The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Published: 2005 (first published 1988)
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Blogger Summer Reading, Roofbeemer TBR, Bookish TBR
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Description: 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. (from Goodreads.com)
Thoughts: This was the third Ishiguro novel that I read (first two were When We Were Orphans and Never Let Me Go) and this was by far my most enjoyable experience, probably because I had already knew what the story was about due to the Merchant Ivory movie of the same title that was based on this book (the one that starred Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant and Christopher Reeve).
I did have some issues with the book, namely that when Stevens was in the 'present'. I found that those sections dragged and that when he was reflecting on his life just prior to World War II seemed to fly by and go more quickly. It also didn't help that it took me the majority of the book for me to find a rhythm and get a sense for the book.
What I did like was that the ending was a bit ambiguous and Ishiguro allows for the reader to draw their own conclusions about what happened in the end.
Bottom line: I would probably say that if you have really enjoyed any of Ishiguro's other pieces of fiction, you probably will enjoy this book as well. Also if you enjoyed the film, you probably will like the book as well. Highly recommended.
Pages for 2014: 13,061
If you have read the book, what did you think of it?