Audie Award Nominee, Literary Fiction, 2013
The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving "a great gentleman". But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness" and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.
©1989 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2012 Tantor
"A tour de force - both a compelling psychological study and a portrait of a vanished social order." (Publishers Weekly)
I just couldn't get in to this book - I tried 2 times to listen to it thinking it was me. It was the book. The narrator was great, the idea was wonderful, the writing was fine but sooooo boring. I thought maybe something interesting was just around the corner but no, just boring.
The Remains of the day is a work of art. The writing so effortless that initially the reader would believe it’s about servants in the United Kingdom prior to WWII. Each word is chosen; the sentences constructed in such a way that initially one wonders how they will get through such a tediously slow and methodic work. Once the reader clicks in that the pace is intentional and the still waters are deep – the beauty of this beautiful work overtakes you. At the end you feel blessed to have learned a lesson in the nick of time.
The story takes place over as Mr. Steven’s, an English butler, motors to visit a former staff person. During his drive he reminisces about events in his life, when he felt he was on the edge of greatness and during times that he shared with his former employee, in a first person point of view. The reader sees the picture from a clearer perspective than the narrator as her motors farther and farther away from his typical surroundings.
This is an utterly boring and tedious book. I cannot understand how it won prizes.
The butler obviously has a very small world in which he lives, as he narrates all of the tiny details that a normal person wouldn’t consciously voice or even notice. His narration is filled with the most banal drivel. I had to listen to the whole book, as my promise to myself is to always complete a book once I begin reading it. This was pure torture.
This exceeded my expectations. I have found myself living in the past as our protagonist had and found many ways and reasons to regret. This is a great lesson in that universal condition.
the butler's attempt at humor
Not if they are like this one.
Avoid reading books about English butlers
Well written, but not for me. I love Jane Austin, but I had nothing in common with this book except for being American like the last owner of Darrington.
Love well written and well narrated books of any type.
Have not read the print book but the audiobook is wonderful.
I am unable to think of a good comparison,
The protagonist. He was a real person warts and all and best of all he was human. I identified with all of his actions.
The father of the protagonist. He was such a proud but hidebound man. There were scenes involving him that brought me to tears.
I have listened to this several times and it never ages. Simon Prebble's narration was superb, as always,
Big-time reader/audiobook nut
I would listen to the novel again due to the story. The story is strange but good.
Good for storyline
I would take Miss Kenton to dinner because there is more to her than the narration gives.
I am a filmmaker, actor, novelist and playwright. At my day job I have 5-8hrs a day of audio book time making Audible my newest addiction.
It was a finely written piece. The subject matter didn't hold my interest.
Simon Prebble has an excellent speaking voice. He sounds like a soft spoken John Hurt. This being said I hate everything he reads because of the production value of the recording itself. There are so many spits and pops while he speaks that it gives me a migraine. This is my third accidental experience with him. He seems to always be reading the classics I'm interested in experiencing. It started with 1984. Loved the book, his reading was solid (even if he only has about three character voices). It was followed by Great Expectations... and now Remains of the Day. I appreciate Simon Prebble for the lesson he taught me. I always check who narrates specifically so I can avoid anything he's involved in.
I realize that this review isn't particularly constructive. I enjoy listening to the classics and sometimes they are just too boring for my attention. Add Simon Prebble's terrible production value and I'm left not only bored but with a lingering migraine.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I know this was an audie award winner. The narration was excellent. The story not so much. In fact I found it rather tedious. It is the story of a butler in one of the "better" homes in England. As a butler you would say life is not too exciting. Neither is this book. There is an entire chapter on what makes a "proper" English butler. The excitement begins when the butler talks of a few days to drive across England (that's a snooze too).
If you like books about England society, then you may enjoy this book. If you don't then expect to be pretty bored. Actually I almost like it because I listen to books sometimes to help me fall asleep at night. This book commendably accomplished that job.
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