The Remains of the day

The Remains of the dayKazuo Ishiguro

Have you ever wondered how we form our decisions in life, how we take the turns and accept the changes in and around our lives.
At times things are based predominantly on some very particular event or situation that happens to happen with our life. But most of the other things take place gradually and no particular event can be pinpointed for them. The change looks so gradual and subtle that it can be hard to believe that things were indeed otherwise some time back.
Well, in our fast paced lives we seldom sit and look back but its something Kazuo does amazingly.

The Remains of the day is a story about Stevens (The Butler through whose eyes the story is narrated) who while embarking on a countryside journey around England looks back at his career where he served about 30 years at Darlington hall.
He talks about the nature of his job, its delicate intricacies, its own way of helping towards mankind and also how the long cherished qualities of the job are being neglected by today’s youth. He puts up some nice anecdotes featuring some great Butlers and their great qualities.
But as he pulls up memories from the past, also unearthed are few questions and doubts about the convictions he had towards his work. So the novel moves as strings are tangled and untangled.
An interesting peculiarity of the novel is the way Stevens at times held himself back while explaining difficult emotional situations as if he fears overindulging and saying something which he’s yet to acknowledge himself or fears acknowledging. And then later comes a point where he is forced to acknowledge about his mistaken convictions, and more importantly his notion of Dignity.
Another high point of the book is how Kazuo shows the relationship between Stevens and Miss Kenton. Though he never out rightly says or shows that both somewhere somehow loved each other but the atmosphere and feeling he generates at the end was impeccable.

In all The Remains of the day is a very nicely written consummate book. Kazuo has his own idiosyncratic style of narration, which he showcases here almost flawlessly. Go grab the copy and enjoy.

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3 comments

  1. Rakesh,
    I know a man of this kind(the butler character)..he’s so honest and dignified with your job while his sons hate their father’s job..hmmm

  2. Well, its good that they hate his job but not him.
    As about the person in the novel, he was honest to his job and all but not to his inquiry about his convictionas and ideals. Honesty and dedications are virtues but when applied at right place or after thought.
    But anyhow, at times the inexhaustiblity and incomprensive totality of life can make the things go other way. but then its again honesty which takes us to realisation, and then we can look at the remains of the day and live on..

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