- Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Faber; Main edition (1 April 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571258247
- ISBN-13: 978-0571258246
Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains Of The Day is an evocative tale underlining the silhouette of a man’s life from the 20th century who unveils interesting aspects of his life through his ‘moral inventory’.
The curtains are raised with the protagonist reminiscing his early days with the then housekeeper of the esteemed Darlington Hall, Miss Kenton, who is now Mrs. Benn. The central character of Stevens, the butler, is happy as well as in jitters about undertaking his “motoring” around the city after many years. Though his venture is in the interests of his staff duties, this very trip triggers a train of mixed emotions that he has been nurturing for several years now. In the course of his journey, he recalls instances from his past subtly and explicates them keenly. The journey ends with his meeting with Miss Kenton, the last words of whose leave an indelible impression on his life.
The novel is a poignant account of a man who sacrifices his desires owing to the moral conditioning. Stevens represents a man who is way too ambitious and devoted to his employers as for him, the greatness of a man lies in his unwavering attitude towards his profession. He earnestly performs all his duties to the fullest. He praises Lord Darlington whom he believes to possess all the good qualities that would regard him as a nobleman. At certain points, he lays emphasis on his highness’ integrity and gentle demeanor. Nevertheless, the image of his employer’s is spoiled due to the futile rumors, he assumes. The book also explains Stevens’ pale relationship with his father whom he looks upon as his ideal. He idolizes his perfection and dedication. The protagonist says that he inherited his conviction and strength of character from his father. Stevens has an utmost belief in Hayes Society. Its doctrines are the supreme morals that guide his life. He makes sure to establish himself as a man of distinguished household and a man of dignity. He affirms that the greatness of his profession is what he yearns. By the end, he feels tired to devote a significant part of his life to serve the man (Lord Darlington) whose failed attempts at rebuilding bilateral ties between Europe and Germany lead to his miserable downfall. The book speaks volubly about a special and nameless bond between Stevens and Miss Kenton. They tend to maintain their propriety throughout and thus, fail to acknowledge the true feelings they harbor for each other. The gradual progress of time makes Stevens realizes the futility of his life and his ignorance towards his own happiness.
The Remains of The Day points literally towards the day in Stevens’ life when he meets Miss Kenton probably for the last time. That particular tête-à-tête gives him an opportunity to cogitate upon his past and design a course of action for his future. Figuratively, the title offers a good prospect of a valuable life lesson. The day symbolizes the life of a man. We spend a good amount of our lives in chasing the material things and possessions. In our reckless pursuit, the purpose of living is left behind. The race pushes us, as we all desire to stand in the front. However, by the end, the realization dawns upon us regarding the futility of our living. But all we are left is with regret. The narrator tells that to make best of what remains of his day is his goal. In a nutshell, we can’t bring back the past since it is irrevocable. But we can definitely craft our future well to bring us satisfaction.
The novel has been written lucidly and aesthetically. The hue of humor enriches the experience of the reader. The allusions author use to make his point speaks about the author’s incomparable prowess. The narrative is smooth and cohesive. With the narrator recounting his past and living his present, the reader does not feel the link broken. With extreme deliberation, the plotline has been designed to proffer a satisfying reading experience to the readers. One must definitely lay his hands on this beautiful novel!
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