The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Published by Faber & Faber
Published 8 January 2009 (first published in 1989)
Digital library book
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
‘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?’
In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the English 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 English House, of lost causes and lost love.
The Remains of the Day is now available as a Faber Modern Classics edition.
It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The movie version of The Remains of the Day is among my favourites. I thought this book was great as well. The movie is close to the book, which had an odd effect; every time Stevens or Miss Kenton spoke in the book Anthony Hopkins or Emma Thompson started walking and talking inside my head. Anyway, The Remains of the Day is a great book. It’s beautiful, sad, haunting and affected me deeply. It also frustrated the hell out of me – Why did Steven have to be so proper and dignified? Why couldn’t he just tell Emma (sorry, Miss Kenton) that he was madly in love with her, so in love in fact, he behaved like a baboon? Why couldn’t she? Argh, if people love each other they should just come out and say it and stop this tiptoeing around each other for years. The Remains of the Day is a brilliant example of love not spoken. Of course they love each other, they both know it, the whole knows it but those words are never spoken. My poor heart almost couldn’t stand it. I loved the way Stevens recalls the past on the trip to meet Miss Kenton, now married with a child and about to become a grand-parent for the first time in many years. Stevens is a great character, a proper, dignified, English gentleman. I really loved his first person voice which made the book very emotional. The ending, when Stevens and Miss Kenton meet almost made me cry with frustration – I wanted to scream at my Kindle Fire it’s just three little words – go on and say them – before I start blubbering. What I really liked about The Remains of the Day as well is the way it depicts a lost way of life – butlers and staff in grand old English houses. I enjoyed Stevens’s anecdotes about his life at Darlington Hall. The Remains of the Day gave my heart a little punch. I’d highly recommend this book.