- Series: York Notes Advanced
- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Pearson Education Canada; 2 edition (November 28, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0582424623
- ISBN-13: 978-0582424623
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 683 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Remains of the Day (2nd Edition) (York Notes Advanced) 2nd Edition
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It easily surpassed it. It is a magnificent story deserving of every literary award there might be. It is, as is my personal standard for a five star rating, a truly transformative read. It’s worthy of six stars, truth be told.
It is a story of the generational change and socio-economic and political transformation that overtook England during the period between the Great World Wars. Told through the eyes of a shrinking class of English butler who had a front row seat at the changing of the guard between the landed nobility and the professional politician and businessmen of the Post-war Era.
The questions raised by the transformation are eerily relevant today. Can the institutions of democracy work in a world writ complex by technology and globalism? Is governance better left to a technocratic meritocracy that rules on behalf of the people but above their direct control?
America and Americans, and one visiting US Senator in particular, are portrayed in a predictably garish light given the time and the protagonist. The Senator is loud and uncouth and a manipulative schemer who wants to dictate to the Europeans. Even the American landscape is described as dramatic but a bit overdone.
The English “greatness,” as its described, however, is handled with British wit and aplomb. It’s the kind of classic British humor that is inevitably met with a wry smile rather than the guffaw that most comics seem to reach for today. The butler’s own loss at how to deal with the banter he suspects his eventual American employer expects from him is a humorous thread throughout the book.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the book, however, is the writing itself. It is beyond good. It is almost hallowed, using that term in a strictly descriptive rather than the religious or spiritual sense. And what makes it so, as is the case with most great literature, is the fact that the prose makes no obvious attempt to reach such heights of grandeur. There isn’t a hint of any attempt to over-achieve.
The author deals with many other themes within the confines of the primary tale. Life purpose, the plight of the lion in winter, the constant battle public figures face between public perception and reality, and the human quest for identity, all get explored with a deft literary hand that is a breeze to read, easy to enjoy, and will inevitably leave the reader with literary memories that are sure to flash back for years to come.
There is no money line per se. The book is chock full of both literary excellence and astute human insight. One of my favorites was: “A butler of any quality must be seen to inhabit his role, utterly and fully; he cannot be seen casting it aside one moment simply to don it again the next as though it were nothing more than a pantomime costume.” We often refer to it as “authenticity,” but it is key to success in all professions and, of course, all personal relationships.
Mr. Ishiguro has clearly left his legacy. We should all be thankful. And grateful. The publisher is currently offering the book at an extremely reasonable price, the Kindle price of which is below any of the top ten fiction books on the New York Times bestseller list, making it an extraordinary value.
Stevens is the butler at a grand house, now with diminished staff and in the employ of "an American gentleman". Things are quiet and his employer encourages him to take a little holiday, giving him use of the Ford and offering to pay for petrol. Stevens sets off, with the aim to see a bit of the countryside but also to meet up with the former housekeeper, who has just left her husband to propose she rejoin the staff. As he travels he recollect past events at Darlington Hall where he was an observer and sometimes a participant. Some of the events are very amusing such as when he is recruited to explain the facts of life to the Lord's godson. Other events like the sacking of the two Jewish maids , and the death of Stevens' father are disturbing and very, very sad. Through it all the relationship of the butler and housekeeper with all its misunderstandings, talking at crosspurposes and emotional blindness of Stevens towards Miss Kenton, creates a fascinating but somewhat frustrating read. At times I just wanted to reach into the words and shake Stevens!
I have not seen the film and I am not sure I want to as I would hate it if they changed that ending.
Most recent customer reviews
The last part ruined the work. Another butler happens to be next on the bench?Read more
The Remains of the Day is the story of Mr.Stevens, a butler at the Darlington Hall.Read more