The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day

Book - 1989
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During the summer of 1956, Stevens, the aging butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely motoring holiday that will take him deep into the heart of the English countryside and thence into his past.
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Lester & Orpen Dennys, c1989.
ISBN: 9780571154913
Characteristics: 245 p. ;,22 cm.


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Dec 19, 2018

This book is a thought-provoking and delightful read. As Mr. Stevens motors his way through the countryside he reflects on happenings both past and present. His quest for dignity is a prevalent theme as are his ruminations on acquiring the gift of bantering. The past includes momentous and historical happenings as well as encounters with Miss Kenton, the former housekeeper. Those exchanges remind me of Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes in the Downton series, but without the happy pairing of the two. . . yet we find ourselves daring to hope for more.

Is the reputation of the butler solely tied to his lordship? Does he have individual liberties and obligations outside of his loyalty to the house he serves? As Stevens reflects on "the remains of his day," we do so as well. Very appropriate book group selection. No wonder it was a Nobel prize winner.

Jan 27, 2018

So amazing. What a well-written book.

It's hard to describe what it's like, but the author is so clever at revealing the past slowly. I can see why this book has won so many prizes. It's a treat to read.

It reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey. I think it made a bit more sense to me because I have seen that show, so I could picture it clearly in my head and just hear him talking.

I recommend this for anyone.

Jan 12, 2018

Frankly I only picked up this book because it was a Booker Prize winner and by a Nobel Prize winning author. It was a P.G. Wodehouse meets Jane Austen account of four decades of a British butler's life. Stevens the Butler has a wonderful voice as he tells his tale of all that transpired in Lord Darlington's mansion and subsequently of the scaling down by the new American owner. I enjoyed his style and the undercurrent of unrequited romance. I would unhesitatingly recommend this book. It is a breath of fresh air.

Jan 08, 2018

I chose this book because Kazuo Ishiguro had won the Nobel Prize in Literature and I was really excited to read something of his, maybe a little too excited. I guess the low rating is a result of how boring I found the book, yet I think that is the only reason for the low rating. I found it interesting how the author went into the politics of being a butler and the art of being a butler and the heavily debated topics of what makes a good butler, but there is only so much I could stand.
The main character is excellently crafted and he reminded me a little bit of Monk, I was annoyed at him many times and I felt sadness for him as his residence diminished in size, yet the book was lacking. However, I don't think there is anyone who could have written a better book with the same plot. I am looking forward to reading his other books, with a little bit of caution.
PS I feel like I definitely missed something that others understood.

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 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.

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Sep 27, 2018

"Lord Darlington wasn't a bad man. 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 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?"

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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