The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro- Book Review

Sister has long enjoyed this book, but she reads difficult books with words and thoughts in them so I had always eschewed it. Kazuo Ishiguro may be better known for Never Let Me Go as it was recently a film with Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley and some guy.

The Remains of the Day was also a film with Emma Thomson and Anthony Hopkins and got 8 oscar noms, but that was back in 1993.

In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside and into his past.

Above is the blurb from the back cover which is both uninteresting sounding, and sort of sinister. The book definitely isn’t sinister, and I found it interesting even if nothing much happens. I rather enjoyed it.

Stevens does set off on a country road trip to visit Miss Kenton, the former housekeeper. There are no bear attacks or high speed chases.  The biggest excitement is that he runs out of fuel at one point- hope that wasn’t too much of a spoiler.  Instead the focus is on his past as he can’t help dwelling on past events with Miss Kenton and also his past employer.

But I see I am becoming preoccupied with these memories and this is perhaps a little foolish.

Stevens is a likeable, if repressed, protagonist I felt frustrated for him that he wasn’t better able to express his emotions, the passages concering his father illustrate that the most. I did actually found him quite funny though, especially as he tried to learn how to banter with his new American employer

For one thing, how would one know for sure that at any given moment a response of the bantering sort is truly what is expected?  One hardly need dwell on the catastrophic possibility of uttering a bantering remark only to discover it eholly inappropriate.

Because this is a first person internal monologue (rather than driven by plot events) I feel that I can’t really go into much detail of what happens in the book without giving the game away.  But I liked it very much.