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The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.
Greeted with high praise in England, where it seems certain to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Ishiguro's third novel (after An Artist of the Floating World ) is a tour de force-- both a compelling psychological study and a portrait of a vanished social order. Stevens, an elderly butler who has spent 30 years in the service of Lord Darlington, ruminates on the past and inadvertently slackens his rigid grip on his emotions to confront the central issues of his life. Glacially reserved, snobbish and humorless, Stevens has devoted his life to his concept of duty and responsibility, hoping to reach the pinnacle of his profession through totally selfless dedication and a ruthless suppression of sentiment. Having made a virtue of stoic dignity, he is proud of his impassive response to his father's death and his "correct" behavior with the spunky former housekeeper, Miss Kenton. Ishiguro builds Stevens's character with precisely controlled details, creating irony as the butler unwittingly reveals his pathetic self-deception. In the poignant denouement, Stevens belatedly realizes that he has wasted his life in blind service to a foolish man and that he has never discovered "the key to human warmth." While it is not likely to provoke the same shocks of recognition as it did in Britain, this insightful, often humorous and moving novel should significantly enhance Ishiguro's reputation here.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If I like a book I read it within hours or days. It took me several weeks to get thru this book. It was the kind of book that would put me to sleep after a few pages, but for... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Dana C. Voss
There will be some tension in any reader's response. One clearly has to care about "professionalism," let alone its vehicle in a 19th-century-style butler of a typical... Read morePublished 6 days ago by C. Adelman
When I started reading this book, I wondered why it had received such critical acclaim. Told in the first person, mainly in retrospect by a butler who has served in the same grand... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Lindy Lou
Ishiguro is one of the best writers working today. Read this one before you see the film.Published 13 days ago by book nerds are hot
Just finished this novel and I highly recommend it. The author, Kazuo Ishiguro, has a talent for providing the reader with a rich and layered narrative, which I found really... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Scott
Amazing subtle narrating of a life(s) which were complex and filled with longings and tragedy seemingly unknown to themselces. Read morePublished 18 days ago by nella boshoff
The Remains of the Day is a classic, and a great peak into the versatility if Ishiguro. Stevens, is a somewhat uptight butler of an old prestigious family in post war England is... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Anjana Appanna
A simply brilliant tale of a proper English butler as he ponders his career and life as they slip into obsolescence. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Rokodera
I had heard so much about <i> The Remains of the Day </i> that I desperately wanted to love it, but I think the book is centered on a principle of absence and I think... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christin M. Mulligan