A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside – and into his past.
©1989 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2012 Canongate Books Ltd in partnership with Faber and Faber Ltd
I'd seen the movie - a long time ago - but had never read the book.
It is simply & beautifully told. Stevens sets out on a road trip in his employer's car for a week. The week is filled with reverie of his life over 30 years as butler to a great household & his relationship with former housekeeper Miss Kenton.
Stevens' focus throughout his career has been on dignity within his role as butler & we become aware what he has sacrificed to achieve & maintain this goal. He too seems to become aware & regrets the impact the sacrifice this focus has had on his relationship with his father & also his potential love interest.
Stevens' character is well crafted, the story is a moving one of a life when the large English houses were the hub of political activity. It is wonderfully told & narrated.
Stevens weighs his regrets but resolves to enjoy the remains of "his day".
I originally thought the narrative voice was too young but as the story progressed, his voice took on the gentle quality of the writing and his tone was just right. Sometimes, words need to be spoken aloud to appreciate the lyrical quality. This had a gentleness and a deep sense of loss.
The use of the journey to tell the stories about his life as a butler, his loyalties to his father and his ignorance in love.
Originally I thought his voice was too young but in the end I felt he had read the story with the poignancy it required.
No, this is a book that takes time, it is a journey.
I hadn't read the book or seen the film. I could hardly put my ipod down. So sad, so elegaic. ..A chronicle of wasted time...Probably won't listen again in case it makes me too sad.
I was so into this book, you really get a feel for all the characters. The narrator is awesome, he brings out the different personalities of all the charters. It was a wonderful experience.
I gave not read the print version so cannot judge
Mrs Dalaway people shaped by life
No and so not applicable
Very sad but reflective
Great book for opening up an awareness of life choices
The audio version is not as good as the book itself, but the book itself is so good that I don't believe it takes away from the audiobook at all!
Dominic West brings the whole character of Stevens to life with all his doubts, inconsistencies and flaws, but makes him all the more real because of it
I most enjoyed Stevens debates about the term dignity
I'd recommend this strongly to anyone!
"A Great Listen"
A moving story.
West is one of the best narrators I have listened to. He evokes emotions of the characters perfectly and establishes setting exquisitely.
Wanted it to continue!
"West and Ishiguro are a Great Combination"
I really enjoyed this, my second Ishiguro of the year. I loved the warmth of the narrative voice and how we never feel as if we’re supposed to be criticising Stevens, the butler, but I did find his lack of awareness and social conventions humourous - although this is contrasted well with some of the more poignant aspect of the novel. West does a fine job!
"A beautifully detailed portrait"
Glorious, unique, draining
I have absolutely no idea. I've never come across anything like it before. But I intend to listen to all of Kazuo Ishiguro's other novels as soon as possible!
The one where Miss Kenton demands to see what book Mr Stevens is reading. The atmosphere is so charged.
The final scene between Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton. My heart was breaking too.
Basically this is a book about an English butler's life told in reminiscences that included meditations on a butler's duty, anecdotes of guests in his employers house, and his almost totally repressed emotions. But it was nothing like as dry as that sounds. It was stunning. I was amused, educated, irritated and devastated in turn. While I ended up feeling mentally thrashed, I feel I could immediately start listening to it again.
"A plodding, tediously didactic, non-story."
The dialogue was extremely stilted and seemed unrealistically 'buttoned-up' - conversations were either banal or not believable; originally my suspicion was that it was an awkward translation from Japanese, but Wikipedia says the author has lived in the UK since he was five, so I guess it can't be blamed on being 'lost in translation'.! I am astounded that the book has won any prize and can only assume that the film adaptation made for a more lively and interesting experience. It was impossible to develop any empathy or even interest in the fate of the central character (also the narrator in the novel) and this made the whole boring narration very tedious and unengaging. Characterisations and dialogue were thin caricatures. It was as though the author wanted to make some points about society between the wars in the UK and felt he had to labour every point umpteen times via a tedious medium. I have never before felt sufficienlty motivated to write a review - this is my first - but this book was a real stinker and it compelled me to respond.
Warned the listener, about 15 minutes in, that they might as well skip to the last 30 minutes and save themselves the agony of enduring the rest of the book.
Yes, it was fairly pedestrian too (probably couldn't be hleped)..
"Perfect. One of my favourite books very well read."
I would confidently recommend this book to anyone who enjoys really good books. Anybody looking for action or drama will be disappointed but those who appreciate a beautiful story told at a leisurely pace will be delighted.
Very nicely read, with effective but unobtrusive differentiations between characters' voices. Somehow Stevens' crisp, cold observations are imbued with a depth of emotion that is at times heartbreaking.
I listened to this on a series of long drives. It is ideally suited to something like this, rather than in short snippets, as the narrative meanders through different eras in Stevens' life.
I loved the book when I read it, and I was greatly looking forward to listening to it. I was not disappointed. I will definitely listen to this again.
This is a lovely book, narrated by the protagonist, Stevens, a butler having a rare holiday to visit a former colleague.. as usual with such stories, the reader has to be aware that the view of the narrator may not be wholly accurate and trustworthy. Stevens' journey is both literal as he drives through a post-war Britain which is still evolving, and figurative as he remembers former days and former friendships and events.
I can warmly recommend this charming book. It deserved its Booker prize. It is beautifully narrated by Dominic West.
All in all a definite must have in the modern literary canon
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