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The Remains of the Day
by Kazuo Ishiguro

Published: 2012-10-02
Hardcover : 248 pages
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From the Nobel Prize–winning author, here is an elegant Everyman's Library hardcover edition of the universally acclaimed novel—winner of the Booker Prize, a bestseller, and the basis for an award-winning film—with full-cloth binding, a silk ribbon marker, a chronology, and an ...
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Introduction

From the Nobel Prize–winning author, here is an elegant Everyman's Library hardcover edition of the universally acclaimed novel—winner of the Booker Prize, a bestseller, and the basis for an award-winning film—with full-cloth binding, a silk ribbon marker, a chronology, and an introduction by Salman Rushdie.

Here is Kazuo Ishiguro's profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England. Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the "great gentleman," Lord Darlington. But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness," and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.

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Discussion Questions

1. What does Stevens care most deeply about? Can you articulate a world view for him?

2. Consider the decisions Stevens makes during time of his father's death, as well as the dismissal of the two Jewish servants. Where do Stevens's ethical responsibilities lie — given his time in history and place in society?

3. Talk about is the social hierarchy to which Stevens is completely loyal—yet which exploits him thoroughly.

4. And, of course, poor Miss Kenton. Would she ever have been happy with Stevens? Or could she have humanized him had she persisted and won him over? Oh...and what about the fact that she never left when she was forced to dismiss the two Jewish maids? Is she as culpable as Stevens in this matter? What would most of us do in her place?

5. This novel is famous for its "unreliable narrator," meaning that Stevens who tells the story colors a great deal in his telling. He seems blind to much that goes on around him, events that we, the readers, see and judge differently than Stevens seems to. Give some examples of Steves's inability to see things as readers see them. What blinds Steven, or gets in his way of understanding, especially when it comes to Lord Darlington.

6. You might also tackle the ending. What happens to Stevens after he leaves Miss Kenton? What does he come to understand, what insights has he gained? Will he change—indeed, is he capable of change?

Questions by LitLovers.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by BeaSou (see profile) 02/16/19

 
  "Beautifully written, but very slow."by tompatrice (see profile) 07/21/18

Fascinating story of loyalty and service and misguided faithfulness to one’s superiors. Takes off where Downton Abby leaves off. but you must be patient with Stevens. He wanders and remembers in bits... (read more)

 
by KRoby (see profile) 04/11/18

 
by [email protected] (see profile) 11/26/17

The remains of my mind. That left me around page 60. I was hoping that Buffy and Jody would miraculously appear and slap some sense into Mr French.

Dignity is measured by patience. As in

... (read more)

 
by cmorsch (see profile) 01/12/17

 
  "The Remains of The Day"by PeggySue64 (see profile) 10/29/14

A story both beautiful and frustrating, as Stevens devotes his life to professional commitment and formality at the loss of intimate and loving relationships.

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