From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous....
Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early-20th-century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when both his mother and father disappear under suspicious circumstances....
The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years....
This is the story of an artist as an aging man, struggling through the wreckage of Japan's World War II experience. Ishiguro's first novel....
The story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a story where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II....
One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character....
Leonardo da Vinci created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and engineering....
Anna Kerrigan, nearly 12 years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family....
A moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln....
A gripping psychological mystery, a wicked satire of the cult of art, and a poignant character study of a man whose public life has accelerated beyond his control....
A riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives....
Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant....
World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist....
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat....
Leo Tolstoy's classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature....
When, in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, he is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across from the Kremlin....
Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped....
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire....
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.
What made the experience of listening to The Remains of the Day the most enjoyable?
The narrator did a fabulous job of giving Mr. Stephens and all the other characters unique voices. He also had a way of making sure the humor of the novel, which is subtle with subtext, came across exactly as the author undoubtedly intended it to. I thoroughly enjoyed his reading.
What other book might you compare The Remains of the Day to and why?
I don't think I could compare this book with any other. It's quite unique.
Which scene was your favorite?
I can't say I have a favorite scene. The book is complex and tightly interwoven. But I loved Mr. Stephens and felt for him, even as he tried to keep his emotions bottled up.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me laugh and this was surprising.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Remains of the Day ended up in my reading list after being nominated for a 2013 Audie Award. I watched the movie years ago and knew the had won a Booker Award in 1989 when it came out. So after Audible had it on sale I started listening to it.
It is an excellent audiobook. Simon Prebble was a very good choice as narrator.
Mr Stevens has been at Darlington Hall for 35 years. Lord Darlington, his long time employer, passed away 3 years ago and the great house was purchased by an American business man. While the new owner is away, Mr Stevens decides to take a trip to see the former housekeeper.
His travels lead to long sections of reminiscence. The entire book is first person narration. Stevens alternates between occasionally realizing what is going on to being unable to really see what is going on around him. He maintains his ‘dignity’ even to the listener.
Much of the book is about Stevens trying to indirectly see whether the work of his life has had value. Stevens asserts that he has been great because he has served a great man. (Although many others believe that Lord Darlington was actually a fool that was played by Hitler to keep Britain out of the war for as long as possible.)
So I am struck by how different this book would be if Lord Darrington was a great man instead of someone that was out of his depth. Stevens believed that service was more important than his own happiness. And I think many readers that find this book tragic would commend him if he had served Winston Churchill or another Lord that ended up being truly great. So I wonder at the implicit idea that underlies the entire book.
On the other hand this is a great book to illustrate cognitive dissonance (the idea that we come to believe something different from reality in order to make ourselves feel better.) The best book I have read on that is Mistakes Were Made, but Not By Me.
I really did enjoy the book, it was performed excellently. And it really did challenge me to think about what we serve (or who we serve) and how thing outside our power can forever affect the way we perceive ourselves. In the end I think I come to a different conclusion then the book intended. But it is still well worth reading.
(originally published on my blog, Bookwi.se)
42 of 44 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Well of course I'm going to give this 5 stars. <br/><br/>Interesting that a novel written in 1988 by a man who wasn't born in England could write one of what I would consider one of the great novels of English literature. A lot of novels I'm sure have attempted to carry on the tradition of this sort of 'novel of manners and society', but this is probably the last, great one we'll ever see. Fitting then that it would be about the ending of things.<br/><br/>For myself, a great novel (or any work of art) is one which gets you thinking about yourself. I tended to think a lot about my own missed opportunities, my age, what lies ahead, and most importantly the feeling of the people around me. I wondered how what I might assume someone I know is thinking or feeling could very well be wrong - that I'm oblivious to a great many things because I can't see past my own nose. <br/><br/>Yet Mr. Stevens never seemed worried about this because he always knew his duty. His duty carried him through all things and so he never once questioned if he might ever be wrong. He's even asked by Mr. Cardinal on the night of the great meeting if he believes what his Lordship is doing is 'right' and he only replies that it's not his place to know. Right and wrong only become a concern to him when dealing with the topic of a butler serving a worthy employer. <br/><br/>Of course, putting aside lords and butlers, Mr. Ishiguro is obviously concerned with larger issues, chiefly the idea of allowing oneself to be led by another who may not be as moral as you would like - which is why Hitler is such a good backdrop since he took full advantage of people's allegiance to the German state. That unquestioning loyalty seems quite dangerous against the Nazi flag, yet here we see it with the good intentions of a naive English gentleman and his loyal butler. And the price both paid were costly, but at least Mr. Stevens got some good advice about always looking forward and so his fate is not as bleak as Darlington's. <br/><br/>Oh well, I could go on and on, and that's what makes this such a wonderful novel. I'm glad I read it so soon after reading Fathers and Sons too - I feel as if I've read some of the greatest novels ever written and they are both stories I am very sad to have to put down.
48 of 52 people found this review helpful
I am really enjoying the book. Simon Prebble could read me the telephone book and I would give it five stars but the format 2 version that I am listening to is full of pops and hisses.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
I am a true fan of Kazuo Ishiguro's novels but had the most difficulty with this one (despite the fact that it is the book that catapulted him to fame). It starts off and moves *SO* slowly that only my stubbornness ensured that I completed it (hence the 4 stars for story). The narrator is wonderful, but this is the first Audiobook I've ever listened to that included *so many* "patches"--places where the narrator's voice suddenly changed and it seemed that a line or two had been added after the fact, as if the master recording were not good enough, or the master had been created from an abridged edition of the book and then beefed up for the release of an unabridged audiobook. This was irritating to me because the change in voice was noticeable enough that it broke my concentration. Had it occurred just a few times over the course of the book I would not have cared, but given that it happened about 50+ times I found it quite annoying and unprofessional (of the recording studio, not the narrator, who was only doing his job).
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Remains of the Day the most enjoyable?
Prebble's reading is spot on.
What does Simon Prebble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Prebble's nuanced performance of the main character.
Any additional comments?
This is a thoughtful classic. If you are looking for plot, suspence, action look elsewhere.
25 of 29 people found this review helpful
This book is for the Downton Abbey fans, of which I am one. I have been listening to mysteries so this is a nice change of pace. I really enjoyed the way the story was told through the road trip of Stevens,the main character and the way he looked back on his life.
Stevens is unapologetically himself till the bitter end, which ends up being a little heart breaking. He is bound by rules of convention. if only in his own mind. And although it irritated me, the way he stuck to these rules, it ultimately defines who he is and therefore it can be no other way.
22 of 26 people found this review helpful
This is not a new book, but it was new to me this year, and wow, just wow. The author overlays a deep undercurrent of emotion with plain, simple language and a seemingly simple story. I've never read anything quite like it. I listened to this on a long car trip and the time zoomed by. It's a book that's also an experience.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I can’t help comparing and contrasting “Remains of the Day” with “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. The first is a minor literary masterpiece, the second a jejeune bit of literary fluff that had its faddish moment of popularity and will be unremembered a decade hence. But in what consists the difference?
Is “Remains of the Day” a better novel simply because of Stevens "good accent and command of language"? Or is it gilded by historical perspective: is mid-century past simply more romantic than the current decade; is it inevitable that prose from that era will inherently have more literary “quality” than something written for the internet audience?
The superiority of “Remains of the Day” resides in the profundity of its theme. Ishiguro has hit on a cultural truth: that the characteristics that defined what was quintessentially British, when “British” was still a unique culture, were reified in the personae of the butler from a great house. Not in Rachel Joyce’s (or T.S. Elliot’s) hapless everyman, not in Anthony Trollope’s patrician nobility and clergy, but in that singular cultural habiltator, the butler. Don’t ask me to enumerate these cultural traits: even the butler, James Stevens cannot define them . But he knows what is and is not “British”.
Culture is critically important but impossible to define. Ishiguro may have come as close as anyone has to fixing upon the definition of the culture of Imperial Britain. Thanks, perhaps, to that ever so slight separation between himself and British tradition.
If you are forced to choose, listen to this before “Harold Fry”.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
Am not sure how long it would have taken to read the book... truly enjoyed listening to it; it was beautifully read! Thank you
2 of 2 people found this review helpful