My Rating: ★★★★★
I initially didn’t think that I would enjoy this book but the moment I read about Mr. Steven’s dilemma [that is, he had given himself too much to do], I was hooked.
What I like the most about this book are the things that it doesn’t say but are there in the surface. We are shown with a butler—Mr. Stevens—who is very much a hardworking person. He takes his job professionally, seriously, and with great dignity—values that are very much lacking in so many in this generation. But this book also shows us that while we are ‘working people’ trying to do ‘great things,’ we must also not forget that we also have lives outside of our work.
And then we are also shown with a strong woman—Miss Kenton—who is equally loyal and is as hardworking as Mr. Stevens. She showed us that being loyal didn’t mean just going with the flow and not question your employer’s decisions [Although she didn’t directly take her concerns up to her employer, she taught us that it is fine to speak up and question unreasonable decisions].
And of course there’s also the young Mr. Cardinal who had taught us that it always pay to do research, that sometimes good intentions like Lord Darlington’s aren’t enough: one must also be well-informed. That you can’t make decisions based on feelings and what you think is right alone—there has to be facts—and to always remember that one’s reality is not the only reality in this life.
This book also taught us that it is wrong to literally give our ‘everything’ to our jobs: as I said, we also have lives outside of our career. We are sons and daughters, we are parents as well, grandparents, a friend, we are citizens too, etc. To just ride everything in your life into a single something or goal to the point that you forget the other things that also matter—even if this something is for the idea of a greater good—is plain wrong.
But that lastly, even when everything had crumbled already—everything that we stood for, everything that we believed in has been destroyed—that all is not lost. It will only be lost when one has lost his hope.
The Remains of the Day is a book about love, regrets, professionalism, and dignity… topics that everyone will be able to easily relate to. ^_^
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, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change.
Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄) is a British novelist of a Japanese origin. His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor’s degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.
Ishiguro received the 1989 Man Booker prize for his third novel The Remains of the Day.