score up to a respectful five stars.

Here is my butler-esque star ratings guide:

5***** "I say, sir! Most becoming!"
4**** "Most generous, sir. I shall pass on your kind comments to the staff."
3*** "May I suggest an alternative, sir?"
2** "Oh dear! Will that be all, sir?"
1* "I have no doubt that your father will be turning in his grave, sir."
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,100 reviews44.1k followers
April 16, 2020
So Ishiguro has won the noble prize for literature 2017. This quote from the yeasterday's guardian article says it all to me:

The British author Kazuo Ishiguro said he was both honoured and “taken completely by surprise” after he was named this year’s winner of the 2017 Nobel prize in literature, even initially wondering if the announcement was a case of “fake news”.

[...]

“Part of me feels like an imposter and part of me feels bad that I’ve got this before other living writers,” said Ishiguro. “Haruki Murakami, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Cormac McCarthy, all of them immediately came into my head and I just thought wow, this is a bit of a cheek for me to have been given this before them.

Ishiguro is good, and this book is very good. It totally deserved the man booker prize, but did Ishiguro really deserve the noble prize for literature? Food for thought.


************************************

This was phenomenal. Ishiguro has such a developed way of exploring consciousness, the power of repression, self-serving denial and the destructive consequences of regret.

The narrator of this is a stiffly rigid and rather dry old butler. He has given everything over to his profession; he has left little room for his own personality to develop. The character(s) he emulates are a mere representation of his employer’s needs; he behaves in a way that he thinks they wish him to: he creates a persona to suit each one. So, there is very little left of the individual left on the surface. He is simply is professional butler modelled round his current employers own characteristics. What he so desperately needed was an awakening: he so desperately needed to come out of himself and remember exactly who he is under the false layers of pomp and sophisticated etiquette. But, that would be impossible in its entirety.

It takes Stevenson a long time even remember who he is. He goes on a journey of remembrances, and through this he eventually sees the parallels between his own fate and that of his father’s; he realises that he, too, is getting too old for his job. But, he must delve even deeper into the past to fully remember himself. He must see deeper into the regretful decisions he has made, though he can never fully acknowledge such regret because to do so would be to destroy himself, rendering an entire life meaningless, worthless and wasted. He has spent his entire professional life behind a mask. He has no real friends, and his relationship with his farther is strained, to say the least. There are a few moments when the veil slips; however, they are not really visible to other characters. I think at times, this has gone so far that, Stevenson actually forgets who he is. The mask takes over and controls his behaviour; there is little room for sentiment or friendship: it pushes people away with its austere act of singular professionalism.

“Do you realize, Mr Stevens, how much it would have meant to me if you had though to share your feeling last year? You knew how upset I was when the girls were dismissed. Do you realize how much it would have helped me? Why, Mr Stevens, why, why, why do you always have to pretend?”

description

Unfortunately for Stevens he continues to wear this mask. It’s led to all of these bad feelings, and a life of servitude. Indeed, he becomes like his farther. He is stuck in this perpetual state. His brief holiday sends all his memories crashing back; he sees the different paths he could have taken had he been more open to his own desires. There are degrees of regret within his story, but he cannot full let go; he cannot fully admit that he wishes he had lived his own life. He has gone too far to simply change his ways. If he changed now, his life would have been a waste. He must continue on this road, one that will not allow him to enjoy the remains of his days.

This is a sad novel; it depicts a character that is so unbelievably stubborn that he prevents himself from receiving any regeneration or redemption. He cannot change, and this is his doom. He is frustrating and stoic. He is a nonchalant man who simply refuses to acknowledge his own feelings. As a character he is superbly written, but on an individual level I found him somewhat pitiable. This is part of the wonder of the story, though. Stevens is his role; he will never transgress it. I just felt so sorry for him because he really has had a wasted life; yes, he has had a successful career; yes, he has met some prestigious political figures and foreign dignitaries; yes, he believes he is accomplished and successful, but, at the route of things, he is undeniably woeful and lonely. These are simply the excuses he tells himself. He has missed out on friendship and love: he has only experienced solitude and isolation.

In this, Ishiguro delivers an awe inspiringly powerful statement in regards to the dangers of a life of pretending. This was moving, compelling and excellent. This won’t be the last Ishiguro novel I read. I’m literally amazed at how good this book was.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,567 reviews55.5k followers
August 5, 2021
(Book 190 from 1001 books) - The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day, is a 1989 novel by Nobel Prize-winning British writer, Kazuo Ishiguro.

In the summer of 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 unrealized love between the butler and his housekeeper.

The novel tells, in first-person narration, the story of Stevens, an English butler who has dedicated his life to the loyal service of Lord Darlington.

The novel begins in 1956, with Stevens receiving a letter from a former colleague, the housekeeper Miss Kenton, describing her married life, which Stevens believes hints at an unhappy marriage.

Furthermore, Darlington Hall is short-staffed and could greatly use a skilled housekeeper like Miss Kenton.

Stevens starts to consider paying Miss Kenton a visit. His new employer, a wealthy American named Mr Farraday, encourages Stevens to borrow his car to take a well-earned vacation—a "motoring trip".

Stevens accepts, and sets out for Cornwall, where Miss Kenton (now Mrs Benn) lives.

During his journey, Stevens reflects on his unshakable loyalty to Lord Darlington, who had hosted lavish meetings between German sympathizers and English aristocrats in an effort to influence international affairs in the years leading up to the Second World War; on the meaning of the term "dignity" and what constitutes a great butler; and on his relationship with his late father, another "no-nonsense" man who dedicated his life to service. Ultimately, Stevens is forced to ponder Lord Darlington's character and reputation, as well as the true nature of his relationship with Miss Kenton.

As the book progresses, evidence mounts of Miss Kenton's and Stevens' past mutual attraction and affection. ...

نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و سوم ژوئن سال 1997م

عنوان: بازمانده روز؛ نوشته: کازوئو ایشیگورو؛ مترجم: نجف دریابندری؛ تهران، کارنامه، 1375، در 356ص؛ شابک 9644310020؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ژاپنی تبار بریتانیا؛ سده 20م

اخطار: اگر هنوز این رمان را نخوانده اید، و میخواهید آن را بخوانید، لطفا توجه داشته باشید که احتمال لو رفتن داستان در نوشتار این فراموشکار هست

جایی دیده بودم: رمان «بازمانده روز»، کلاس شخصیت پردازی مدرن است، شخصیت پردازی هوشمندانه، که همچو پازل هزار تکه، پس از کنار هم گذاشتن تکه ها، همین تابلوی زیبا شده است؛ «بازمانده ی روز» داستان آقای «استیونز»، سرپیشخدمتی انگلیسی است، که زندگی خود را وقف خدمت وفادارانه به لرد «دارلینگتون» کرده است؛

داستان با رسیدن نامه‌ ای از یک همکار پیشین آغاز می‌شود؛ در آن نامه، خانم «کنتن» از زندگی زناشویی خود می‌گوید، که «استیونز»، آنرا حمل بر نارضایتی او، از ازدواجش می‌کند؛ همزمان با رسیدن نامه، موقعیتی برای «استیونز» پیش می‌آید؛ که بتواند به بهانه ی پژوهش، درباره ی استخدام مجدد خانم «کنتن»، دوباره برگردد سراغ رابطه‌ ای، که زمانی آن را بسیار دوست می‌داشت؛ ارباب جدید خانه، «آمریکایی» ثروتمندی به نام «فارادی»، او را تشویق میکند، که ماشین را بردارد، و برود به مرخصی‌ ای که بی‌شک استحقاقش را دارد؛ این سفر، فرصتی می‌شود برای «استیونز»، که وفاداری تزلزل‌ ناپذیرش به لرد «دالینگتون»، معنی و مفهوم «تشخص»، و حتی رابطه خودش با پدرش را، مورد بازاندیشی قرار دهد؛ دست آخر، «استیونز» مجبور می‌شود، که به مفهوم واقعی رابطه‌ ی خود با خانم «کنتن» بیندیشد؛ هرچه داستان به پیش می‌رود، نشانه‌ های عشق خانم «کنتن» به آقای «استیونز»، و تمایل متقابل او، آشکار می‌شود؛ در سال‌های پیش از جنگ جهانگیر دوم، زمانی که این دو، دوشادوش هم کار می‌کنند، از اعتراف به عشقشان، نسبت به یکدیگر طفره می‌روند؛ تمام مکالمه‌ هایی که یاد میآورد، نشان از رابطه‌ ای حرفه‌ ای دارند، که گاهی به مرز عشق و علاقه، نزدیک می‌شوند، اما هرگز از آن عبور نمی‌کنند؛ بعدها مشخص می‌شود، که خانم «کنتن»، بیست سالی است، که ازدواج کرده است، و حالا دیگر نه خانم «کنتن»، بلکه خانم «بن» خوانده می‌شود؛ خانم «بن»، اعتراف می‌کند، که گاهی به این فکر می‌کند، که زندگی با آقای «استیونز»، چگونه می‌توانست باشد؛ اما حالا دیگر شوهرش را دوست میدارد، و در انتظار تولد نخستین نوه‌ ی خویش است؛ «استیونز» به فرصت‌های از دست‌ رفته ی خویش، هم در رابطه با خانم «کنتن»، و نیز با اربابش لرد «دارلینگتون» می‌اندیشد

در پایان داستان، «استیونز» به آنچه از روز، بازمانده می‌پردازد، که اشاره‌ ای، به آینده ی او، در خدمت به آقای «فارادی» است؛ «ایشی‌ گورو»، همانند دیگر رمان‌های خویش، در طول داستان از ساختارهای حافظه، و دورنما، سود برده اند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 05/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Perry.
630 reviews497 followers
September 3, 2020
Firmly in My Top 3 Ever. Overwhelmingly Profound.

Regret came shivering through my veins,
And bound my tongue in iron chains;
My soul in prison seem'd to be,
And ever must if torn from thee.

"The Recall to Affection," Susanna Blamire

Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
"Yesterday," Lennon-McCartney, 1965

It is nearly impossible to describe this novel without alluding to what I believe is the most heartbreaking scene in all literature.

Ishiguro's novel whisks the human memory - its capacity, reliability, fallibility and combustibility. As the story moves forward, he drops clues to the murkiness of the manservant narrator Stevens' recollections of decades in service at Darlington Hall and his relationship with the head maid, Ms. Kenton.

Exceptionally stirring, this novel is unrivaled in illuminating, or "getting through to the reader,” on two life-changing themes:

1) the heartbreaking nature of reflecting and....
"forever speculating what might have happened had such and such a moment turned out differently? ... while it is all very well to talk of 'turning points', one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect. Naturally, when one looks back to such instances today, they may indeed take the appearance of being crucial, precious moments in one's life; but of course, at the time, this was not the impression one had. Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one's relationship[s]....; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding...."; and, "perhaps... there is something to [the] advice that. . . that [one] should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of the day";
and, conversely,

2) the more crucial realization that one should look now for the crucial and precious moments in and of today, and should make every effort to sort out a relationship in one's life and endeavor to remedy misunderstandings with others. Indeed, we lose sight of the fact (particularly when we're young) that there are NOT a never-ending number of days and one should not wait for tomorrow, at which point today will be one more yesterday:

Death twitches my ear; 'Live,' he says... 'I'm coming.” Virgil

What more could one ask of literature than the enlightenment and this self-revealing moral that we should wake up, listen to the heart and, by all means, follow it. Today (or as soon as practicably possible).

I recall a quote I saw years ago in school: "[i]n the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." M.J. Adler
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,505 reviews24.5k followers
January 2, 2021
This is one of the most satisfying, atmospheric and profoundly moving rereads for me, Kazuo Ishiguro's 1989 Booker Prize winner, a perceptive, inspired character study of a retiring butler, Stevens, and through him, the insightful penetration of a turbulent period of British history, detailing a bygone era, its class structures, a changing country losing its empire and way of life. Stevens embodies a rigidity and formality that seems all too absurd in our modern times, obsessive about and putting great store on the concept of dignity, with a overriding sense of duty, repressed, an iron loyalty and putting an all encompassing trust in Lord Darlington that is not deserved. As he reflects back on his life, it slowly begins to seep through what is not overt, his regrets, his fear of intimacy, his unrealised feelings for the housekeeper, Miss Kenton, the inner pain, loneliness and the heartbreak.

With understated brilliance and lyricism, Ishiguro writes a subtly nuanced and poignant novel of uncommon emotional depth, of a life unlived, devoid of love, underlining all that could have been. This has been a wonderful reread, beautifully written historical fiction, and if you have yet to read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Many thanks to Faber and Faber.
Profile Image for Fabian.
935 reviews1,529 followers
October 26, 2020
Mood, atmosphere, character. Encapsulation of the zeitgeist, & social commentary; "The Remains of the Day" delves into the dark side of humanity. So much is held within the pages of this marvelous book, the account of one of the last butlers to work at a large manor in England. What is Dignity? seems to be the major thread that unites all of his different experiences of becoming a largely marginalized person, of becoming someone with a worth different from others. The love story is heart wrenching; the level of repression is palpable.

I do love "Never Let Me Go", & this one seems more in tune with that one than, say, the marvelous "A Pale View of Hills", or the sick/sad/strange "When We Were Orphans." "Never Let Me Go" is about the wastes of youth, while "Remains" is about a life lived fully in a restricted state that's perpetual. They are both equally sad & amazing, definitely not lite reading; serious & grave in tone and subject matter. Kazuo Ishiguro is a Literary Man's Man.
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
Author 1 book366 followers
January 29, 2022
You know, you get to the end of this book and it makes you wonder if there is such a thing as too perfect. Not only are all the i's dotted and all t's crossed, the dots have embroidered edges, and the crosses are tied in a bow. A neatly follows B which neatly follows C, but there's a part of you that wishes that just once you could see Stevens really lose his cool, perhaps drop an f-bomb--it is probable that the fault lies entirely with me. It must, surely. The tears that are cried are cried between the lines, and the disagreements are always so polite, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Perfect, too perfect--no such thing. I've simply seen The Stepford Wives a few too many times, that's all.

*Whenever I reread a book, I'm always aware of the possibility that it won't reach the bar I previously set for it, and that I'm somehow over it. The first fity pages of this one--the lecture on what is a great butler--are still a bit of an effort and really make up the whole prologue, but after that my heart just melted yet again. Turns out I'm not over it, and I hope I never will be.
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews710 followers
May 25, 2019
Beautiful, beautiful book, wonderful writing, great story. I am now officially a fan of Ishiguro, a book so different from Never let me go, which was also an incredible story to me. This story however is very different but equally high quality, which in my opinion indicates the quality of the writer, able to put down totally different stories, both intriguing in their own way. It is beautiful in language, heartbreaking in storyline, gives a view of life in England in between wars and how politics also reaches an English grand house, and also gives you food for thought on what is important in your life... dignity....work... love.... anyway,beautiful book. 4,5 stars.
Profile Image for Petrik.
655 reviews40k followers
January 1, 2018
4.5/5 Stars

Kazuo Ishiguro just won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year and this book supports that achievement. The Remains of the Day is a wonderful book to close my reading year in 2017.


This book was first published in 1989 and since then, there have been countless professional reviews on it that everything I said here—although they are my honest opinion—would most likely be just something similar to any of those reviews. That’s why I’ll keep this brief; The Remains of the Day is a thoroughly beautiful book.

“If you are under the impression you have already perfected yourself, you will never rise to the heights you are no doubt capable of.”


This is my first time reading Ishiguro’s book and it certainly won’t be the last. I bought The Remains of the Day on a whim a few days ago when I was on vacation in Bangkok. There, I visited Kinokuniya bookstore and I saw this gorgeous looking Kinokuniya exclusive commemorative edition of this book.



With absolutely no knowledge on what this book was about, I was left very satisfied with my purchase by the end of my read. Most of the story in this book revolves around Stevens—a gentleman and highly professional butler—who went on a six days’ vacation and during his vacation, we get to see his past. This is truly a beautiful book about regret, dignity, repression, decisions, acceptance, and most of all, memories. There are a lot of messages that can be taken from this book but in my opinion, the most dominant one is to never dwell on the past.

“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?”


Highly atmospheric, combined with Ishiguro’s incredible prose that gives hidden beauty and messages within each word and paragraphs, The Remains of the Day compelled me to read the book within two sittings. It’s that good. Ishiguro’s prose here is truly a delight to read, it’s evocative, beautiful, and inspirational.

If I was reading this back when I was maybe 15 years old, this book probably wouldn’t have that much impact simply because there weren’t enough monumental turning points to ponder yet. But reading this now, there are tons of passages I can relate to. It all comes down to this: we can’t ever turn back the clock, cherish every moment.

“But what is the sense in forever speculating what might have happened had such and such a moment turned out differently? One could presumably drive oneself to distraction in this way. In any case, while it is all very well to talk of 'turning points', one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect.


I heard from plenty of readers that this is Kazuo’s best work and I can certainly vouch for the praises. This book is a piece of literature that came out of nowhere into my life and somehow, ended up becoming a book that I know I will always remember.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,162 reviews9,046 followers
March 19, 2012
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 called Remains of the Day. You may see one called Remains of the Bitches but not Remains of the Day. Why do these writers think we need to know when a butler blows his nose and if he scratches his ear. I do not get this. But maybe that's what gay British people are like, all butlers and maids and never shag each other. Oh sorry - spoiler alert!! Now you don't have to read it but you can like pretend you did.
Profile Image for Icey.
146 reviews101 followers
January 18, 2022
Some books make you think.

It’s a story of melancholy.
In these tumultuous waves of the sea, you heard a quiet, slightly distant voice.
A subtlety that is both despairing and evocative.

- -“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.”

Sometimes great books made you unable to write a review, but leave a hurricane in your mind.
Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day both proved to be the literary storm brewing in my head.
Profile Image for İntellecta.
198 reviews1,521 followers
February 24, 2021
The book „Was vom Tag übrig blieb” written by kazuo Ishiguro is about the duties and the value system of the butlers profession in a past era. This roman is written in a beautiful language which shows the perspectives of butler´s responsibilities in former times. It includes themes like European history, politics and social structures in the 20th century, self-deception, lost love and the human dignity.
Kazuo Ishiguro gives the protagonist Stevens a virtuously formulated narrative voice which represents the duty and the self-denial of the protagonist perfectly. Moreover my personal opinion is that the protagonist Mr. Stevens seems to be very cold and unemotional. But on the other side he appears very graceful. Even though this roman has no relevant actions or an exciting storyline, it`s one of those books which touches your heart and you can`t stop thinking and reading about it. In addition the author creates a beautiful tension even though the time after World War Two was different and very hard to progress.
However as the author manages to turn the cliché of a butler into a living protagonist is masterful. On the other hand the constant repetition of the word “töricht” throughout the whole book irritates me.

To sum up I would say that I enjoyed the novel “Was vom Tag übrig blieb” and I`ll surely watch the movie based on this beautiful story.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,506 reviews737 followers
September 6, 2021
Wow! Booker Prize Winner for Fiction 1989, and the hype is real! Told and thought in the first person this is a story of the pre Second World War years, recalled during a journey to a reunion, in the post war era, by a classic English butler. A story about the decline of the British aristocracy, about the English aristocratic Nazi sympathisers, about dignity, about the stiff upper lip and social constraints, about servitude, about memory and how we frame the past, using... of all things, - small talk and banter... and the cherry on top? - it's also, at its core a heart wrenching, and immensely evocative story of simmering passion. 9 out of 12.
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,494 followers
June 13, 2018
An exquisite novel featuring one of the most fascinating unreliable narrators in all of fiction.

In post-war England, Stevens, an aging, old-school English butler who’s worked for decades at Darlington Hall, plans a car trip to visit the estate’s former housekeeper, Miss Kenton, in the west country. During the journey, he reflects on his long career, and we get a good sense of his life – inextricably linked to his long-time employer, Lord Darlington – and that of his country.

Thanks to Downton Abbey, I now know the difference between butlers, footmen and valets, so that came in handy. Unfortunately, I kept seeing Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, who played Stevens and Miss Kenton in the acclaimed film adaptation, in my head. That’s not writer Kazuo Ishiguro’s fault, though.

The book stands on its own merits. Above all, it’s a triumph of first-person narration. Stevens’s voice is proper, stuffy and impeccably formal, with lots of “indeeds” and “Be that as it mays” and “In any events.”

It’s also extremely funny. As the book opens in the mid-50s, Darlington Hall is owned by Mr. Farraday, an American businessman, and Stevens is stymied by the man’s habit of bantering. Ever the hard worker, Stevens attempts to improve his banter skills, resulting in at least one hilarious passage later on.

In another section, a pompous upper-class guest of Lord Darlington asks Stevens to explain the birds and the bees to the man’s own son. Classic.

The between-the-wars setting gives the book added heft, especially in Stevens’s devotion to Darlington, despite the employer’s questionable politics. The way Ishiguro shows Stevens defending the man is highly effective; Stevens tells us (and the world) one thing while we intuit something else.

There are also a couple of scenes in which we feel genuine pity for Stevens. Both, tellingly, involve class.

What gives the book its heart, though, is the changing relationship between Stevens and Miss Kenton. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is the kind of book that makes you think about what’s important in life: love and family or work.

Sometimes providing consolation or showing affection – even though it might not be the most “professional” behaviour – can be life-altering.

Not a bad takeaway – among other things – from this remarkable book.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,073 reviews6,810 followers
December 9, 2020
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

This book is by the 2017 Nobel prize winner and it won the 1989 Booker prize. Many people know it from the 1993 movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

Stevens is a British butler approaching retirement after a distinguished career at a manor house. For those familiar with the TV series Downton Abbey, he’s a lot like Mr. Carson. Stevens’ world has changed. It’s 1956. The glitzy and glorious times of the manor during the 1920’s and 1930’s are gone. Before his time the manor had a staff of 28; when he first became butler he had 17; now there are four.

description

His former master has died and the estate sold to an American businessman. Stevens takes a week-long journey to the west of England as he reflects on his career and that of his former master. His two big things in life are that a ‘great butler’ must possess dignity and serve a distinguished household. We go round a bit on what exactly this all means. A distinguished household, Stevens believes, means it tries to serve humanity, not just clubs and golf courses. But we agree Stevens has dignity and that it was a great household until his master’s attempts to bring ‘great men’ together to keep peace between France and Germany.

Stevens is aware of politics too. He knows that the great public decisions are initiated not by Parliamentary committees but in discussions among the great men of the time with cigars and brandy in the den or library of the great houses.

His new American boss likes to ‘banter.’ We feel bad for Stevens because this puzzles him. When he is alone he listens to humorous radio shows and ‘practices’ bantering by himself. We know how this will work out.

description

His father was also a butler and Stevens saw his decline as his father was given odd jobs in his semi-retirement. Stevens dreads the day when he will be stumbling up the steps dropping a load of dishes as he has seen his father do in his decline.

Stevens is also taking his road trip to visit an old lady friend who once worked in the house. Basically they were in love but he never managed to get out of his role to reciprocate it. He is never ‘off-duty’ and he “inhabits’ his role of butler. Under the guise of perhaps re-hiring her, he wants to see if there is any spark left in the relationship. She had left the house to marry but appears to have left her husband.

description
In addition to Downton Abbey, the story reminds me also of the novel Reef by the Sri Lankan author Romesh Gunesekera. In Reef the dedicated Sri Lankan butler shows much more common sense than his British master. A very good read with, as usual in Ishiguro’s work, a lot of psychological depth. I read this book first many years ago.

Movie still of James Ivory’s movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson from independent.co.uk
Photo, Tea in the Garden (early 1900's) from the guardian.com
The author from newyorker.com
Profile Image for Lisa.
971 reviews3,330 followers
March 31, 2019
Don't let your principles steal your judgment, your feelings, your life!

This novel - like all of Kazuo Ishiguro's work - has many quiet messages, and it can be read in many different ways. When I first read it, a long time ago, I thought it was a brilliant study of English customs and history before and during the Second World War, and I used to give it to friends and family as a reminder of how fascism can be supported and cultivated in an environment of duty and loyalty. During later readings, I focused more on the personal sacrifice of the butler who renounces private happiness to prove to himself that he is the best of his profession - pride and prejudice thus winning over sense and sensibility.

Now, putting the novel into the hands of my own children, encouraging them to read it as part of our Nobel Collection, I find myself saying that this novel proves the danger of loyalty and of being rigidly true to one's origins and early opinions.

I find myself lecturing - this novel held up as an example - on the need for courage to CHANGE!

My reading of this novel has definitely changed over time, but it remains one of my favourite books - partly just because it speaks to me in different ways as I grow older and as I change my approach to life and literature.

As we can't stop time from changing the world we live in, we should learn from the new impulses we receive from current developments, listen to our hearts and speak up against evil, especially if it is on our own doorstep. To be able to recognise evil, though, we need to open our eyes to the wider perspectives offered by different life experiences and opinions, and that is what I would have wished for the old butler to do: see the world through a different prism in order to be able to judge it according to a more generous and open worldview.

But it is a hard balance between keeping traditions one has learned to cherish and respect and at the same time letting the world in.
- Whoever celebrates traditional Christmas in a big and diverse family knows what I am talking about!

Must-read! - Humanity's dilemma in a nutshell (made in England).
Profile Image for Beata.
703 reviews1,066 followers
October 7, 2017
YES! YES!YES! The Nobel Prize totally deserved! So jubilant as one of my favourite Authors to whom I've been faithful for nearly 20 years has been honoured with the Prize!
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,285 reviews119k followers
August 21, 2014
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 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 served. A devastating tale, making one wonder how such people could exist, people who deny all self-indulgence, who deny any personal need for affection. The film, of course, was magnificent. If you have not yet seen it, don't deny yourself the pleasure. And it would definitely be wrong to deny yourself the pleasure of reading this excellent book.
Profile Image for Samadrita.
295 reviews4,473 followers
August 30, 2013
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 the same time.

The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's ode to England - its bygone glories, numerous idiosyncrasies and fallacies.
Through the life of Stevens, the protagonist and a quintessentially uptight English butler to a distinguished Lord, Ishiguro takes us on a journey of a nation through two wars which crippled it financially and relegated it to the sidelines of international politics as another nation slowly rose to take its place. However, it is not merely the tale of a tottering Britain but also a human drama centering around themes such as self-discovery, lasting regret, nostalgia, unfulfilled love and the enduring desire to start over anew.
Stevens is not just a symbol of the inimitable sophistication that defines English culture but also an emblem of the undeniable hollowness of it. Of the unalterable mistakes committed in the course of a long and eventful journey - be it the journey of life of a man or one nation.
Even though the verbosity of Ishiguro's prose may tend to make the narrative monotonous from time to time, it is never too big an impediment to navigate around.
In fact it is the elegant language which catapults this novel into the league of classic English literature, in my opinion. Besides the unhurried, tender nuances of Ishiguro's story-telling do not deserve any less.

Oh yes he most certainly deserved the Man Booker for this. And I think I will now commence the operation of procuring all of Ishiguro's published works.

(Review originally posted on:- November 24, 2012)
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,979 followers
October 23, 2016
Hmm. Literary classic, very well regarded author, well rated by lots of people - I should really like this one. Sadly I only found it okay.
What I didn't like:
* too much inner dialogue. I was well aware that the main character was an unreliable narrator and that we have to read between his lines to get to the truth but there were still too many lines!
* I was never emotionally involved. I have read reviews where people are devastated by the ending. I just said "oh well" and put the book down.
What I did like:
* it is beautifully written and the true character of the narrator is built up in a very cunning way, all show and no tell.
* the background. Both the beautiful settings in West England and the historical facts about the times.
So I liked it but I didn't love it. I am encouraged though to read more by this author.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,610 followers
October 21, 2017
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. Stevens, a traditional English butler, who served under Lord Darlington for several decades. The narrative begins in 1956 with Stevens adjusting to a new master, who is an American gentleman. Stevens sets out on a car journey across England to meet with a former housekeeper, Miss Kenton. During the journey, Stevens reminisces about his pre-war experiences at Darlington Hall and his relationship with Miss Kenton. There are themes of dignity, the purpose of life, how time is spent, choosing work over love (or love over work), and what constitutes greatness. Everything is shared from Mr. Stevens' perspective, who relates his thoughts in a stream of consciousness, occasionally recounting conversations with others.

Let me pause here to discuss a theory I have, which is that there are two kinds of readers: those who like stream-of-consciousness narrative and those who don't. I am firmly in the former camp, but I've heard several readers say they loathe SOC. The structure of "Remains of the Day" reminded me of another book that I loved: Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse." Both involved SOC narration, both stories take place over only a few days, and both had themes of lost time.

I liked the movie version of "Remains of the Day," but the text moved me even more. I desperately wanted to shake Mr. Stevens and try to get him to wake up to his present life, instead of being so consumed by his profession. Of course, Miss Kenton tries to do this several times — she brings him flowers, she teases him about a romance book he's reading, she tries to comfort him when his father dies — but Stevens is so obsessed with being dignified and restraining his emotions that he can't break free.

Because this story is so well-known, I think I can share a favorite passage toward the end of the book. Stevens is in a reflective mood after saying goodbye to Miss Kenton; he's sitting on the pier and is chatting with a stranger:

"Lord Darlington wasn't a bad man. He wasn't a bad man at all. And at least he had the privilege of being able to say at the end of his life that he made his own mistakes. His lordship was a courageous man. 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 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?"

My dear Mr. Stevens, I shall remember your story and will keep it on my bookshelf. I'm sure our paths will cross again.

Update October 2017
I decided to reread this novel after Mr. Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I'm so glad I did. This time I listened to it on audio, performed by Simon Prebble, and it was a wonderful experience. This is still a 5-star book for me. Highly recommended.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for باقر هاشمی.
Author 1 book239 followers
June 20, 2019
یه استاد شیمی‌فیزیک داشتیم ایده‌آلش این بود که از ما دانشجوهاش قهرمان هسته‌ای بسازه. در همین راستا کلاس‌اش رو مثل یک پادگان اداره می کرد. اگر فیلم غلاف تمام فلزی رو دیده باشید حتماً اون گروهبانه رو به خاطر میارید که بالای سر سربازها می‌ایستاد و قوانین رو با داد و فریاد کشیدن بهشون دیکته می کرد. این استاد ما هم علاوه بر سخت گیری روی درس، می خواست قوانین زندگی ایده‌آل رو هم در قالب چند جمله‌ی تلقینی‌تأکیدی به ما بیاموزه... یکی از اون جمله‌هاش که مناسب مرور این کتابه این بود: "به خودت بگو اگه سنگ هم از آسمون بباره من این کار رو انجام میدم" و من هم از اونجایی که همیشه در زندگی سعی کرده‌م پسر خوبی باشم، این نصیحت استاد رو آویزه‌ی گوشم کردم بلکه بتونم از خودم یه قهرمان بسازم... حالا که چند سال از اون روزها میگذره، می‌بینم اون عبارات تأکیدی، از من آدمی ساخته که به راحتی می تونه با یه پیشخدمت «متشخّص» بریتانیایی، خودش رو همسنگ بدونه. احساس می کنم در تمام این سالها پیشخدمت خوبی بوده‌م و این بِهِم احساس آرامش میده و اتفاقاً برای همینه که اینقدر از این کتاب خوشم آمده و داستان خودم رو اول مرور آوردم.
واژه ی «تشخّص» یکی از اون واژه هاییه که توی این کتاب از راه گفتگوهایی که شکل می‌گیره حلّاجی میشه و به مخاطبش نشون میده که برای متشخص بودن(که فکر می کنم در مقابل جلف بودن قرار داره) باید تابع نظمی باشی که انعطاف ناپذیر باشه. یک نظم کانتی. نظمی شبیه به "نظم خرها". یعنی احساسات‌ات رو باید در درجه‌ی آخرِ اهمیت قرار بدی و برای جلب رضایت یک شخص نه، بلکه برای جلب رضایت یک امر ایده‌آل، قلب‌ات رو زیر پا بذاری و تبدیل به آدمی بشی که جز انجام وظیفه (یا انجام کاری که بهش محوّل کرده‌ن) به چیز دیگه‌ای فکر نمی‌کنه. این‌طور آدمی باید بلد باشه که خیلی خوب به خودش دروغ بگه و خودش رو گول بزنه و بدتر از این‌ها، اینکه از این خودفریبی دفاع هم بکنه...
این از نظرم درباره ی داستانِ کتاب.

درباره‌ی ترجمه: تاجایی که یادمه این اولین ترجمه ای هست که از نجف دریابندری خوندم. دریابندری خودش رو توی دلم جا کرد. مثل محمد قاضی. دریابندری جعبه ابزار ترجمه اش کاملِ کامله. برای یک مترجمِ خوب بودن، اگه به زبان خارجی مسلط نباشی اشکال نداره اما اگه به زبان خودت مسلط نباشی بَده. و باید بری یه شغل دیگه غیر از مترجمی پیدا کنی. وقتی نتونی جوری حرف بزنی که همزبون‌هات حرفت رو بفهمن، تسلط به زبان بیگانه چه فایده ای داره؟ نجف دریابندری نه تنها جوری ترجمه می‌کنه که می‌فهمیم، بلکه جذب حرفاش هم میشیم و البته واژه‌های درست رو هم در خلال متنِ داستان بهمون یاد میده.

از رمان و مترجم گفتم، جا داره یادی هم از نشر کارنامه بکنم که با این قیمت‌هایی که روی کتاباش میذاره آدم فکر می‌کنه یک شیء نفیس خریداری کرده نه یک کتاب. کتاب‌هایی با ظواهر زیبا و کاغذهای مرغوب اما چاپ های نازیبا که خیلی توی ذوق میزنه و امیدوارم صِدام یه روزی به گوش کارنامه‌ای‌ها برسه و این عیب رو هم برطرف کنن.

این مرور، همیجا به پایان میرسه.
Profile Image for Marchpane.
293 reviews2,083 followers
May 10, 2021
‘Ask anybody, they’ll all tell you. The evening’s the best part of the day.’

The Remains of the Day is a masterclass in telling a story almost entirely between the lines. Stevens is a circumlocutory narrator but it’s what he doesn’t say that matters—the things he can’t bring himself to reveal, whether to other characters or to the reader. He is guarded, equivocal, possibly revisionist, in relating his time as butler at Darlington Hall in the years leading up to WWII.

All starched collars and formal diction, the novel’s emotional power and psychological depth are contained in the negative space around the actual narration. It’s up to the reader to fill in those gaps, which might sound just horribly vague but, brilliantly, it isn’t. Ishiguro guides you through it, like a dance, so you always know what emotions Stevens is trying to conceal from you—pride or shame or love—or when he is projecting his own feelings on to some other character.

At the same time, there’s plenty of room for reader interpretation. Was Lord Darlington, Nazi collaborator, a war criminal or a hopeless naïf? Was Stevens really always so disinterested in politics as he now claims? Did Miss Kenton return Stevens’ affections or not? What happened during all those cocoa catch-ups in Miss Kenton’s parlour, the ones that took place daily, presumably for years?

It’s a novel fashioned out of exquisite restraint, but as it ends we are rewarded with one moment in which Stevens lets his guard down completely: ‘Indeed – why should I not admit it? – at that moment, my heart was breaking.’
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
549 reviews3,759 followers
September 2, 2020
En pocas ocasiones he leído un libro con tantísimas sutilezas, que cuenta tanto diciendo tan poco.
Maravillada con esta novela y el estilo del autor. Con ese narrador tan poco fiable, patético y entrañable, al que te gustaría zarandear y abrazar al mismo tiempo... Un libro que consigue tenerte en vilo hasta la última página con las cosas más sencillas pero importantes de la vida. Una historia sobre las clases sociales, sobre la dignidad humana, sobre un tiempo perdido.
En fin, mi clase de libro al cien por cien.
Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
318 reviews28.9k followers
April 24, 2021
Rozumiem zamysł i szanuję co autor chciał zrobić. Ale w moim odczuciu, to się nie udało. Ta książka jest tak horrendalnie nudna, że ciężko jest nawet dojść do ostatnich stron, które jako jedyne poruszały interesujące kwestie i były rzeczywiście ciekawe. Albo może ja źle to odebrałam. Tak czy siak, to była dla mnie droga przez mękę
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