Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Remains of the Day

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro;
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary British Fiction);
Pages: 245;
Publisher: Vintage International;
My Rating: 4/5;
Challenges: Orbis Terrarum Challenge-2009, Country: Japan (Author's origin)

Since the time I've picked up reading all over again, I've had this thing to read all the Booker Prize Winners! Also wanted to read some of the works by a Japanese author as part of the Orbis Terrarum Challenge this year, hence picked up this book. About a year ago I had tried reading "Never let me go" by the same author but I couldn't progress beyond 10 pages...but this time I was determined to finish this to figure out why the author is appreciated so much...

'Remains of the Day' is supposed to be one of Ishiguro's best books that won him a Booker Prize and was adapted into an award winning movie (with the same title) as well. The novel with its plot based in post world war-II England is about an English butler Mr.Stevens who lives only to do his duty, to serve his master and humanity in the hope of preserving justice thru out the world. He embarks on a journey to Western Europe, on being insisted by his master and this actually becomes a journey of his past where he slowly learns that the world is a lot different than what he viewed it to be. Through Steven's story Ishiguro also explores the true meaning of professionalism & dignity and how much should someone sacrifice to remain true to one's personal ethics..

It's a very quiet novel which is very gentle yet powerful. I loved the plot but this was my first encounter with Ishiguro's writing and it didn't appeal to me at all. I found the pace to be extremely slow and boring at certain parts. It took me almost a month to finish the book; I could never read more than 15 pages at a stretch..I'm guessing that the booker prize was mainly for the story which was thoughtful and touching. But I've read loads of reviews on the web where people have loved every word of his writing, so I realize it's just not to my taste!

I am keen on watching the movie now. Probably it will help me appreciate the book better?! Have you read the book or seen the movie? Would love to know your views!


One Swede Read said...

I haven't read the book yet, but the movie is fantastic!

--xh-- said...

i have read the book, and liked it.. it was my second book by him. try Never Let Me Go and When We Were Orphans - both are very good :)

Shona said...

Never Let Me Go is my all time fav..You might like it.

Colleen said...

I enjoyed the book but thought E.M. Forster did a much better job with similar subject matter in Howard's End.

katrina said...

I read this for my A Levels and loved it, also loved Never Let me Go and A Pale View of the Hills.
Haven't seen the film though

Anonymous said...

I read The Remains of the Day early this year (still have to write a review...) and I really liked it -- but I was prepared for the slow pace.

I kept seeing Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins, even though I saw the movie many, many years ago! I am not sure if it was a plus or not LOL.

Anna said...

I haven't read anything by this author, but I've heard that his books tend to be quiet. I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

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