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Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day, Penguin Books, 1989.

I read The Remains of the Day over a long-weekend shortly after Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize. I’ve been meaning to read Ishiguro for years; my friend Kyle listed it as one of the top three fiction books he read in 2014. In the end I enjoyed it; it was nice to read a good, classically constructed English novel, with nothing pomo or meta about it. But when it came to writing a review of it for this blog, I’ve struggled with figuring out what to say. I don’t think I found it as affecting as others have; perhaps I just read it at the wrong moment. Anyway, an paragraph from an email I sent to Kyle will have to suffice.

I’ve been struggling to write a review of Remains of the Day for my blog. I enjoyed it - I read it in a weekend - but I felt like it didn’t quite add up to as much as I would have liked. I saw the movie not long after it came out, so I remembered the climactic moment being really emotional, but the ice only cracks for a second in the book. It’s well done - maintaining the reserve for so long, the control in the style and way of presenting Stevens’ views, and so the moment is pretty moving when it comes, but I felt like it came and went and it was hard to know what, if any, lasting consequences there were going to be. Or even if there weren’t going to be any… Anyway, it was good; a colleague lent me a copy of The Buried Giant, which she really liked, so I’ll give that one a try.


Sam Popowich

Discovery and Web Services Librarian, University of Alberta

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