The Remains of the Day
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro is a brilliantly written novel about loss, regret, dignity and greatness. Ishiguro’s protagonist, an English butler by the name of Stevens is from a more refined and dignified era in British history. He is extremely devoted to his employer, Lord Darlington for many years.
The narration of this story is so "formal" that when I first started reading this novel, I almost stopped after only a few pages, however, I forged ahead and am glad now that I did. Once I understood that Stevens lives every minute of his life for his employer, I understood why he did not even break from his formal way of speaking even in relaying his story in his “diary” about his six-day adventure to find his former housekeeper, Miss Kenton.
As I have already said, Stevens sacrifices family, friends, love, and freedom to serve Lord Darlington. He places himself in a kind of self-imposed slavery. He is deeply entrenched in the ways of the past. He does his very best to uphold traditions of the butlers who worked for great households but he cannot stop the changes that are taking place in England after WWII.
At the end of the novel, when he finally meets Miss Kenton, who is now married, he has regrets about his life, but pulls himself together and continues on in dignity as he prepares to serve his new employer, an American who has bought Darlington Hall. There is more than one moral to this story, and it is quite a complex story considering how thin the book is. I found it quiet an enjoyable read.