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The Remains of the Day Paperback – Unabridged, September 12, 1990
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's difficult to believe how much Kazuo Ishiguro packed into this short (by today's standards), highly praised novel -- a lifetime of work and relationships, the realization of inescapable regret, and the hope it is not too late to join the rest of humanity.
Stevens is a butler for an English house that is no longer great, nor is it owned by the family for which it is named. His postwar employer is, instead, an American named Farraday; as a stranger will point out to him later, "An American? Well, they're the only ones can afford it now." Farraday "affords" Darlington Hall by shutting much of the house down and using a reduced staff, which Stevens can understand, as the staff that would be available would not be up to his own high standards. When he receives a sad, lonely letter from Darlington's former housekeeper, Miss Kenton (now Mrs. Benn), and later is told by Farraday that he can borrow his employer's car for a vacation on the road, he weighs the opportunity and decides to take it for "professional reasons" -- to see if he can lure back the highly qualified Miss Kenton to her former position. During the brief journey, he spends much of his time contemplating what "dignity" in his profession means -- and whether he lived up to it. After a plethora of recollections about the late Lord Darlington during the prewar years and after his meeting with Miss Kenton, Stevens comes to two great understandings: he did not serve a great man as he thought he had, and, in doing so, he had missed a chance for love and fulfillment. His devotion to Lord Darlington has betrayed him, personally and professionally. "I can't even say I made my own mistakes," he laments.Read more ›
In some parts of the book, Stevens' loyalty is admirable albeit misdirected. For example, Stevens is unable to acknowledge his father's infirmity until Lord Darlington brings it to his attention. He is also unable to shed his professional scales just long enough to have a meaningful interaction with the woman he loves. At the end of the book, Stevens returns to Darlington Hall from a short trip to the country and resolves to master the sort of "bantering" that his American employer requires. All of these factors make Steven's a humorous caricature, but Ishiguro did not write this book merely to make fun of English butlers.
The real issue lurking in the depths of this book centers on fascism and conformity. Stevens' master, Lord Darlington has ties to the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, and is later denounced and disgraced for that reason. Blind loyalty prevents Stevens from acknowledging the error of Lord Darlington's conviction, even after he fires all the Jewish members of his staff. Long after Lord Darlington's death, when his estate has been purchased by a wealthy American, Stevens still feels unquestioning loyalty to the master. It costs him his relationship with the woman he loves, and makes us rather pity his blindness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent writing in this period piece. Not a book I would have normally selected (my book club did); but it should lead to an interesting discussion. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jim & Jackie
It was so unbearable I was counting the minutes till I finished this damn book. If I did not have to read this for school I would have probably burned it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by vicky tan
There's a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
"Yesterday," Lennon-McCartney, 1965
After reading this consummate novel, I though of a... Read more
Written from the point of view of a servant in one of England's Great Houses ( think Downton Abbey), it is the story of a Butler who lives to serve a Lord and his household with... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Keith C.
The Remains of the Day was so throught-provoking and heart breaking. I really felt for these characters and felt like I truly understood what Stevens and Miss Kenton were going... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lindsey
I read this for my English class and wrote my final paper on it,since I enjoyed Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go". Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jenise