The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day

Book - 1989
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A compelling portrait of the perfect English butler, who, at the end of his career in postwar England, reviews his life and secretly questions the "greatness" of the nobleman he served.
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1989.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780394573434
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

This Man Booker Prize winning novel is about the pain of unspoken love and thwarted life.

An aging butler watches his world shrink and his way of life gradually fade, in this highly praised novel.

Novels - The Postwar Years

From the critics

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Mar 21, 2021

A feat of most amazing writing ability. Altogether readable and fascinating, I will read more of this author.

Mar 20, 2021

Not really a fan of this book. It could be a difference in cultures that causes the rub. Stevens was very stiff and stoic, as butlers tend to be. And the times were the 50’s and before so there could be the change of decades too. It just didn’t it carry much relatable emotion.

Feb 06, 2021

Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing is brilliant in the way it captures the essence of upper-crust England during the early 20th century. His impeccable characterization of Stevens, the straight-laced, devoted butler who defines himself by his career, set a flawless tone with Stevens’ speech pattern. I smiled/sniggered frequently with his emotional distancing (referring to himself in the third person) and verbally beating around the bush (“as it were”, “so to speak”, “I dare say” …)
On a week-long road trip, Stevens’ mind wanders through memories of his career highlights and glimpses only the tip of his emotions … including a love that never happened with Miss Kenton (whom he is driving to see) because of his unemotional dedication to duty and pursuit of dignity. Ishiguro received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017 – deservedly so!

Jan 30, 2021

When I started reading this at first I was like idk, but then the greatness of the book starts coming through and encouraged me to continue without hesitation and I wound up reading the whole book in under 24 hours ultimately. I really enjoyed this book and recommend visiting it if you haven't, try it out, maybe you'll like it too

Jul 14, 2019

This is a story about blind loyalty at the expense of one’s love, youth and ultimately one’s allegiance to his country.

May 29, 2019

I loved this dear book. The story and characters seemed quite simple, but they lived with all the tangled complications we all do. Stevens is an aging butler, deeply committed to striving for perfection in his duties. He was in charge of a large staff at a distinguished house, serving an important and distinguished gentleman. The housekeeper, Miss Kent, and he developed a professional friendship which turned a bit more personal. Never, however, personal enough to overshadow his duties as a dignified manservant in a distinguished house. She left, the important gentleman fell into some disrepute, and an American bought the house. Also, Stevens himself began faltering. He went on a road trip to visit Mss Kent, and met some deeper aspects of himself, and developed some ideas he had earlier pooh-poohed or ignored. In my mind, he’s a cousin of Major Pettigrew and the gentleman in Moscow — earnest, authentic, and kind.

May 16, 2019

Marvelous book. A butler goes on a short holiday and reflects on his career and employers, noting that change is happening, a change that he may not join.

ArapahoeStaff26 May 01, 2019

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, I couldn't put down this quiet story of an English butler reflecting back on his career and life.

Dec 19, 2018

This book is a thought-provoking and delightful read. As Mr. Stevens motors his way through the countryside he reflects on happenings both past and present. His quest for dignity is a prevalent theme as are his ruminations on acquiring the gift of bantering. The past includes momentous and historical happenings as well as encounters with Miss Kenton, the former housekeeper. Those exchanges remind me of Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes in the Downton series, but without the happy pairing of the two. . . yet we find ourselves daring to hope for more.

Is the reputation of the butler solely tied to his lordship? Does he have individual liberties and obligations outside of his loyalty to the house he serves? As Stevens reflects on "the remains of his day," we do so as well. Very appropriate book group selection. No wonder it was a Nobel prize winner.

Jan 27, 2018

So amazing. What a well-written book.

It's hard to describe what it's like, but the author is so clever at revealing the past slowly. I can see why this book has won so many prizes. It's a treat to read.

It reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey. I think it made a bit more sense to me because I have seen that show, so I could picture it clearly in my head and just hear him talking.

I recommend this for anyone.

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Sep 27, 2018

"Lord Darlington wasn't a bad man. He wasn't a bad man at all. And at least he had the privilege of being able to say at the end of his life that he made his own mistakes. His lordship was a courageous man. He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that. You see, I trusted. I trusted his lordship's wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can't even say I made my own mistakes. Really -- one has to ask oneself -- what dignity is there in that?"

Mar 22, 2016

You've got to enjoy yourself. The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it. That's how I look at it. Ask anybody, they'll all tell you. The evening's the best part of the day.

Nov 29, 2013

You see, I TRUSTED. I trusted in his lordship's wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can't even say I made my own mistakes. Really--one has to ask oneself--what dignity is there in that?

Sep 24, 2010

The great butlers are by great by virtue of their ability to inhabit their professional role and inhabit it to the utmost; they will not be shaken out by external events, however surprising, alarming, or vexing. They wear their professionalism as a decent gentleman will wear his suit; he will not let ruffians or circumstance tear it off him n the pubic gaze; he will discard it, when, and only when, he wills to do so, and this will invariably be when he is entirely alone. It is, as I say, a matter of 'dignity'.


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Jul 22, 2015

lindendesai thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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