The Remains of the Day (1989) is the third novel by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It won the Booker Prize in 1989.
Like Ishiguro's previous two novels, the story is told from the first person point of view with the narrator recalling his life through a diary while progressing through the present. Events in the narrator's contemporary life remind him of events from his past.
The novel was Ishiguro's first not based in Japan or told from the point of view of a Japanese person, although his first novel, A Pale View of Hills, was told from the point of view of an elderly Japanese woman living in Britain and recalling her past in Japan.
The novel The Remains of the Day tells the story of Stevens, an English butler who dedicates his life to the loyal service of Lord Darlington (mentioned in increasing detail in flashbacks). The novel begins with Stevens receiving a letter from an ex co-worker called Miss Kenton, describing her married life, which he believes hints at her unhappy marriage. The receipt of the letter allows Stevens the opportunity to revisit this once-cherished relationship, if only under the guise of possible re-employment. Stevens' new employer, a wealthy American, Mr. Farraday, encourages Stevens to borrow a car to take a well-earned break, a 'motoring trip.' As he sets out, Stevens has the opportunity to reflect on his unmoving loyalty to Lord Darlington, the meaning of the term 'dignity', and even his relationship with his father. Ultimately Stevens is forced to ponder the true nature of his relationship with Miss Kenton. As the book progresses, increasing evidence of Miss Kenton's one-time love for Stevens, and his for her, is revealed.
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