The Remains of the Day is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo . In , The Remains of the Day was included in a Guardian list of "Books you can't live without" and also in a " novels everyone must read". In the summer of , Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. 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. The Remains of the Day is a book about a thwarted life. It's about how class conditioning can turn you into your own worst enemy, making you.

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The Remains of the Day [Kazuo Ishiguro] on Story time just got better with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers editorially hand-picked. The Remains of the Day is told in the first-person narration of an English butler named Stevens. In July , Stevens decides to take a six- day road trip to the. 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.

Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other: Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Librarian's note: See alternate cover edition of ISBN here. In the summer of , 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 unrealised love between the butler and his Librarian's note: 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 unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper.

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The Remains of the Day

Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Farraday , Reginald Cardinal Man Booker Prize Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Remains of the Day , please sign up. What is the significance of the country doctor who gives Stevens a ride back to his out-of-gas Ford after an unplanned overnight stay in an out-of-the-way town? Before they part, this doctor questions Stevens if he might be a "man servant", which should be considered an insult to Stevens butlers do not think of themselves as servants.

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 …more I found it significant in a number of ways. We hadn't seen that before, because he seemed to take such pride in trying to be the best possible member of his "profession. 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.

This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [So, after finishing the book, there is no doubt that Miss Kenton loved Stevens. My question is why? Stevens doesn't really show traits that I would find lovable, so I was curious as to what Miss Kenton saw in him. I have my own theories, but I would love to hear other viewpoints from the Goodreads Community!

Michiel I 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.

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.

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. See all 11 questions about The Remains of the Day…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Kazuo Ishiguro writes the anti-haiku: Yet what his writin Kazuo Ishiguro writes the anti-haiku: Yet what his writing shares with the haiku is the bringing about of enlightenment -- it arrives, tarnished and the worse for wear, in the end.

Stevens, a butler, has spent his life defining himself by his occupation. However, after having spent his best years in the service of the Nazi-sympathizing British aristocrat Lord Darlington, he necessarily grows introspective.

When his new employer -- a wealthy American that is himself a signifier of the changed order of postwar Europe -- urges him to take a brief vacation, Stevens is forced to face the consequences of his life's decisions. Without his domestic rituals to brace him, his identity unravels. He grasps at the phantom of native British superiority which has proven illusory -- the empire lay in ruins, and the men who comprised its ruling class are a weary and incompetent bunch the likes of his previous employer.

He remembers the imposing physicality of his long-dead father but is forced to see the broken man who expired waiting upon others.

His threadbare philosophizing over "dignity" and what it means to his bearing and station finally collapses, and he admits his own personal failings with fellow servant Miss Kenton, who represents, fleetingly, a chance at redemption and happiness. View all 39 comments. Aug 02, Adina rated it it was amazing Shelves: Just announced as Winner of the Nobel Prize !!!

Well deserved. It feelt 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 magnifice Just announced as Winner of the Nobel Prize !!! Although the quote depicts the magnificent English countryside It can be applied to the novel as well. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it. The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and I, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services.

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 is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment. After the war and the death of its owner the manor changes its ownership but the reduced staff remains with the new employer, an American known as Mr. When the new owner returns to the States for a few weeks he proposes to Stevens to borrow his car and enjoy a drive in the countryside.

Although reluctant at first, the butler decides to take on the offer after he receives a letter from a former housekeeper of the Hall, Miss Kenton to who it seems that he holds some affection. He decides to visit her in order to suggest to return to work at the Hall. One could presumably drive oneself to distraction in this way.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – a subtle masterpiece of quiet desperation

In any case, while it is all very well to talk of 'turning points', one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect.

Naturally, when one looks back to such instances today, they may indeed take the appearance of being crucial, precious moments in one's life; but of course, at the time, this was not the impression one had.

Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one's relationship with Miss Kenton; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding. There was surely nothing to indicate at the time that such evidently small incidents would render whole dreams forever irredeemable. It is the voice of the butler who writes in the restrained, formal manner suitable for his job.

Really - one has to ask oneself - what dignity is there in that? View all 86 comments.

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.

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 This is one of the most beautifully mannered, subtle books I've read in a long, long time. 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 protagonist cannot.

For all that Stevens himself agonises over 'banter' and 'wit' and how to be amusing, this book is very funny itself in some places; it's a fine example of a comedy of manners. The subtlety of it all, and Stevens often painful obliviousness to social cues really lends itself well to that. Highly, highly recommended. View all 12 comments. Aug 21, Kecia rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: 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 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 It's not what happens in this story that's important, it's what doesn't happen. It was a bittersweet moment when he admitted to his heart breaking I hurt so badly for him but for the first time he acknowledge his emotions and so I was happy for me.

This story reminds me of why it is important to LIVE your life. I do hope Stevens uses the remains of his day to learn to banter and create friendships for himself. I think perhaps he will.

View all 20 comments. So Ishiguro has won the noble prize for literature This quote from the yeasterday's guardian article says it all to me: Ishiguro is good, and this book is very good. It totally deserved the man booker prize, but did Ishiguro really deserve the noble prize for literature? Food for thought. Ishiguro has such a developed way of exploring consciousness, the power of repression, self-serving denial and the destructive consequences of regret.

The narrator of this is a stiffly rigid and rather dry old butler. He has given everything over to his profession; he has left little room for his own personality to develop. So, there is very little left of the individual left on the surface. He is simply is professional butler modelled round his current employers own characteristics. What he so desperately needed was an awakening: But, that would be impossible in its entirety.

It takes Stevenson a long time even remember who he is. But, he must delve even deeper into the past to fully remember himself.

He must see deeper into the regretful decisions he has made, though he can never fully acknowledge such regret because to do so would be to destroy himself, rendering an entire life meaningless, worthless and wasted. He has spent his entire professional life behind a mask. He has no real friends, and his relationship with his farther is strained, to say the least.

There are a few moments when the veil slips; however, they are not really visible to other characters. I think at times, this has gone so far that, Stevenson actually forgets who he is. The mask takes over and controls his behaviour; there is little room for sentiment or friendship: You knew how upset I was when the girls were dismissed. Do you realize how much it would have helped me?

Why, Mr Stevens, why, why, why do you always have to pretend? Indeed, he becomes like his farther. He is stuck in this perpetual state. His brief holiday sends all his memories crashing back; he sees the different paths he could have taken had he been more open to his own desires. There are degrees of regret within his story, but he cannot full let go; he cannot fully admit that he wishes he had lived his own life. He has gone too far to simply change his ways.

If he changed now, his life would have been a waste. He must continue on this road, one that will not allow him to enjoy the remains of his days.

This is a sad novel; it depicts a character that is so unbelievably stubborn that he prevents himself from receiving any regeneration or redemption. He cannot change, and this is his doom. He is frustrating and stoic. He is a nonchalant man who simply refuses to acknowledge his own feelings. As a character he is superbly written, but on an individual level I found him somewhat pitiable.

This is part of the wonder of the story, though. Stevens is his role; he will never transgress it. I just felt so sorry for him because he really has had a wasted life; yes, he has had a successful career; yes, he has met some prestigious political figures and foreign dignitaries; yes, he believes he is accomplished and successful, but, at the route of things, he is undeniably woeful and lonely. These are simply the excuses he tells himself. He has missed out on friendship and love: In this, Ishiguro delivers an awe inspiringly powerful statement in regards to the dangers of a life of pretending.

This was moving, compelling and excellent. View all 13 comments. Jan 29, Nataliya rated it it was amazing Shelves: You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy 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 and characters. At its heart, it's a story of searching for something irrevocably lost in life, a story of memory and its elusive unreliability.

It's beautiful and haunting, with initial rose-tinged glow of nostalgia slowly and subtly morphing into quiet gentle regret, managing to coexist with dry humor and bits of satire. It's a book of uncommon quality, one that's impossible to forget, one that deserves every ounce of praise that's it's been showered with.

The Remains of the Day

What is dignity? What is greatness? How do you define your purpose? These are questions Stevens - a quintessential English butler at the twilight of his life not surprisingly coinciding with the twilight of the British Empire - ponders during his drive through the countryside in the search of an old friend, a former housekeeper who, Stevens thinks, would make a great addition to the dwindled staff of a once-great manor now owned by a rich American after the death of its former aristocratic owner, the Lord in whose employ Stevens had faithfully spent several decades.

To Stevens, the answers are initially clear - the purpose and satisfaction, the all-elusive dignity itself lies in the unquestionable loyalty and devotion to the great ones of this world, by association with whom you matter, too.

But as the miles roll by, the pull of Darlington Hall seems to lessen and bit by bit, flashback by flashback in a surprisingly formal stream of consciousness the glimpses of the truth begin to appear, and how unsettling they are!

Bit by bit, mostly not through what he tells us but instead precisely through what he does not tell we come to see that poor Stevens is perhaps the most unreliable narrator there ever was.

Starting from a formal, stiff but still confident narration at the beginning of Stevens' journey, we end up eventually on a bench on a pier, glimpsing into his very private pain and heartbreak as he contemplates the remains of his life at the titular remains of the day. Bit by bit, through at times reluctant, limited and yet unfailingly honest narration we get to experience the story of a man who put loyalty and faithful service above all, pursuing the coveted dignity, clinging to the well-defined class roles and rigid expectations, denying his own self in attempts to live up to the duty, the quintessential Englishness that already in his time is becoming obsolete.

I will hereafter devote myself to serving him. It's what's left unsaid that paints the real picture - the disappointments, the loss, the lonely empty existence intentionally devoid of love and warmth. And how can he? After all, he has based his entire self-worth, his entire sense of being on devotedly serving a supposedly great and noble man, feeling that in some little way he, Stevens, had something to do with shaping the fate of the world.

Openly admitting that Lord Darlington's made huge mistakes would shatter Stevens' entire self, making everything useless - missing his father's death, going along with bigotry and prejudice, and giving up a chance at love, warmth and human companionship. And yet, at the end, just for a moment or so the impeccable facade of quintessential English butler cracks and a pained confused man faces the realizations that are too unsettling to avoid: I gave him the very best I had to give, and now - well - I find I do not have a great deal more left to give.

He wasn't a bad man at all. And at least he had the privilege of being able to say at the end of his life that he made his own mistakes. His lordship was a courageous man. He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least.

As for myself, I cannot even claim that.

You see, I trusted. I trusted in his lordship's wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can't even say I made my own mistakes. View all 22 comments. Jan 16, Annet rated it really liked it Shelves: 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.

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The novel was published in , when Margaret Thatcher was in power in England. She was the leader of the Conservative Party, also known as the Tories, and made neoliberalism the philosophical heart of her agenda as did Ronald Reagan, when he was in power.

Neoliberalism, as a term and philosophy, was first formulated in the s by a man named Friedrich Hayek. As an agenda, neoliberalism aimed — and succeeded — at remolding social reality.

People ceased to be thought of as individuals with inalienable rights, vested with meaningful thoughts and feelings. Under neoliberalism, your worth is directly correlated to your salary. Stevens is, essentially, the ideal neoliberal cog.

Benton after she tells him that she likes to imagine the kind of life they would have had together. To be bound to a fine and noble house means everything to Stevens, since it means he is fine and noble, too.

Marshall of Charleville House, or Mr. Lane […] It is not at all easy to define just what this quality is. The fact is, the world today is a very complicated and treacherous place.

There are many things you and I are simply not in a position to understand concerning, say, the nature of Jewry. This mentality is catastrophic, as we all know. Stevens accepts, and sets out for Cornwall , where Miss Kenton now Mrs.

Benn lives. During his journey, Stevens reflects on his unshakable loyalty to Lord Darlington, who had hosted lavish meetings between German sympathizers and English aristocrats in an effort to influence international affairs in the years leading up to World War II ; on the meaning of the term "dignity" and what constitutes a great butler; and on his relationship with his late father, another "no-nonsense" man who dedicated his life to service.

Ultimately, Stevens is forced to ponder Lord Darlington's character and reputation, as well as the true nature of his relationship with Miss Kenton. As the book progresses, evidence mounts of Miss Kenton's and Stevens' past mutual attraction and affection. While they worked together during the years leading up to the Second World War , Stevens and Miss Kenton failed to admit their true feelings toward one other.

Their conversations as recollected by Stevens show a professional friendship which at times came close to blossoming into romance, but this was evidently a line that neither dared cross. Stevens in particular never yielded, even when Miss Kenton tried to draw closer to him. When they finally meet again, Mrs. Benn, having been married now for more than twenty years, admits to wondering if she made a mistake in marrying, but says she has come to love her husband and is looking forward to the birth of their first grandchild.

Stevens later muses over lost opportunities, both with Miss Kenton and regarding his decades of selfless service to Lord Darlington, who may not have been worthy of his unquestioning fealty.

At the end of the novel, Stevens instead focuses on the titular "remains of the day", referring to his future service with Mr.

Farraday and what is left of his own life. On his motoring trip, Stevens briefly comes into contact with several other characters. They are mirrors to Stevens and show the reader different facets of his character; they are also all kind and try to help him. Two in particular, Dr. Carlisle and Harry Smith, highlight themes in the book. The most important aspect of Stevens' life is his dignity as an English butler. To Stevens, what defines a "great butler" is a constant attitude of refined dignity, especially under stressful situations.

As such, Stevens constantly maintains an inward and outward sense of dignity to preserve his identity, and dedicated himself wholly to the service of Lord Darlington. This philosophy of dignity, however, greatly affects Stevens' life—largely with respect to social constraints, loyalty and politics, and love and relationships.

In preserving his dignity at the expense of emotion, Stevens in a way loses his sense of humanity with respect to his personal self. Stevens' primary struggle within the novel is how his dignity relates to his own experiences, as well as the role his dignity plays in the past, present, and future.

by Kazuo Ishiguro

In the prologue, Stevens notes that his new American employer, Mr. Farraday, takes a more casual attitude with his servants than Lord Darlington did, and seems to expect to banter with Stevens. Determined to please his employer, Stevens takes this new duty very seriously. He sets out to practice and study the art of banter, including listening to a radio programme called Twice a Week or More for its witticisms.

He attempts to banter with people he meets during his vacation, but his remarks fall flat. He agonises over this, yet fails to realise that it is his delivery that is lacking. The true significance of banter becomes apparent at the end of the novel, when Stevens has met the retired butler who strikes up a conversation with him and tells him to enjoy his old age.

Stevens then listens to the chatter of the people around him, in a positive frame of mind, and realises that banter is "the key to human warmth". The novel does not present Stevens' situation as simply a personal one.More filters. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. During their time at Darlington Hall, Stevens chose to maintain a sense of distance born from his personal understanding of dignity, as opposed to searching and discovering the feelings that existed between himself and Miss Kenton.

Life ends there, full-stop. I realise that I am now in the afternoon of my life. The Remains of the Day. When Miss Kenton announces that his father has died, and that Stevens should come upstairs to see him, he delivers one of the most memorable lines in the book: There are many things you and I are simply not in a position to understand concerning, say, the nature of Jewry. They are mirrors to Stevens and show the reader different facets of his character; they are also all kind and try to help him.