The Remains of the Day
By Kazuo Ishiguro
What’s it about?
Stevens is a perfect English butler whose way of life is disappearing after World War II. He has served Lord Darlington with great loyalty but now he must adjust to a new American employer. In this brief book Stevens takes a short journey through the English countryside and has time to look back and ponder his past.
What did it make me think about?
Are we ever able to look back at our lives and see clearly? Do we all have a need for self-deception?
Should I read it?
If you want a view of life in a great English house during the first half of the twentieth century then you should definitely pick this book up. If you want a lighter version just watch “Downton Abby”. Seriously, this novel is such a nuanced look back at a bygone way of life. It is also a thoughtful story of a man looking back on his life. Although it starts out slowly this story is well worth finishing.
“It is my impression that our generation was the first to recognize something which had passed the notice of all earlier generations: namely that the great decisions of the world are not, in fact, arrived at simply in the public chambers, or else during a handful of days given over to an international conference under the full gaze of the public and press. Rather, debates are conducted, and crucial decisions arrived at, in the privacy and calm of the great houses of this country.”