The Remains of discount outlet online sale the Day online

The Remains of discount outlet online sale the Day online

The Remains of discount outlet online sale the Day online
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Product Description

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, here is the universally acclaimed novel—winner of the Booker Prize and the basis for an award-winning film.
 
This is Kazuo Ishiguro''s profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England. Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the "great gentleman," Lord Darlington. But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington''s "greatness," and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.

Amazon.com Review

The novel''s narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens'' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

Review

“An intricate and dazzling novel.” — The New York Times
 
“Brilliant and quietly devastating.” — Newsweek
 
A virtuoso performance ... put on with dazzling daring and aplomb.” — The New York Review of Books
 
“A perfect novel. I couldn’t put it down.” —Ann Beattie
 
“The novel rests firmly on the narrative sophistication and flawless control of tone ... of a most impressive novelist.” —Julian Barnes

From the Inside Flap

iritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England. A wonderful, wonderful book.

From the Back Cover

A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England. A wonderful, wonderful book.

About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro is the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages. Both  The Remains of the Day and  Never Let Me Go have sold more than 1 million copies, and both were adapted into highly acclaimed films. Ishiguro''s other work includes  The Buried Giant,  Nocturnes, A Pale View of the Hills, and  An Artist of the Floating World.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PROLOGUE • JULY 1956

Darlington Hall

It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days. An expedition, I should say, which I will undertake alone, in the comfort of Mr Farraday''s Ford; an expedition which, as I foresee it, will take me through much of the finest countryside of England to the West Country, and may keep me away from Darlington Hall for as much as five or six days. The idea of such a journey came about, I should point out, from a most kind suggestion put to me by Mr Farraday himself one afternoon almost a fortnight ago, when I had been dusting the portraits in the library. In fact, as I recall, I was up on the step-ladder dusting the portrait of Viscount Wetherby when my employer had entered carrying a few volumes which he presumably wished returned to the shelves. On seeing my person, he took the opportunity to inform me that he had just that moment finalized plans to return to the United States for a period of five weeks between August and September. Having made this announcement, my employer put his volumes down on a table, seated himself on the chaise-longue, and stretched out his legs. It was then, gazing up at me, that he said:

''You realize, Stevens, I don''t expect you to be locked up here in this house all the time Γm away. Why don''t you take the car and drive off somewhere for a few days? You look like you could make good use of a break.''

Coming out of the blue as it did, I did not quite know how to reply to such a suggestion. I recall thanking him for his consideration, but quite probably I said nothing very definite, for my employer went on:

''I''m serious, Stevens. I really think you should take a break. I''ll foot the bill for the gas. You fellows, you''re always locked up in these big houses helping out, how do you ever get to see around this beautiful country of yours?''

This was not the first time my employer had raised such a question; indeed, it seems to be something which genuinely troubles him. On this occasion, in fact, a reply of sorts did occur to me as I stood up there on the ladder; a reply to the effect that those of our profession, although we did not see a great deal of the country in the sense of touring the countryside and visiting picturesque sites, did actually ''see'' more of England than most, placed as we were in houses where the greatest ladies and gentlemen of the land gathered. Of course, I could not have expressed this view to Mr Farraday without embarking upon what might have seemed a presumptuous speech. I thus contented myself by saying simply:

''It has been my privilege to see the best of England over the years, sir, within these very walls.''

Mr Farraday did not seem to understand this statement, for he merely went on: Ί mean it, Stevens. It''s wrong that a man can''t get to see around his own country. Take my advice, get out of the house for a few days.''

As you might expect, I did not take Mr Farraday''s suggestion at all seriously that afternoon, regarding it as just another instance of an American gentleman''s unfamiliarity with what was and what was not commonly done in England. The fact that my attitude to this same suggestion underwent a change over the following days — indeed, that the notion of a trip to the West Country took an ever-increasing hold on my thoughts — is no doubt substantially attributable to — and why should I hide it? — the arrival of Miss Kenton''s letter, her first in almost seven years if one discounts the Christmas cards. But let me make it immediately clear what I mean by this; what I mean to say is that Miss Kenton''s letter set off a certain chain of ideas to do with professional matters here at Darlington Hall, and I would underline that it was a preoccupation with these very same professional matters that led me to consider anew my employer''s kindly meant suggestion. But let me explain further.

The fact is, over the past few months, I have been responsible for a series of small errors in the carrying out of my duties. I should say that these errors have all been without exception quite trivial in themselves. Nevertheless,I think you will understand that to one not accustomed to committing such errors, this development was rather disturbing, and I did in fact begin to entertain all sorts of alarmist theories as to their cause. As so often occurs in these situations, I had become blind to the obvious — that is, until my pondering over the implications of Miss Kenton''s letter finally opened my eyes to the simple truth: that these small errors of recent months have derived from nothing more sinister than a faulty staff plan.

It is, of course, the responsibility of every butler to devote his utmost care in the devising of a staff plan. Who knows how many quarrels, false accusations, unnecessary dismissals, how many promising careers cut short can be attributed to a butler''s slovenliness at the stage of drawing up the staff plan? Indeed, I can say I am in agreement with those who say that the ability to draw up a good staff plan is the cornerstone of any decent butler''s skills. I have myself devised many staff plans over the years, and I do not believe I am being unduly boastful if I say that very few ever needed amendment. And if in the present case the staff plan is at fault, blame can be laid at no one''s door but my own. At the same time, it is only fair to point out that my task in this instance had been of an unusually difficult order.

What had occurred was this. Once the transactions were over — transactions which had taken this house out of the hands of the Darlington family after two centuries — Mr Farraday let it be known that he would not be taking up immediate residence here, but would spend a further four months concluding matters in the United States. In the meantime, however, he was most keen that the staff of his predecessor — a staff of which he had heard high praise — be retained at Darlington Hall. This ''staff'' he referred to was, of course, nothing more than the skeleton team of six kept on by Lord Darlington''s relatives to administer to the house up to and throughout the transactions; and I regret to report that once the purchase had been completed, there was little I could do for Mr Farraday to prevent all but Mrs Clements leaving for other employment. When I wrote to my new employer conveying my regrets at the situation, I received by reply from America instructions to recruit a new staff ''worthy of a grand old English house''. I immediately set about trying to fulfil Mr Farraday''s wishes, but as you know, finding recruits of a satisfactory standard is no easy task nowadays, and although I was pleased to hire Rosemary and Agnes on Mrs Clements''s recommendation, I had got no further by the time I came to have my first business meeting with Mr Farraday during the short preliminary visit he made to our shores in the spring of last year. It was on that occasion — in the strangely bare study of Darlington Hall — that Mr Farraday shook my hand for the first time, but by then we were hardly strangers to each other; quite aside from the matter of the staff, my new employer in several other instances had had occasion to call upon such qualities as it may be my good fortune to possess and found them to be, I would venture, dependable. So it was, I assume, that he felt immediately able to talk to me in a businesslike and trusting way, and by the end of our meeting, he had left me with the administration of a not inconsiderable sum to meet the costs of a wide range of preparations for his coming residency. In any case, my point is that it was during the course of this interview, when I raised the question of the difficulty of recruiting suitable staff in these times, that Mr Farraday, after a moment''s reflection, made his request of me; that I do my best to draw up a staff plan — "some sort of servants'' rota'' as he put it — by which this house might be run on the present staff of four — that is to say, Mrs Clements, the two young girls, and myself. This might, he appreciated, mean putting sections of the house ''under wraps'', but would I bring all my experience and expertise to bear to ensure such losses were kept to a minimum? Recalling a time when I had had a staff of seventeen under me, and knowing how not so long ago a staff of twenty-eight had been employed here at Darlington Hall, the idea of devising a staff plan by which the same house would be run on a staff of four seemed, to say the least, daunting. Although I did my best not to, something of my scepticism must have betrayed itself, for Mr Farraday then added, as though for reassurance, that were it to prove necessary, then an additional member of staff could be hired. But he would be much obliged, he repeated, if I could ''give it a go with four''.

Now naturally, like many of us, I have a reluctance to change too much of the old ways. But there is no virtue at all in clinging as some do to tradition merely for its own sake. In this age of electricity and modern heating systems, there is no need at all to employ the sorts of numbers necessary even a generation ago. Indeed, it has actually been an idea of mine for some time that the retaining of unnecessary numbers simply for tradition''s sake — resulting in employees having an unhealthy amount of time on their hands — has been an important factor in the sharp decline in professional standards. Furthermore, Mr Farraday had made it clear that he planned to hold only very rarely the sort of large social occasions Darlington Hall had seen frequently in the past. I did then go about the task Mr Farraday had set me with some dedication; I spent many hours working on the staff plan, and at least as many hours again thinking about it as I went about other duties or as I lay awake after retiring. Whenever I believed I had come up with something, I probed it for every sort of oversight, tested it through from all angles. Finally, I came up with a plan which, while perhaps not exactly as Mr Farraday had requested, was the best, I felt sure, that was humanly possible. Almost all the attractive parts of the house could remain operative: the extensive servants'' quarters — including the back corridor, the two still rooms and the old laundry — and the guest corridor up on the second floor would be dust-sheeted, leaving all the main ground-floor rooms and a generous number of guest rooms. Admittedly, our present team of four would manage this programme only with reinforcement from some daily workers; my staff plan therefore took in the services of a gardener, to visit once a week, twice in the summer, and two cleaners, each to visit twice a week. The staff plan would, furthermore, for each of the four resident employees mean a radical altering of our respective customary duties. The two young girls, I predicted, would not find such changes so difficult to accommodate, but I did all I could to see that Mrs Clements suffered the least adjustments, to the extent that I undertook for myself a number of duties which you may consider most broad-minded of a butler to do.

Even now, I would not go so far as to say it is a bad staff plan; after all, it enables a staff of four to cover an unexpected amount of ground. But you will no doubt agree that the very best staff plans are those which give clear margins of error to allow for those days when an employee is ill or for one reason or another below par. In this particular case, of course, I had been set a slightly extraordinary task, but I had nevertheless not been neglectful to incorporate ''margins'' wherever possible. I was especially conscious that any resistance there may be on the part of Mrs Clements, or the two girls, to the taking on of duties beyond their traditional boundaries would be compounded by any notion that their workloads had greatly increased. I had then, over those days of struggling with the staff plan, expended a significant amount of thought to ensuring that Mrs Clements and the girls, once they had got over their aversion to adopting these more ''eclectic'' roles, would find the division of duties stimulating and unburdensome.

I fear, however, that in my anxiety to win the support of Mrs Clements and the girls, I did not perhaps assess quite as stringently my own limitations; and although my experience and customary caution in such matters prevented my giving myself more than I could actually carry out, I was perhaps negligent over this question of allowing myself a margin. It is not surprising then, if over several months, this oversight should reveal itself in these small but telling ways. In the end, I believe the matter to be no more complicated than this: I had given myself too much to do.

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Top reviews from the United States

Gary Moreau, Author
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An exceptional tale of English political transformation eerily relevant to America and England today
Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2017
I fully admit that I purchased this book only after reading that it had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I love books and I was curious, I suppose, of how such a book might read. Did it—could it—live up to the hype? It easily surpassed it. It is a magnificent... See more
I fully admit that I purchased this book only after reading that it had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I love books and I was curious, I suppose, of how such a book might read. Did it—could it—live up to the hype?

It easily surpassed it. It is a magnificent story deserving of every literary award there might be. It is, as is my personal standard for a five star rating, a truly transformative read. It’s worthy of six stars, truth be told.

It is a story of the generational change and socio-economic and political transformation that overtook England during the period between the Great World Wars. Told through the eyes of a shrinking class of English butler who had a front row seat at the changing of the guard between the landed nobility and the professional politician and businessmen of the Post-war Era.

The questions raised by the transformation are eerily relevant today. Can the institutions of democracy work in a world writ complex by technology and globalism? Is governance better left to a technocratic meritocracy that rules on behalf of the people but above their direct control?

America and Americans, and one visiting US Senator in particular, are portrayed in a predictably garish light given the time and the protagonist. The Senator is loud and uncouth and a manipulative schemer who wants to dictate to the Europeans. Even the American landscape is described as dramatic but a bit overdone.

The English “greatness,” as its described, however, is handled with British wit and aplomb. It’s the kind of classic British humor that is inevitably met with a wry smile rather than the guffaw that most comics seem to reach for today. The butler’s own loss at how to deal with the banter he suspects his eventual American employer expects from him is a humorous thread throughout the book.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the book, however, is the writing itself. It is beyond good. It is almost hallowed, using that term in a strictly descriptive rather than the religious or spiritual sense. And what makes it so, as is the case with most great literature, is the fact that the prose makes no obvious attempt to reach such heights of grandeur. There isn’t a hint of any attempt to over-achieve.

The author deals with many other themes within the confines of the primary tale. Life purpose, the plight of the lion in winter, the constant battle public figures face between public perception and reality, and the human quest for identity, all get explored with a deft literary hand that is a breeze to read, easy to enjoy, and will inevitably leave the reader with literary memories that are sure to flash back for years to come.

There is no money line per se. The book is chock full of both literary excellence and astute human insight. One of my favorites was: “A butler of any quality must be seen to inhabit his role, utterly and fully; he cannot be seen casting it aside one moment simply to don it again the next as though it were nothing more than a pantomime costume.” We often refer to it as “authenticity,” but it is key to success in all professions and, of course, all personal relationships.

Mr. Ishiguro has clearly left his legacy. We should all be thankful. And grateful. The publisher is currently offering the book at an extremely reasonable price, the Kindle price of which is below any of the top ten fiction books on the New York Times bestseller list, making it an extraordinary value.
166 people found this helpful
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blondewriter99
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of my favorites
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2018
Beautifully restrained book. If you''re looking for an author who holds your hold and forcefully tugs you through every emotion, every thought, and every conclusion, this isn''t the book for you. But if you appreciate a stunningly subtle and yet laser precise portrayal of a... See more
Beautifully restrained book. If you''re looking for an author who holds your hold and forcefully tugs you through every emotion, every thought, and every conclusion, this isn''t the book for you. But if you appreciate a stunningly subtle and yet laser precise portrayal of a man who has spent his days in the pursuit of "dignity" - another word for being emotionless - and who realizes too late that he gave his life to an employer who didn''t deserve it and withheld his love from a woman who did, then pick this book up, savor it, and be prepared to laugh, cry, and think.
94 people found this helpful
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David B. Karpf
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Nobel prize-winning author, for a reason!
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2017
An engrossing 1st person narrative from the prototypical pre-WW2 British butler, about serving the "upper class", wasted lives, lack of emotional connectedness, and the fine line between humanitarian ideals and being duped by an evil Nazi regime. All the more... See more
An engrossing 1st person narrative from the prototypical pre-WW2 British butler, about serving the "upper class", wasted lives, lack of emotional connectedness, and the fine line between humanitarian ideals and being duped by an evil Nazi regime. All the more incredible due to the Japanese ethnicity of the author, despite his upbringing in England. His 1st novel not set in Japan, but England, very deservedly earned him a Nobel prize in Literature this year. One of the best books you''ve never read....
52 people found this helpful
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Lars H
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Jane Austen + Franz Kafka
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2017
Don''t be put off by readers who give the "story" or "plot" low points. They would be better off buying a John Grisham or Lee Child action thriller. The author writes in an understated somewhat stern way, but you will feel the abyss of the human... See more
Don''t be put off by readers who give the "story" or "plot" low points. They would be better off buying a John Grisham or Lee Child action thriller.

The author writes in an understated somewhat stern way, but you will feel the abyss of the human condition between the lines. An outlandish mix of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka! The author was only 30+ at the time of writing this book, amazing. Ishiguro has published only six books so far, but those six books has given him a deserved Nobel prize.
44 people found this helpful
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brenny
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book that will grow on you
Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2018
I didn''t quite like the book initially and found it rather dull and slow paced. However, after I picked it up again (after almost three months), I started to like it more and more. The beauty of the classical English language. The natural presentation of the narrator and... See more
I didn''t quite like the book initially and found it rather dull and slow paced. However, after I picked it up again (after almost three months), I started to like it more and more. The beauty of the classical English language. The natural presentation of the narrator and his life make this book a great and enjoyable read, particularly more and more toward the end of it. Perhaps I will enjoy it even more as I get older. This is a book that calms down one''s soul and let one reconciles with one''s past when the day is turning to the night.
Recommended!
45 people found this helpful
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S. Liu
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Moving Meditation on the Meaning of Life
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2017
A beautifully written novel. This story of a repressed butler in pre-war Britain who placed loyalty to his employer and profession over his own happiness, in a setting very similar to Downton Abbey, is a moving mediation on the perils of letting one''s life go by without... See more
A beautifully written novel. This story of a repressed butler in pre-war Britain who placed loyalty to his employer and profession over his own happiness, in a setting very similar to Downton Abbey, is a moving mediation on the perils of letting one''s life go by without fully paying attention, and subsuming one''s passions for duty/ work.
40 people found this helpful
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Diane Wilson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Masterfully Constructed
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2018
This remains one of my favourite books. The way that Ishiguro draws the reader into the butler''s world is truly masterful. Stevens is the epitome of a high class butler: discreet, dedicated and loyal. In a journey to visit an ex housekeeper, he shares, through a series of... See more
This remains one of my favourite books. The way that Ishiguro draws the reader into the butler''s world is truly masterful. Stevens is the epitome of a high class butler: discreet, dedicated and loyal. In a journey to visit an ex housekeeper, he shares, through a series of flashbacks, seemingly small incidents that occurred while he was serving in the great house of Lord Darlington. Through Stevens'' perspective - both what he says and doesn''t say - a sense of loss, regret and misplaced loyalty is conveyed. Ishiguro is able to show significant historical events and culture through the lense of one ordinary person. This is a book that I will read many times and treasure for its outstanding literary merit and excellent characterisation.
26 people found this helpful
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Sophy Burnham
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is wonderful. Most writers pick a bene and write the ...
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2016
I think Ishiguro should have the Nobel Prize. In all his books (and I have read most of them) he shifts into new grounds. This is wonderful. Most writers pick a bene and write the same book over and over (sometimes with the same characters). Not Kazoo Isiguro. Each book... See more
I think Ishiguro should have the Nobel Prize. In all his books (and I have read most of them) he shifts into new grounds. This is wonderful. Most writers pick a bene and write the same book over and over (sometimes with the same characters). Not Kazoo Isiguro. Each book arises from a different ethical or moral question; each involves the subtle reworking of memory -- the fragile, terrifying aspect of looking back at one''s life; and each is magnificent.
This is surely one of the best 100 books of all time.
sophy burnham
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Bookmarked Reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A study of Englishness
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2018
I read The Remains of the Day because I was inspired by an interview with the author following him receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature. Ishiguro sounded like such a thoughtful, collected character. In short, I liked him as a person and wanted to find out more about him...See more
I read The Remains of the Day because I was inspired by an interview with the author following him receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature. Ishiguro sounded like such a thoughtful, collected character. In short, I liked him as a person and wanted to find out more about him as a writer. In The Remains of the Day, Stevens takes respite from his butler’s duty to undertake a short excursion into West Country to visit Miss Kenton, a woman who once worked with him as Lord Darlington’s housekeeper. On his travels, he reminisces about his life dedicated to serving his master, proudly and faithfully and, somewhat on the margin, about the ups and downs of his volatile relations with Miss Kenton, about his father and about tiny life in the grander scheme of things. The mastery of this book lies in how Ishiguro manages to superimpose Stevens’s ordinary, little-man’s life onto the bigger picture of the malfunctioning class system and the politics of appeasement preceding the outbreak of WW2. Or perhaps, it is the wheel of history that is superimposed on Stevens’s life. The distinction isn’t clear. None of them seem to be favoured by the author as more significant. Stevens narrates the story and to him the detail of everyday etiquette and silver-polishing is equally important as Lord Darlington’s anti-Semitic antics and top-secret meetings with influential politicians. Stevens’s loyalty is to his job. It takes precedence of his own father, over his undoubtedly deep but supressed feelings for Miss Kenton and over his better judgment in relation to Lord Darlington’s treacherous politics. Ishiguro has captured Stevens perfectly: through his tone, his language, his actions. Stevens is more aristocratic than the lords he is serving; he is more dignified, more stiff-upper-lip. His little holiday exposes him to the world at large and the reader watches him squirm on the hook of the unwelcome reality from which he has been detached for the best part of his life. Yet, despite his aloofness and dogged devotion to a rotten aristocrat, one finds him very human, very fallible and very worthy of having his own say before the day is up.
74 people found this helpful
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Kanwar Anand
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A STUNNING DONWTON ABBEY''ESQUE MEMOIR.
Reviewed in India on January 16, 2018
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY BY KAZUO ISHIGURO WHAT IS THIS ABOUT? It''s about the dying generation of butlers. You meet the most amazing humane, perfectly mannered, sensible, sensitive butler ever. He talks about incidents that took place in his life. Judging by the name of the...See more
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY BY KAZUO ISHIGURO WHAT IS THIS ABOUT? It''s about the dying generation of butlers. You meet the most amazing humane, perfectly mannered, sensible, sensitive butler ever. He talks about incidents that took place in his life. Judging by the name of the author, I thought I would have to read a book based on Japan and Japanese culture. I have read a few other books based on Japan so I was ok with the idea. However, it began and I found myself in a completely different place altogether. You see I found myself reading a memoir of a most exquisite specimen. The gentleman in question is one of a kind. His voice, his thoughts, his sweet-nothing observations are some to behold. Never does he ever judge, ridicule or look down upon on anybody. His vocation is singular and his quest in life is simple. It is to serve his lordship (or lord) to whom he has made available his services as a butler. The book is set in a travail lasting for four days. In these four days the protagonist is driving through Britain. He makes various stops in cottages, inns and recalls his days by writing about them. I was astonished at how perfectly delightful and marvellous the writing style is. WHO SHOULD READ IT? If you enjoy a good memoir. One that leaves you feeling a bit nostalgic over someone else''s past. Or if you enjoyed reading "SENSE OF AN ENDING" by Julian Barnes, you ought to read this book. Why should you read it? The English, the lovely writing, the stories, the greenery you will envision, the legends of a world lost but not forgotten somehow made to come back to life by a stunning dictation. Similar books? Sense of an ending by Julian Barnes & My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout OVERALL? Of every 20 books I read I give maybe 3 books five stars. Not just that I would go on to say this is one of the best books I''ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The kind of book that reminded me of why I read in the first place. What a story, what a narration, what a character, what a protagonist.
80 people found this helpful
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Valderee
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hindsight
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 5, 2018
I bought this book after listening to a podcast and becoming intrigued. It''s about an English butler''s experiences relayed as if to inform, inspire other butlers. He reveals his dedication to service, his high standards, his loyalty to his employers and his personal...See more
I bought this book after listening to a podcast and becoming intrigued. It''s about an English butler''s experiences relayed as if to inform, inspire other butlers. He reveals his dedication to service, his high standards, his loyalty to his employers and his personal sacrifices. A very clever book which slowly reveals other interpretations and misunderstandings which have led to missed chances of personal happiness, all told within a period of historical turmoil and political upheaval. As a reader you cringe and wince for Mr Stevens, such a dignified, repressed man and for the housekeeper, Miss Kenton. The writing is so skilled - my blood boiled for her.
19 people found this helpful
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J. Ang
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What Remains Of Dignity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2015
This is Ishiguro''s Booker-winning work, and the novel that established his reputation as a modern realist writer to be reckoned with - a reputation that he will turn on its head with later works like "Never Let Me Go" and "The Buried Giant" that defy such...See more
This is Ishiguro''s Booker-winning work, and the novel that established his reputation as a modern realist writer to be reckoned with - a reputation that he will turn on its head with later works like "Never Let Me Go" and "The Buried Giant" that defy such strict categorisation, and with good measure. The story begins with an English butler, Stevens, who worked in a stately mansion owned by Lord Darlington, in whose home various powerful and reputable political figures has graced with covert meetings leading up to the Second World War. That Stevens had been and still is a capable and loyal butler becomes evident through his unremitting service, which he recounts in first person, even as he takes on a motorcar journey to Little Compton, Cornwall, in response to a letter he receives from his former colleague and housekeeper, Miss Kenton, when she left Darlington Hall some twenty years ago. They had shared a volatile working relationship during Lord Darlington''s heyday. And that is where the real story lies, which is almost obscured by Stevens''s doddering and often self-censoring narrative, where he edits and revises along the way, seemingly unsure of what had really happened. He admits as much when he says, "But now, having thought further, I believe I may have been a little confused about this matter", when he tries to recall an occasion when he had caught Miss Kenton in a vulnerable state. He often turns preachy about his profession, and reiterates the importance of dignity ad nauseam, but through it all, the reader begins to realise that the more he elaborates, the more he hides, and in the end, he says more than he knows. That Ishiguro elicits our sympathy rather than annoyance with his unreliable narrator is truly a work of genius, because, given the qualities I had observed above about Stevens, that is no mean feat. Stevens''s unreserved dedication to his work means an inordinate amount of sacrifice, so much so that he has to give up all personal feelings and attachments, and this is something that hits the reader hard when a personal tragedy befalls him in the midst of an important event at Darlington Hall and he keeps at his task, without flinching. Throughout his narrative too, he keeps an objective, almost clinical tone, sometimes infuriating the reader for his lack of emotion, so that when he finally relents, "Indeed - why should I not admit it? - at that moment, my heart was breaking", you want to hug the poor old man and weep yourself, only to recognise that frustrating reserve in needing to convince himself that it was alright to acknowledge his true feelings, and that it would ultimately be shortlived.
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Steve Wilson
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Upper Class British society''s answer to First Officer Spock
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 25, 2018
Kazuo Ishiguro is an excellent writer, of that there can be no doubt. Prior to reading The Remains Of The Day, I have read Nocturnes and The Unconsoled. The first title Nocturnes is an interesting collection of short stories. In the Unconsoled, the protagonist is an...See more
Kazuo Ishiguro is an excellent writer, of that there can be no doubt. Prior to reading The Remains Of The Day, I have read Nocturnes and The Unconsoled. The first title Nocturnes is an interesting collection of short stories. In the Unconsoled, the protagonist is an indecisive classical pianist, who despite his shortcomings is a quite likeable character. Prior to Vulcan Dr Spock of the USS Enterprise, who was devoid of human emotion and was motivated by logic, the class-ridden social cesspit of aristocratic England was populated with overlords and their underlings including the likes of butler Stevens of Darlington House, who seems almost equally lacking in human emotion and is motivated not by logic, but by what he rather delusionally refers to as "dignity". In comparison to Kazuo''s later book, The Unconsoled, this book''s main character Stevens is rather more tragic. His main failing that came across to me is that he takes himself, his work and his position in the world far too seriously. Consequently one is left to feel a mixture of sadness, ridicule (at times) and yet sympathy towards him, because he is emotionally very stunted and ironically quite naive about the world unfolding out there around him. Although this is a work of fiction, I have come across a handful of people in real life who suffer from very similar personality problems and other social disadvantages at Kazuo Ishiguro''s butler Mr Stevens. Note that the kind of problems I''m talking about are definitely NOT mental illnesses, serious personality disorders, lack of IQ or developmental problems such as Autism, ADHD or suchlike. In reading this book, it is very easy for me to imagine people like Stevens being real, especially prior to about the early 1980s. I''m sure there were many tragic cases with many similarities to butler Stevens during the early and middle years of the 20th century. I found Stevens to be a mildly delusional and rather tragic character. Ishiguro has either/and/or a terrific imagination, has known of such people and situations, or done his research very thoroughly to capture the essence, atmosphere, time and location of isolated "Grand Houses", their owners and some of their staff in England in the 20th century. I give this book only three stars because I feel that the main character does not develop as someone of interest in the story, and the ending, whilst typical of Kazuo Ishiguro''s works, is rather disappointing from the reader''s point of view with respect to the protagonist.
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