The Remains of the day is told from the perspective of Mr Stevens, a butler at Darlington Hall for many years. On a rare few days away from work, and a trip south to meet an old friend, Mr Stevens recalls key moments from his career and brings insight into some complex and curious relationships.
The professional, and personal, relationship he shared with his father was both admirable and heartbreaking. Mr Stevens having always respected his father’s professionalism, and perhaps striving for that kind of perfection a little too much.
Lord Darlington himself is somewhat influential figure in foreign relationships during World War Two. A dramatic backdrop for some lessons to be learned about the class system and the power of influence at that time.
Miss Kenton, the housekeeper adds another complex and endearing view of Mr Stevens. The two find their feet working together with numerous clashes along the way. The pair go on to share some of the most pivotal memories at Darlington Hall, unexpectedly shaping both of them.
Mr Stevens is an admirable, but emotionally awkward butler striving to be the best he can. As a reader you can’t help but find him endearing despite his inability to show any kind of emotion.
Kazuo Ishiguro brings empathy to a man who shows complete professional dedication and dignity in all his work to the expense of being fulfilled in other aspects of life. The end of the book helps the reader come to understand the literal meaning of The Remains of the Day, with a flood of emotion for opportunities lost, and the possibilities left to explore.
I reviewed this title for NetGalley. You can buy a copy of the book here: Amazon.co.uk