Book Review: The Remains Of The Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

We’ve had this book on the shelves for years and I finally got around to reading it a few weeks ago. I knew very little about it, just that Merchant Ivory had made film of it and it had something to do with a butler.

The book is set in 1956 but much of the story is told in flashbacks to earlier years. Our protagonist is Mr Stevens, a well-regarded butler who serves at Darlington Hall. His employer, an American, allows him a few days off. Prompted by a letter he has received from Miss Kenton, the Hall’s former Housekeeper, Stevens borrows his employer’s car and drives off to the West Country to see her again.

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The journey, however, is not the story. Much of the novel is Stevens’ musings on the role of a butler and how he measured up to it, the involvement of his former employer Lord Darlington with international affairs before the war and Stevens’ relationship with Miss Kenton. Stevens is a very serious man, uneasy with humour and something of a priss. This does not make him a character with whom it is easy to sympathise or relate, but that isn’t really necessary in a novel like this.

The book is very understated. A little too much so, especially in the finale, which is very short. Understated is good – you don’t want to bludgeon readers round the head with your point, but I felt more should have been made of it.


About elentari86

Apparently blogs need to cover a certain niche in order to attract readers. My aim is not to attract readers. I don't deny it would be nice not to just be spouting to myself, but the reason I set this blog up was to give myself somewhere to write down my thoughts. If anyone reads them, that's a bonus. This blog will cover a mix of things - anything that comes to mind that I want to write about. I make no promises about how often I will publish new content.
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