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The Remains of the Day Paperback – Jun 1 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (June 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394251342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394251349
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,184,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Toni Risson on May 2 2002
Format: Paperback
The Remains of the Day
By Kazuo Ishiguro
Faber and Faber, 1989.
"It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days."
Thus, Kazuo Ishiguro begins Mr Stevens' six-day journey to Cornwall in 1956 to reclaim the services of Miss Kenton, lost to both his employer and himself some twenty years before. Set in the 1930s at Darlington Hall, a secluded mansion in the romantic, English countryside, The Remains of the Day is a delicate story told by a masterful storyteller of the friendship between Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton, the butler and the housekeeper, and the love that grows between them and lasts for the rest of their lives.
Set against the backdrop of the quiet beauty and elegance of the fading world of English aristocracy, The Remains of the Day won the Booker Prize in 1989. It highlights Ishiguro's gift for poignant character studies of masculinity that continues with Mr Ryder in The Unconsoled (1995).
Mr Stevens is the perfect, English butler, studious and analytical, sensitive and diplomatic, with all the refined elegance of a gentleman's gentleman. But Mr Stevens is also the flawed man of Shakespearian tragedy. Since the most important thing in his life is always the practice of his profession, he is oblivious to the world around him. He entertains no opinion about the covert dinners at Darlington Hall with Germans and other heads of Europe in the lead up to WWII and is ignorant of his own repressed love for Miss Kenton. Mr Stevens' identity is subsumed by his role as butler.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By susancb on Feb. 22 2002
Format: Paperback
This novel is so heartbreakingly beautiful I get shivers even thinking about it. I loved it on so many levels: as a portrait of upper-class England between the wars, as a subtle tale of unrequited love, as an examination of regret at the end of one's life. It's absolutely a must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anardana on July 17 2010
Format: Paperback
This was the best contemporary book that I read as part of my English degree at university. It is about duty, human relations, love, and fear of our emotions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By francis on Nov. 4 2001
Format: Paperback
Ishiguro's Remains of the Day is a strong study in masterful characterization. In the always professional Stevens, Ishiguro crafts a convincing character that serves as a strong instrument to convey the observations on the human condition that he wishes to expound.
Stevens gladly sacrifices his personal life (such as it is) in order to provide good service to Lord Darlington, and finds dignity and purpose in "serving those great gentlemen at the hub of this world." In his unstinting professionalism Stevens is oblivious to the overtures of Miss Kenton, Darlington Hall's housekeeper. Ultimately, Stevens questions his loyalty to the perfidious Lord Darlington and regrets his decision to ignore Miss Kenton's romantic advances.
While the tone is rather gloomy up until the very end, Remains of the Day is actually and uplifting and reaffirming tale. Stevens, while never breaking his buttoned-up professional character, realizes that he must make time for himself and forgive himself for allowing his personal affairs to fall into a state of desuetude.
Remains of the Day falls short in dealing with the other characters, none of which exhibit the strength and believability of Stevens. The backward-looking narration style is effective in emphasizing Stevens's increasingly introspective nature, but Ishiguro is unable to build other strong characters to interact with Stevens. Furthermore, the fact that Stevens has his epiphany with a stranger is a strong break in character, and proves to be an ineffective climax. Overall, Ishiguro crafts a good, but not by any means great, read in Remains of the Day.
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By Boyko Ovcharov TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 26 2013
Format: Paperback
It is certainly one of the greatest contemporary books in English for a very simple reason. Namely, if we forget about the exact time frame or locus and socio-cultural conditions surrounding the plot, we can still enjoy a fully developed story, which is totally human, emotionally involving and life fulfilling. The underlying love story is the underpinning of the whole scenario, although it is not intrusive by any means. Despite not achieving his love eventually, the butler has got to know the real meaning of that word and remains a man of real honour till the very end. In other words, a great book by an even greater author with an amazing biography.
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By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 4 2011
Format: Paperback
After immersing myself in two of Ishiguro's masterpieces lately, Never Let Me Go and the Artist of the Floating World, I realized I had never read this book, even though one of my favorite movies was based on it.

Yet again, Ishiguro makes use of the fickle processes of memory recall, giving his book a very familiar and organic feel. Events unfold like yellowed notes dropping haphazardly from old books as one pulls them from their shelves on a lazy afternoon.

James Stevens, butler to Darlington Hall, is on a slow motor-trip towards the West country hoping for a second chance to make up for a life wasted on misplaced trust. During this trip he reminisces on the events up to that point and comes to realize that striving to be "possessed of a dignity in keeping with one's position" entailed sacrifices much greater than anticipated. At the same time, the rewards for this accomplishment are very conditional.

The book is mesmerizing and beautiful, the characters deep, their motives familiar and their decisions universally understood. Kazuo Ishiguro not only recreated the 1930's atmosphere but also a timeless character that embodies the essence of dignity - and exemplifies the irrevocable consequences of misplaced loyalty.

A MASTERPIECE.
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