Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Remains of the Day

I fell in love all over again. That feeling of losing myself into a world so beautifully painted by another, the feeling of happiness just reminiscing over those classic words that seem to have etched themselves into my memory for ever. Yes, I have fallen in love… with Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day”. This is a story of an ageing butler, his memories and perspectives spread across two different eras in the English history.

Courtesy: Good Reads
This is a story of two individuals falling quietly in love, never to express their feelings. Last but not the least; this is a story of English culture and the changes it undergoes between the two wars. Kazuo Ishiguro’s play with words paints a vivid picture of how life was and how it has changed post the war through the eyes of Stevens the butler. Darlington hall, the manor at which he was the butler is bought by an Englishman Mr. Farraday post the war and demise of Lord Darlington. 

The change in ownership brings about a transformation in the way the Manor is managed and to a large extent wipes away a large number of English customs that were followed thus causing a certain degree of regret and discomfort for Stevens. At the persistence of his new master, Stevens undertakes a vacation (unheard of for butlers) to travel across the West Country on the pretext of requesting Mrs. Kenton the erstwhile housekeeper to return and resume her duties. 

What starts as a simple travel to experience the English country side and meet Mrs. Kenton soon turns into a journey of self discovery, realization of love, acknowledgment of the changing times and most importantly of understanding that there is always something to look forward to even when one is past his prime in his profession and times have changed. There is much one can do in the remains of the day…after all as Ishiguro puts it, the evening is the best part of the day. This is a book vibrating with optimism and the goodness of life despite the rough motions it puts us through. If this book were a dream, I would never want to wake up.


  1. Sounds like a pretty interesting concept...gotta read it!

  2. Now that you have read the book - do check out the movie http://shadesofwords09.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/the-remains-of-the-day/

    A good review, and I realize after reading it that the movie may have missed out the subtleties or I might have missed it while watching it. I do intend to read this book someday based on your review

  3. @vipula - yes, I am waiting to get my hands on the movie :). I read the review you had put up and I think you are right, we have two different perspectives based on the two forms of media... What did Kapil have to say about it?
    If you ask me, the story is a bit slow and (maybe) gloomy .. But as you read the last few pages it all falls into place.. ESP. The last piece where he sits on a bench on his lot evening talking to a stranger. What the stranger says and how he acknowledges it brings in a positive feeling and explains the meaning of the title and the story... This was how I read it... About the romance, I guess that piece is quite obvious even in the movie..


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