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.
"An intricate and dazzling novel." --The New York Times
"Brilliant and quietly devastating." --Newsweek "
A virtuoso performance ... put on with dazzling daring and aplomb." --The New York Review of Books
"A perfect novel. I couldn't put it down." --Ann Beattie
"The novel rests firmly on the narrative sophistication and flawless control of tone ... of a most impressive novelist." --Julian Barnes