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The Remains of the Day

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  261,023 ratings  ·  19,883 reviews
Librarian note: An alternative cover for this ISBN can be found here.

In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the 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 E
Paperback, 258 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Faber & Faber (first published May 1st 1989)
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Janet Landman I found it significant in a number of ways. Most obviously, it showed Stevens suffering from the British class distinctions. We hadn't seen that befor…moreI found it significant in a number of ways. Most obviously, it showed Stevens suffering from the British class distinctions. We hadn't seen that before, because he seemed to take such pride in trying to be the best possible member of his "profession." The Dr's question showed that he saw through what the villagers appeared not to--that Stevens wasn't of the aristocratic class. And although Stevens says he was made extremely uncomfortable by the villagers' misunderstanding his social status, I think he secretly enjoyed being thought a very important person--someone who had met Churchill and Eden and Halifax. It's no accident that after that evening's festivities, he recalls that horrible incident when Darlington and his cronies made a mockery of Stevens to his face. Second, it shows Stevens being exposed to 2 new perspectives on "dignity," neither of which entails the extreme emotional constriction central to Stevens's view of it. I think these new perspectives on dignity might have made a bit of a dent in Stevens's, which is going to be very important in the end. Third, Harry Smith's view of dignity, in conjunction with these experiences and memories regarding class, contributes, I think, to Stevens's finally confronting the fact that Lord Darlington's life and work were "at best, a sad waste." Janet(less)
Michiel I asked myself this same question during reading. Although Miss Kenton was definitely one to appreciate the professionalism and quality with which Mr.…moreI asked myself this same question during reading. Although Miss Kenton was definitely one to appreciate the professionalism and quality with which Mr. Stevens conducted his work, that in itself does not seem enough to fall in love with him. Especially considering the inconsiderate and sometimes unpleasant way in which Mr. Stevens treated her.

However, I also believe that Mr. Stevens does not give a good portrayal of their relationship. Mr. Stevens' recollections mainly focus on their disagreements and how they grew apart. We are never shown the amiable nature or pleasant convsersation the two may have had during their daily parlor meetings. I am convinced that Miss Kenton and Mr. Stevens actually shared some connection during these meetings (even though Mr. Stevens will undoubtedly have remained very professional during them). Miss Kenton could probably see the man behind the butler in those instances, allowing her to fall in love with him. However, since Mr. Stevens does not consider such social interaction between them to bear any significance or relevance, he does not tell us anything about it.

Also, Mr. Stevens is a reasonable accurate narrator when it comes to describing what words were being said during a conversation. However, he is rather bad at conveying what emotions he himself showed during such conversations. There are a few instances in the novel where the people around Mr. Stevens explicitly comment on the emotional way in which he is behaving (such as the tears in his eyes when his father died or the way he storms through the halls when he hears Miss Kenton is leaving), while Mr. Stevens himself does not mention a word of such emotions. This leads me to believe that his attitude towards Miss Kenton would often be a lot more positive than what we can construe from his words.

Not until the very last chapter, we know Mr. Stevens actually cares for or even has feelings for Miss Kenton. When Miss Kenton mentions that she could imagine a different outcome with them being together, he shortly mentions to us readers that his heart broke at that instance.

So to come back to your question. I don't exactly know why Miss Kenton fell in love with Mr. Stevens. But I also believe that Mr. Stevens would not describe any such traits or any chemistry between the two in his memoirs, considering such information irrelevant.(less)
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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
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
“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
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
Kevin Ansbro
"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 W
Sean Barrs
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. “Ha
Ahmad Sharabiani
(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
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, fallib
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 puttin ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 wrenchi ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 bet ...more
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 politic ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 thorou
Paul Bryant
Sep 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, bookers
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
Jan 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-beauties
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 li
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 rep
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
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 ...more
Glenn Sumi
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 Abb
Jim Fonseca
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
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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! ...more
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 reading
Will Byrnes
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-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
With my anglocreepness and obsession with British things, it is almost unbelievable that I went so long without reading “The Remains of the Day”. Because that book is so quintessentially British. On top of being the pinnacle of Englishness (at least the way my Canadian mind imagines it to be), this book is also gorgeously written, subtle, bittersweet and multilayered. Reading it was like eating a deliciously regretful milles-feuilles pastry.

In 1956, at the twilight of his life/career, Stevens, t
The Remains of the Day is a tale of an aging butler, Mr. Stevens, who embarks on a motoring tour at the insistence of his employer to take a holiday. During this tour and while he is at leisure seeing the beauty of the countryside, he revisits and reminisces his past. Mr. Stevens has been a dutiful, loyal, and a very capable butler who had devoted much of his life to his profession and had rarely taken a holiday. The time off, which is taken at the insistence of his employer, allows him to ponde ...more
May 10, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking but beautiful!
Mark  Porton
Jul 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 5-stars
The remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro blew me away.

Almost everyone seems to have either read this or watched the movie, I did the latter when it first came out – all I remember is it was wonderful, but the details are a bit hazy. Anyway, no need to detail the story – as most of you know it. So, here are some thoughts of this little beauty.

Mr Stevens was such a dedicated soul, a single-minded professional, totally dedicated to his craft. His focus on dignity was a joy to behold – I loved the w
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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.


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“Indeed — why should I not admit it? — in that moment, my heart was breaking.” 452 likes
“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.” 427 likes
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