The Remains of the Day

Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.


I feel that most great books are written with the kernel of a simple yet intensely felt human sentiment. In The Remains of the Day, this turned out to be the fear that everyone feels would greet them in the twilight of their life: Did I live my life well? Is there anything I can salvage from it?

Ishiguro’s butler, Mr. Stevens, narrates his life story to us in the first person. It feels exactly like the stories we tell us about ourselves–replete with justification of our actions and convenient forgetting or misremembering of uncomfortable memories. I imagine that when we grow old, we will come up with perfect explanations for all our life choices. I doubt if anyone wants to face the regret or the crushing truth that they missed the bus in their life. Mr. Stevens also tries to spin a coherent self-story by patching up over the messy details, but in the last few brutally honest and heartbreaking pages lifts the veil to finally and suddenly reveal his true feelings. He is forced to acknowledge his mistakes that prevented him from having a better life. At his age, he does not have much choice but to find happiness in what he does best.

This was the first Kazuo Ishiguro book I read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to more.

Amod Jog
Amod Jog

My research interests include medical image analysis, computer vision, and machine learning/artificial intelligence.