Book Review

Review: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

I know, it’s been a while. Hello book blog. I’ve been terrible at reading for about 6 months now. Hopefully I’m finally disembarking from that struggle bus, and starting to catch up on all the 5 million eARCs and other commitments (and just books for pleasure??) that I’ve been missing out on …

First up, The Remains of the Day. This is a short tale, apparently simple in nature, of a butler taking a short trip to meet and old colleague and encourage her to return to their place of work. But it contains a real depth to the character of Stevens – a fastidious man who is so focused on dignity and the role of the “great” devoted butlers that his life has, in many respects, passed him by.

Title: The Remains of the Day
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 258
Publisher: Faber & Faber Ltd
Publication Date: 2010 (but republished March 2021 for Ishiguro’s newest novel)
Ownership: eARC

Rating: 4 stars

This isn’t an easy read – there’s plenty to unpick and reflect on, from the nature of class (and the snobbery that accompanies it) to what gives some individuals dignity (and others not). Stevens himself has become indistinguishable from his role, which is more than just a job – it is in itself a station that he was born to.

We sadly find ourselves snickering at Stevens’ own naiveté as he struggled to find his place within this new world order, one where the role of butler is coveted but under-appreciated, as households begin to close down post world-war.

Stevens himself is restrained and formal, which is exactly as this novel comes across – it is quite the impressive masterpiece in creating a sympathetic but challenging character that is the voice of the narrator, of so much of English culture, and of the novel itself.

I received an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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