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Summary

From the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature

A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside - and into his past.

©1989 Kazuo Ishiguro (P)2012 Faber Audio

What members say

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heartbreaking

A touching and at times difficult look at the Old World of England, through the eyes of an utmost professional. Interesting and resonant thoughts on loyalty, duty, class, love and the conflict between what might better be called 'tatame' and 'honne', the private and public self. Dignified, warm, at times genuinely funny narration by Dominic West, who conveys Mr. Stevens with total conviction.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Nostalgia for a time that has so much to teach us

I loved this book. The narrator was excellent. It was all so understated, but just wonderful at placing you in a time when (some) people really knew the meaning of good manners. A lesson for us all. The plot is so subtley revealed through the eyes of one man alone... Just wonderful!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • gordon
  • RADLETT, United Kingdom
  • 04-01-15

A Great Listen

What made the experience of listening to The Remains of the Day the most enjoyable?

A moving story.

What does Dominic West bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

West is one of the best narrators I have listened to. He evokes emotions of the characters perfectly and establishes setting exquisitely.

Any additional comments?

Wanted it to continue!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Delicate

I hadn't read the book or seen the film. I could hardly put my ipod down. So sad, so elegaic. ..A chronicle of wasted time...Probably won't listen again in case it makes me too sad.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mukesh
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 19-09-12

Very impressive

I was so into this book, you really get a feel for all the characters. The narrator is awesome, he brings out the different personalities of all the charters. It was a wonderful experience.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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A beautifully detailed portrait

If you could sum up The Remains of the Day in three words, what would they be?

Glorious, unique, draining

What other book might you compare The Remains of the Day to, and why?

I have absolutely no idea. I've never come across anything like it before. But I intend to listen to all of Kazuo Ishiguro's other novels as soon as possible!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The one where Miss Kenton demands to see what book Mr Stevens is reading. The atmosphere is so charged.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The final scene between Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton. My heart was breaking too.

Any additional comments?

Basically this is a book about an English butler's life told in reminiscences that included meditations on a butler's duty, anecdotes of guests in his employers house, and his almost totally repressed emotions. But it was nothing like as dry as that sounds. It was stunning. I was amused, educated, irritated and devastated in turn. While I ended up feeling mentally thrashed, I feel I could immediately start listening to it again.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Very enjoyable

I had no expectations before reading the book, it was a little slow to start in the first chapter, but thereafter it picked up well and I began to sense I had a real feel for the characters and the story took shape. Narrator was able to do the different voices well and had a calm accent which was easy on the ears.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding. A completely mesmerising read!!

Bittersweet, funny, and absolutely captivating. Stevens' musings on duty, dignity, and banter are brilliantly portrayed in the most exquisite prose. The unrequited affection between the butler and housekeeper is almost palpable. My favourite Ishiguro novel without a doubt! West's deadpan butler is superbly narrated (with Stevens' emotional quiver in the final scene done to absolute perfection). Highly recommended!!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • Surbiton, United Kingdom
  • 20-12-14

West and Ishiguro are a Great Combination

I really enjoyed this, my second Ishiguro of the year. I loved the warmth of the narrative voice and how we never feel as if we’re supposed to be criticising Stevens, the butler, but I did find his lack of awareness and social conventions humourous - although this is contrasted well with some of the more poignant aspect of the novel. West does a fine job!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 20-03-18

Should I stay or should I go?

There's a scene in the Disney movie "Eight Below" where a sled dog is shown having to abandon an injured pack member to certain death in a blizzard. To remain would condemn her and the remainder of the team to death as well. It's the perfect, horrible illustration of how sometimes any chance of survival and happiness depend on walking away from someone with the emotional equivalent of a broken leg. And if doing so *guaranteed* happiness, well, we'd all be doing it. But all you get from walking away is a shot at it. And how do you reconcile that with the risk of spending the rest of your life regretting What Might Have Been?
Much of this book is about the decisions we have to make if we are drawn to perfectly decent people who seem incapable of experiencing or sharing happiness, no matter how much others wish to share it with them. How long before you give up and walk away into the blizzard? Or are you someone who stays? Although the book deals with some very poignant experiences (if you don't enjoy the guilty pleasure of the odd furtive tear whilst reading, this book is not for you) it's also hopeful, funny and endlessly interesting. Ishiguro shares Henry James' interest in analysing and describing at length seemingly trivial and fleeting emotions and sensations and decisions. However, whereas James leaves you wanting to hit yourself on the head with a hammer until you pass out, Ishiguro creates what I've heard referred to as aesthetic arrest. You stop, held in place, perfectly engaged by what he describes. I resented every single thing I had to do which took me away from this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rochelle
  • 31-03-13

Beautiful

I'd seen the movie - a long time ago - but had never read the book.

It is simply & beautifully told. Stevens sets out on a road trip in his employer's car for a week. The week is filled with reverie of his life over 30 years as butler to a great household & his relationship with former housekeeper Miss Kenton.

Stevens' focus throughout his career has been on dignity within his role as butler & we become aware what he has sacrificed to achieve & maintain this goal. He too seems to become aware & regrets the impact the sacrifice this focus has had on his relationship with his father & also his potential love interest.

Stevens' character is well crafted, the story is a moving one of a life when the large English houses were the hub of political activity. It is wonderfully told & narrated.

Stevens weighs his regrets but resolves to enjoy the remains of "his day".

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Chocolate
  • 03-05-15

Perfect

I loved it! The story is really great, the performance of the narrator is top range. I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • perspective
  • 21-02-15

There is a gentleness and sadness in the writing

Would you consider the audio edition of The Remains of the Day to be better than the print version?

I originally thought the narrative voice was too young but as the story progressed, his voice took on the gentle quality of the writing and his tone was just right. Sometimes, words need to be spoken aloud to appreciate the lyrical quality. This had a gentleness and a deep sense of loss.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Remains of the Day?

The use of the journey to tell the stories about his life as a butler, his loyalties to his father and his ignorance in love.

What about Dominic West’s performance did you like?

Originally I thought his voice was too young but in the end I felt he had read the story with the poignancy it required.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, this is a book that takes time, it is a journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-18

wow

‘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.'.... nice

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  • Tyrfingur
  • 13-03-18

Marvelous

The remains of the day is without a doubt one of the best pieces of literature from the 20th century.

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  • Niksa Spremic
  • 26-02-18

Worth it!

Written and read wonderfully. It calls for you to pause and seriously reflect on life.

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  • Fredrik
  • 28-10-17

Wow, what a story.

This book moved me to my inner core. It made me think about life and the choices I made in a new and brighter light. No wonder Ishiguro won the nobel prize, it was well deserved.

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  • Cliente Amazon
  • 11-10-17

Great book and reading.

An almost Victorian novel in style and character. I love the way it was set.

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  • ShwetaSriram
  • 25-01-17

brilliant writing and narration

My brother recommended this book as his all time favourite. I listened to the wonderful narration by Dominic west and I can understand why he loved it so much. my brother has read the book and I am sure he will love this version even more.

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  • cate edwards
  • 08-01-16

This novel works at lots of levels.

i immensely enjoyed this book. The reader is perfect. It shows a slice of history undergoing change. The author show the foibles of human nature with care and gentleness. Very touching. Clever. Satisfying.