The Remains of the Day

After reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled, I was prepared for all sorts of weirdness; it turns out that The Remains of the Day is a deceptively simple story. Thankfully, I hadn’t watched the movie before reading it, so could approach the book without any preconceived expectations.

Stevens, the narrator, is what in literary terms you’d call an ‘unreliable narrator’. The whole book is set in a period of 3-4 days when he’s taken some time off from his butlering duties (I just made up that word). On the way, he reminisces about his life, and all the choices he’s made.

He’s unreliable in the sense that he’s obviously in denial. He offers justifications for his actions to himself, tries to re-affirm his choices, but usually falls short.

The book paints a very vivid picture—of opportunities lost and words left unsaid—it portrays a sense of loss but somehow does so in an underhanded, subtle manner. I don’t know how writers manage to pull this sort of thing off, but I love it.

Actually, I can’t figure out who I like more—Ishiguro or Murakami. Both write such amazing books, which are so much alike, yet still so different.

Well, I’ve ordered When We Were Orphans, so will pick up another Ishiguro book next month.