The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second world war, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him--oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, beautifully crafted novel-- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.
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The Booker jury got it right. This is a work that goes to the heart of a lost life. Beautifully composed, totally unsentimental, immeasurably tender. (Harold Pinter Observer Books of the Year
)The Remains of the Day
is without doubt a novel of real quality. . . He has poured light into a life that has been closed by the emotional shortcomings of the character. The result is very English: the pathos is that of Brief Encounter
or of the plays of Terence Rattigan . . . A remarkable, strange and moving book. (Sebastian Faulks Independent
An intricate and dazzling novel. (New York Times
Apart from being suspenseful, intriguing, elegiac and politically astute, this is also the funniest new novel I've read in ages. . . It is both subtle and humane . . . Simply read it for pleasure, and be richly rewarded. (Jonathan Coe Guardian Novel of the Week
A remarkable, strange and moving book. (Independent
A triumph ... This wholly convincing portrait of a human life unweaving before your eyes is inventive and absorbing, by turns funny, absurd, and ultimately very moving. (Sunday Times
A dream of a book: a beguiling comedy of manners that evolves almost magically into a profound and heart-rending study of personality, class and culture. (New York Times Book Review
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