Book Review: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the DayThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (originally reviewed on 27 July’13 on goodreads)

The Remains of the Day is a Man Booker Prize winner(1989)  book by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is a tale of an elderly butler who gets the opportunity to take a vacation, travelling through the English country side on his employer’s motor. This is indeed quite a journey for him because during its course, he recollects his life events devoted to providing services to his employer and his qualities as a butler.

He shares his opinions on various matters from talking about what a great butler is to discussing the rightful meaning of dignity. This novel is based in the month of July’56 but tells you the story of how he used to think about the events that took place at his employer’s house from as early as the 20’s.

And it is also a journey through which he meets the housekeeper friend he once worked with and speaks of their encounters during that time but most importantly, he learns how he is going to spend the Remains of the Day.

Positive points:-

1.The first-narration is brilliant. It is a journal actually of the butler Mr. Stevens, that you get to read.

2.The opinions provided are something we could relate in our daily lives. Even at this advanced age, some notions do not change.

3.The character development is strong. The protagonist is an intelligent person, but always devoted to the area of his expertise, always concerned regarding things that came under his realm, which included providing services to the English Lords. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t opinionated. He put forth his opinions about many other areas of life, including a little bit regarding politics. But it was always in the shadow of what his lordship believed.

4.It is a quick read. Even though it is not mystery/thriller, it is still a page-turner. Because you want to know more and more about the protagonist, who has indeed left a mark on me.

5.You get an idea of life in the Great Britain during the years spanning from 1920-1956. So, it made it quite an intriguing read.

Negative points:-

1.There are certain paragraphs when it seems you are reading an essay, but for a story. But it is only a little bothersome.

Character sketch of the Protagonist:-

1.A devoted manservant, as being suggested already.

2.He is a little contradicting. But that could also be taken as open-minded; that he is ready to change his views about a specific thing.

3.He is not sentimental; not capable of showing his emotions or even empathizing with others.

4.He is pretentious, as being suggested by one another significant character in the book. He pretends a lot many times, that is true.

5.He is definitely an interesting person; a true English Gentleman, who takes pride in his work.

As you must have gathered from my review, I enjoyed reading this book. If you have read Never Let Me Go, then don’t worry- both the stories are completely different. And I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who likes to read about people, their lives, their work and their thoughts. But it is not for those who seek romance or thrill in reading. It is a plain novel which was quite an appealing read for me.

Note: The synopsis considers it to be a love-story, but in my eyes, the love in the story is pure that of respect towards a fellow human being you work with. Thus, I won’t consider it a romantic tale.

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