The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

It’s a good time to re-read Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel ‘The Remains of the Day’. First published in 1989, the novel can be read as an elegy for England. Much of what made England great derived from her empire (including Scotland). When that receded, her power, wealth and influence in the world declined. It was the Second World War, which practically bankrupted the country, that drove this reality home. Now, with Brexit, the isolation and hugely diminished profile of the country in the world seem even more stark. In 2017 we draw breath in the last gasp of the day.

The summary is as follows. In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars, and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper, Miss Kenton. Ishiguro’s novel is a sad and humorous love story, but also a meditation on the condition of modern man. It makes us reflect on who we are, and what we stand for.

The work was awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989. A film adaptation (, made in 1993 and starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Available on DVD at

For the novel, enquire at your local library. See if this award winning title is in stock by consulting the online catalogue at

272 pages in Faber & Faber

First published 1989

ISBN 978-0571258246

Kazuo Ishiguro

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