Book Review: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

RATING: StarStarStarStar

Genre: General Fiction

Challenge: Goodreads – The Filipino Group 100 Favorite Books (July read)

In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper. Ishiguro’s dazzling novel is a sad and humorous love story, a meditation on the condition of modern man, nd an elegy for England at a time of acute change.

Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize (1989)

*****

I don’t believe in Love At First Sight. Lust, maybe. But Love? Hardly. Now, why am I saying this? I picked up The Remains of the Day with little love. That’s a fact. Because Ishiguro and me are not friends, due to my utter dislike for Never Let Me Go. And yet, i made an effort to read it. Perhaps it will be different this time? I give second chances to an author’s works should I have a terrible reading experience the first time I read from that author. Take John Green, for instance. I didn’t like Looking for Alaska, but i took my time before i tried one from Green’s again. I read Paper Towns, and wow, now I am a convert.

Is it the same case with Ishiguro?… Yes. I guess Ish and I have to start all over before we became friends. And I still don’t like him even if we’re friends already (Mr. Stevens irritates me). By the time I finished The Remains… i was stupefied. i was stunned. i am in love. :) Oh, Ishiguro, you sneaky b*stard.

I couldn’t care less for the musings of an old, English Butler. Much less of him reminiscing about his greatness of being a butler. So what?!! But when the scenes unfolded between him and his father, i held my breath. i held my heart until it was wrung with weariness and despair over the father-son relationship. i seethed with fury when Mr. Stevens chose to uphold his ‘dignity’ and ‘service’ as a butler instead of attending to his ailing father. He says something about impropreity. Well, you can suck it, Mr. Stevens! What an awful son you must be.

Regrets. I usually don’t have them. Why should I? Life’s too short to postpone living it. So when the final meeting of Miss Kenton and Mr. Stevens came, I was sad. I was shaking my head over Mr. Steven’s loss, but what’s done is done. I spaced out when he got his heart broken, I was still. It’s as if i was the one who lost his life over something he thought was of value: being the greatest butler to his master. Mr. Stevens, what an idiot you are.

So. In the end, i have to succumb to Ishiguro’s brilliance. Really, to have my emotions evoked so strongly in such simple situations is something of a feat. And to detest the main character but still managed to get drawn and emotional on the book, that’s one hell of storytelling.

The Remains of the Day. Man Booker Prize. Totally deserving.

Me. Reading Ishiguro for the second time. Totally worth it.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

  1. Pingback: The Remains of the Day - One More Page

  2. Pingback: Elated (or not): Getting Sentimental « reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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