When I had merely read about 30 or so pages of this book, I must confess I was debating whether or not to continue with it, given the unbearably slow pacing of the plot.
And then when I had finally reached the end, I couldn't help but feel immensely thankful to my own better judgement against giving it up. Since by that time I had been reduced to a pathetic, blubbering mass of emotions and tears, teetering on the verge of a major breakdown and marvelling at the writer's remarkable achievement at the same time.The Remains of the Day
is Kazuo Ishiguro's ode to England - its bygone glories, numerous idiosyncrasies and fallacies.
Through the life of Stevens, the protagonist and a quintessentially uptight English butler to a distinguished Lord, Ishiguro takes us on a journey of a nation through two wars which crippled it financially and relegated it to the sidelines of international politics as another nation slowly rose to take its place. However, it is not merely the tale of a tottering Britain but also a human drama centering around themes such as self-discovery, lasting regret, nostalgia, unfulfilled love and the enduring desire to start over anew.
Stevens is not just a symbol of the inimitable sophistication that defines English culture but also an emblem of the undeniable hollowness of it. Of the unalterable mistakes committed in the course of a long and eventful journey - be it the journey of life of a man or one nation.
Even though the verbosity of Ishiguro's prose may tend to make the narrative monotonous from time to time, it is never too big an impediment to navigate around.
In fact it is the elegant language which catapults this novel into the league of classic English literature, in my opinion. Besides the unhurried, tender nuances of Ishiguro's story-telling do not deserve any less.
Oh yes he most certainly deserved the Man Booker for this. And I think I will now commence the operation of procuring all of Ishiguro's published works. (Review originally posted on:- November 24, 2012)