The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day

Book - 1988
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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.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, [1988]
New York : Vintage International, 1989
Copyright Date: ©1988
ISBN: 9780394573434
Branch Call Number: FICTION ISHIG...K


From Library Staff

Ishiguro's most famous novel tells the story of Stevens, 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... Read More »

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Nov 18, 2017

One of my favorite books. Seamlessly written. I love the way the underlying story dawns--even as the day (the butler's life, an era in England) is fading.

Nov 09, 2017

Butler on holiday through the countryside in the 1920’s confronts criticism of his previous master’s politics. The cool voice leaves you with great pity for the subservient Mr. Stevens - for his utter acceptance of loyalty, and for the author’s quiet mocking of his single vision narrator. Henry James satire in high modern English.

Mar 27, 2017

A great British work from the butler's point of view.

Mar 25, 2017

This is one of those instances in which I'm glad I saw the movie first. I love the story. It's about an era I've always had a great interest in, the time between the two world wars.

The movie was a precursor to Downtown Abbey. It starred Sir Anthony Hopkins, who is, in my opinion, the greatest dramatic actor ever, period. And, he starred with Emma Thompson, who I also love. I could possibly be that my appreciation for Sir Anthony's portrayal kept Stevens from coming across as completely devoid of human feelings. I had little sympathy for him until the final chapters when things suddenly become clear to him.

I honestly think having seen the movie made it easier for me to enjoy the book. In the book, the events are told from recall, with Stevens' complete insouciance of emotion providing commentary. In the movie, while Sir Anthony can deadpan better than most actors, he did manage to convey basic emotions.

Jan 19, 2017

I saw the movie made from this book quite a few years ago and liked it (Anthony Hopkins). You have to persist past the first chapter or two which are a bit of a snooze. After that, the character of the butler grabs you and you start trying to figure out what makes this guy tick. His relationship with the housekeeper is a big clue to his personality but it's a clue that's only completely revealed in the last pages.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

The Remains of the Day is a quiet, affecting novel that walks in the steps of a mid-twentieth century butler. Little happens in these pages that will excite your average reader. It is Ishiguro's ability to reveal the story so slowly, to create such a believable character, and to craft such a quietly devastating conclusion that makes this story “exciting”.

Jul 22, 2015

I was never one for historical fiction before this novel. The clever undertones, oblivious (or intentionally ignorant depending on your point of view) narrator, and feeling of a shared familiar story shared from a new perspective all contribute to making this book a must read. Ishiguro is the king of the slow-reveal while still keeping it fresh.

Mar 14, 2015

Read this book! It's interesting that a young Asian author wrote it. He writes from the perspective of an old school butler (who tells the story). The language is beautifully descriptive and fun to say out loud. The story is sound. Unrequited love theme. Just great! A -----Midas the Madman (PAY ME JACK!)

Oct 07, 2014

Mr. Stevens has been a butler in a great house since the 20s. It is now after the war and he embarks on a "motoring tour" to visit a former housekeeper. Throughout the trip he reminisces about his life. He has spent his life, his career, being invisible, emotionless and completely selfless. By the end his emotions are showing as he realizes his life has been basically wasted. The story kind of sucks you in with it's understated style. It's tragic and powerful. Man Booker prize winner in 1989.

May 02, 2014

This is a short book, but well worth reading. I don't usually read a book after seeing the movie, but I was glad I did this time. Now I'm going to see the movie again. I identified with the butler who gave up his personal happiness to do his duty.

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Mar 22, 2016

You've got to enjoy yourself. The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it. That's how I look at it. Ask anybody, they'll all tell you. The evening's the best part of the day.

Nov 29, 2013

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. Really--one has to ask oneself--what dignity is there in that?

Sep 24, 2010

The great butlers are by great by virtue of their ability to inhabit their professional role and inhabit it to the utmost; they will not be shaken out by external events, however surprising, alarming, or vexing. They wear their professionalism as a decent gentleman will wear his suit; he will not let ruffians or circumstance tear it off him n the pubic gaze; he will discard it, when, and only when, he wills to do so, and this will invariably be when he is entirely alone. It is, as I say, a matter of 'dignity'.


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Jul 22, 2015

lindendesai thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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