Review of The Remains of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Some of you might think - this guy is hooked on Japanese writers. If that's what you think then you are definitely right. But the fact is, Ishiguro isn't quite a Japanese writer. He was brought up in England since the age of 5 and is much more British than Japanese. He is influenced by his Japanese Heritage though. Some of his books deal with Japanese history and some of his books have this dream like quality that is so characteristic of Haruki Murakami, the most successfull Japanese writer and a personal favorite of mine.
“The Remains of The Day” tells the story of an English butler during the period before world war II. He is completely absorbed by his loyalty to his employer who is a very fine English gentleman, a Lord. His devotion to the perfection of service is his whole life, up to a point that he is completely unaware of the important things that take place around him. His boss who participated in WWI is determined to prevent another war, but is naively manipulated by the Nazis. A woman colleague in his staff has a special affection for him, but life just slips by as he is too preoccupied to notice anything.
Like many of Ishguru's books this is a tragedy, but the depth with which Ishiguru deals with both the personal tragedy and the national tragedy makes up for it. This book is completely absorbing, I think it`s one of the best English books ever written . On the cover of the book (FF 1999 Edition) there is a quotation from the Daily Telegraph: "There is nobody writing in Britain who quite resembles him." I think they got that right. Some of you may have seen the award winning movie based on this book with Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant- a true masterpiece. But the book is even better, dont miss it!
Other reviews by Hovav you may want to read: