The Remains Of The Day

15 04 2008

I was first introduced to Kazuo Ishiguro by a dear friend who is very picky with his literature. I chanced upon a very good book that moved me to tears, soon after I found myself purchasing another obra by the same author.

Remains of the Day are reflections of Mr. Stevens life of service to Great Britain’s great houses. The book commence with accounts of a butler told through first person point of view. He examines in great detail the events and choices made while in service to the revered Lord Darlington between WWI and WWII. He emphasizes dignity in his work and presumes the importance of his position in the events of his house during the Lord’s reign. However, after the Lord has departed, he ponders his past and what little he has for his future.

A trip presented by the new owner of Darlington Hall becomes his jump-off point to sort the values and choices he upheld during his early days of service. The travel is to come by Ms. Kenton, a former colleague, to offer her a new post at the old hall. In the course of days, he revisits in his memories a lingering love that failed to blossom. It was soon revealed that although Ms. Kenton showed evidence of her true feelings, he was unable to return the favour due to professional conflicts. After years of service, she eventually left the house and carried on with an unhappy marriage.

The thing about Ishiguro is he dives into human flaws without putting it too forward. He presents it as slow minute scars that gradually form to a resonating foundation of the character. His voice looks into how dynamic flaws can be and how moving it can be once it comes flooding back through memoirs. Most writers today celebrate the beauty and goodness of human character amidst trials, but what Kazuo honours is the dilapidated quality of a person seemingly accomplished and virtuous. He makes readers yearn for life’s meaning by suffering the bitter sweet. Thus, his characters are more forceful, more human and more real. It somehow reminds you of you.

Notes:

Remains of the Day

Written By: Japanese born UK raised Kazuo Ishiguro

Awards: 1989 Booker Price

Publisher: Faber and Faber

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